I believe that herbs are more than just a culinary delight and that they serve a dual purpose in your pantry – (a) to enrich and enhance your palate and make food appetizing (b) to contribute to your health and wellbeing through their innate goodness.
It is hard to not absolutely love their crisp, fresh taste and remarkable, rich flavour. Not to mention the lovely aroma (cut a sprig of parsley or lemongrass to experience this firsthand!) Whether it is to garnish your dishes or as a sizeable part of your salad bowl or adding that zing to your smoothies and drinks – herbs are quite essential to complete the meal!
The Ancient Greek physician and philosopher, Hippocrates, said – “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” And wouldn’t you agree? Herbs are that special ingredient of your meal that are as much a medicine as they are food.
This is why you see herbs incorporated in all manner of food – traditional cooking as well as medicines. Italians, Greeks, Indians, Mexicans and Chinese – all use a number of herbs in their everyday cooking. And herbs are a large part of our culture. (For example, the Indian basil is a part of most households in India and the tender green leaves are often consumed daily as a potent spiritual and medicinal food.)
Herbs are recognised the world-over for their numerous healing benefits. From improving your appetite and stimulating digestive function, to soothing coughs and colds and reducing stress, and everything in between.
Here in this week’s blog post, I give you 5 wholesome herbs that are bursting with nature’s goodness and healing power. I thoroughly recommend that you give these wonder-greens a try and incorporate them in your meals (if you haven’t already!)
Rosemary is a native of the Mediterranean region and has a distinct flavour. Packed with essential oils, it makes for a powerful “cognitive stimulant” – improving memory, stimulating an emotional response, and relieving anxiety and depression. Rosemary is used in massage therapy to soothe and alleviate stress. When eaten, rosemary can aid gastrointestinal complaints.
Coriander (or Cilantro) has a lovely spicy taste that complements a variety of foods. Between seeds and leaves, it carries 11 essential oils as well as a few vitamins and minerals. It is effective in treating mouth ulcers, anaemia and conjunctivitis. It has significant antihistamine and antibacterial properties. Coriander seeds are used to treat seasonal allergies and lessen the symptoms.
Both basil and mint leaves have an intense aroma that activates the salivary glands and releases digestive enzymes. This has a soothing effect on the stomach and can help in alleviating gastric disorders and reducing nausea. The taste and smell of basil leaves can trigger the release of the happy hormone “Serotonin” in the brain that in turn helps fight anxiety, stress and depression. Mint leaves are often used in aromatherapy to stimulate endorphins and promote relaxation.
Sage is a powerful herb that has been used for thousands of years. You must have heard of the “sage burning” ritual where it was used to ward off evil spirits! Today, it is used to treat inflammation, neurodegenerative diseases, skin conditions and respiratory ailments. Sage is also used to mitigate and control blood sugar and insulin-related issues.
This nutrient-rich herb is incredibly powerful. It is known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties. Because of its substantial healing properties, it is used in medicines to treat arthritis and some autoimmune disorders. A parsley face mask can help clear acne and pimples. Chewing on a sprig of parsley can help freshen the breath.
I hope you found this article helpful and informative. Which herbs do you use? Is there one you prefer over the other? Is there a particular herb that you simply can’t do without? Leave your comments below to let me know.