The capsaicin in chiles (like the ones at right) reduces inflammation, making it a natural pain reliever.
The menthol in most types of mint soothes an upset stomach and can relieve muscle tension.
The scent is reputed to boost memory and stimulate circulation. Students in ancient Greece wore branches of the herb to help them study; mixologist Albert Trummer steeps rosemary in vodka as an aphrodisiac.
The spice may have antiviral properties and is often used in alternative medicine to ward off cold and flu symptoms.