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If you’re someone who loves to cook at home (and if so, good for you because not only is it healthier but cheaper too!), chances are, you’ve got a kitchen shelf or a spice rack that is loaded with a variety of seasonings. Aside from how great they make your dishes taste, you’ve probably heard somewhere that so long as your spices are fresh, they come with a lot of health benefits as well.

Here’s something that you may not have been aware of, though. Did you know that there are certain spices that can help you to have strong, shiny and beautiful naturally curly hair? As crazy as that might sound, here are seven that can make your hair look and feel just about as good as they make your food taste!

Cumin

Cumin comes from the plant Cuminum cyminum. It’s typically used in India curry dishes. Some of the best things about it is it’s able to aid in making digestion easier, it contains phenols and flavonoids to fight off free radicals, it’s able to lower cholesterol levels, it reduces body fat and it is even attributed to assisting with overcoming narcotic dependency.

Hair-wise, cumin’s great because it can strengthen hair follicles; especially ones that have been damaged due to chemical damage. Cumin is also an awesome hair moisturizer and keep dry scalp flakes at bay. Mix cumin powder with some henna powder, add a little water so that it becomes a paste. Apply it to your clean hair, let it sit for 30 minutes and shampoo, condition and style as usual.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that is packed with antioxidants and amino acids as well as vitamins A, C, E and K. As far as your health goes, it’s great for reducing inflammation, protecting your heart, keeping your blood sugar levels balanced, fighting infections and reducing tooth decay.

As far as your hair’s health goes, if you apply some of it directly to your scalp, it has a remarkable way of stimulating your hair follicles and speeding up your hair’s growth. Just mix cinnamon with a little honey and warm olive oil; the mixture will also serve as a soothing-yet-tingly scalp exfoliant that removes product build-up and dandruff flakes. Apply the mixture to damp hair, gently rub it on your scalp for 10 minutes, then thoroughly rinse out with warm, followed by cool water.

Black Pepper

Black pepper definitely has a way of spicing things up. That’s not all, though. The compound in it known as capsaicin is what gives black pepper the ability to fight cancer cells, improve digestion, aid in weight loss, slow down aging and lessen the effects of skin conditions like vitiligo.

Something else that black pepper does is stimulate the blood flow to your scalp so that more nutrients are able to get to your hair follicles. Not only does this result in faster hair growth but less shedding and breakage too. If you want to detox your scalp while lessening the amount of hair that you naturally lose on a daily basis, combine a little organic coconut oil, black pepper and Jamaican black castor oil. Apply everything to newly washed hair, let it sit for 20 minutes and then rinse thoroughly and style as usual.

Basil

If you’ve never put some basil leaves or sprinkled a little basil on an Italian dish (including a slice of pizza), you’re totally missing out! Not only does it make food that much better, it also contains antioxidants and antibacterial properties that reduces stress, kills bacteria, reduces fever, soothes pain and helps to prevent diabetes too.

It’s another kind of spice that increases blood circulation to your scalp. And, if you apply a few drops of basil oil to your scalp a couple of times a day, it can help to restore any hair loss issues you may have. Or, if you’re trying to get rid of a few grey strands, grind up a few basil leaves and add some amla powder and water to it. Let the solution sit overnight and wash your hair with it the next day (follow up with shampoo and conditioner afterwards). After a few washes, you should notice a difference in your hair’s hue and appearance.

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Sesame Seeds

If sesame seeds are more your thing, the iron, magnesium, zinc and iron alone make this a great addition to just about any recipe. It’s been proven that the seeds are able to remove plaque, improve digestion, stabilize your blood pressure, increase your bone health and even fight symptoms related to stress and depression.

Your locks will love the seeds because not only are they extremely high in copper (which means sesame seeds help to fight premature greying), the omega fatty acids will strengthen your hair’s roots and fight off hair damage too. If your hair is particularly dry, ground about a half cup of sesame seeds. Then add 1-2 tablespoons of plain yogurt and one tablespoon of organic honey. Apply it to your hair, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual.

Thyme

Thyme has the reputation for being a “healing spice”, thanks to its antibacterial, insecticidal and antifungal properties. If you consume this spice on a consistent basis, it can help to prevent breast and colon cancer. Not only that, but thyme also has the ability to prevent yeast infections, food-borne bacterial infections and high blood pressure. Some people rave about how it’s been a go-to remedy for treating diarrhea, arthritis and a sore throat as well.

If dandruff flakes are what drive you up the wall, you’ve got a few thinning spots or your hair and scalp are particularly dry, it’s thyme to the rescue! Create a hair rinse made out of the spice by combining a half tablespoon of dried thyme and a half teaspoon of rosemary to two cups of boiling water. Let the combo steep for 20 minutes, strain the liquid and then put the mixture into a glass container. Apply the rinse after washing your hair. Do not rinse out and condition as usual.

Garlic

Garlic isn’t the best smelling spice in the world, but whew—it sure does taste good! And the powerful medicinal properties that garlic contains? It definitely makes it one of the spices that must be in every spice rack in every house on the planet. Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C along with selenium, copper and potassium. All of this makes garlic a way to cut your common cold’s time (at least) in half. Plus, garlic will increase your athletic performance, can remove unneeded metals from your body, improve bone health over time and can even increase your longevity too.

Thanks to the antimicrobial properties that are also in garlic, it effectively kills the germs and bacteria that infects your scalp and inhibits hair growth. The Vitamin C in it will also boost collagen production so that your curly locks are strengthened and its elasticity is improved. Just mix two tablespoons of garlic, one tablespoon of honey and a few drops of fresh lemon juice. Apply the mixture to your hair and scalp, gently massaging it all in. Let it sit for 20-25 minutes then wash with a mild shampoo. If you do this once a month, your follicles will be stronger, your curly will be softer—and thanks to the honey and lemon, the garlic scent will be gone in no time.

As you can see, there’s more to your spices than what meets the eye and your taste buds. Try it on your hair and scalp and see how delicious they are for them too!