11. Cayenne Pepper
This hot chili pepper is a member of the Capsicum family. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper has medical uses in addition to giving your favorite spicy dishes an extra kick. Capsaicin is used in ointment or cream preparations to treat the pain of arthritis. While not all researchers agree, some studies suggest that eating foods with cayenne pepper helps burn fat and suppress appetite. Some people find relief from the congestion of coughs and cold by ingesting cayenne pepper, either mixed with honey and water or added to their tea.
Those bright yellow flowers that delight children and frustrate landscapers are more than just weeds to be eradicated from your yard. The dandelion is another member of the Asteraceae family. These plants are actually highly nutritious. A dandelion salad made of the greens contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and a soluble fiber called inulin. Inulin helps maintain a healthy digestive system. Dandelion root can be eaten as well. It is thought that dandelion may have anti-inflammatory properties, may help to control blood sugar levels, and may reduce cholesterol. Caution: those with a ragweed allergy may be allergic to dandelion as well.
Yet another member of the Asteraceae family is echinacea. Echinacea, also called the American coneflower, was used by Native Americans, who called it “elk root.” They began using it as a medicine when they noticed that elk would eat this root when they were ill or injured. Native Americans used it to treat general illnesses. Today, many people use echinacea to treat or prevent symptoms of the common cold. There are many echinacea products available on the market as herbal remedies. Other unsubstantiated uses for echinacea include indigestion, chronic fatigue, gum disease, pain, and inflammation.Related: 9 Powerful Herbs to Kill Infections