My nostrils flare up a bit when I smell basil and bayleaf. I just love the way the aromatic herbs get through my sense of smell and instantly feel ravished. The kitchen is a refuge to many who find it as a stress reliever. With aromas of the herbs permeating the air, it is certain that there is some good treat coming.
Herbs have been around us since time. Historical accounts could very well speak of the variety of purposes that these plants have been widely used. Ancient medicine took to herbs for treating some diseases and other natural remedies that people can do at home. And today, modern alternative medicine has restored the use of nature’s bounty in treatment options. Besides medicines, herbs have been popular for beauty regimen. Ever wondered why Cleopatra had long thick hair and beautiful skin? Thanks to herbs!
Cooking with herbs does have benefits that will bring out the best flavors and appeal in the food. Dating back to centuries, cooking traditions, almost always included herbs that perfectly complement the recipe. Identifying which of these herbs are good for a certain food recipe and what each herb can do to the body will certainly help in adding value to our gastronomic delights.
Give health a boost with culinary herbs. Here’s some of the most popular herbs with many health benefits and curative properties.
Basil. Primarily, basil is used as an anti-inflammatory agent and in treating open wounds, infected areas of the skin due to insect bites and allergies. It has anti-bacterial properties to fight infection. Basil is found to cinnamanic acid which enhances blood circulation, eases breathing affected by phlegm and stabilizes blood sugar. Basil is a natural source of flavonoids and antioxidants that fight the free radicals.
Oregano. A good source of fiber, Vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh oregano contains a highly effective derivative known as Thymol and Carvacrol which act as anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agents in the body. Oil of oregano is a good carminative and can be applied to irritated skin areas. Anti-oxidants are also found in oregano.
Thyme. Possesses curative properties for upper respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis. It is a good expectorant. Thyme contains thymol which is found to be a good antiseptic and anti-fungal agent. The leaves are rich sources of iron, manganese, potassium and calcium and packed with vitamins that are essential to the body. Thyme is also rich in anti-oxidants.
Mint. It is known to relieve stomach cramps and a natural remedy for problems relating to the digestive tract. It is a natural breath freshener. It also has properties that act as diuretics. Among the herbs, mint is widely used against skin irritations caused by insect bites. It has calming effects on the nerves as used in liniments and balms.
Bay leaves. This herb has been strongly used in traditional medicine to help in healing wounds. It is usually infused with water and taken as a medicinal drink due to its astringent properties. When made into tea, bay leaf is used in the treatment of stomachaches and induces sweating. It contains eugenol which is used in alternative treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.
Rosemary. The oil extract of rosemary is used in aromatherapies and contains exceptionally valuable amounts of the Vitamin B complex, Vitamin A and anti-oxidants. In aromatherapy, rosemary oil calms the nerves and relaxes the muscles, reduces pain and tension; thus offer a good treatment for headaches and migraines. It also stimulates the nerves and improves blood circulation during menstrual periods.
Dill. This herb has healing properties for disorders such as insomnia and menstrual cramps. Besides these properties, dill is rich in calcium that helps largely in minimizing bone loss.
Anise. The health benefits of anise seeds include the essential Vitamin B complex especially Pyridoxine that is good for the brain. This is grown all over the world but originally a native of Egypt and the Mediterranean region.
Parsley. This herb is excellent sources of Vitamin C and A. Traditional medicine consider parsley as a natural treatment option to control hypertension. Parsley is definitely more than just a garnish.
Sage. Sage is one of the natural sources of antioxidant particularly rosmarinic acid which is a well-known to be anti-inflammation. Several researches confirm that sage enhances brain memory and brain functions and can be a good option to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
As the popular love song of Simon and Garfunkel “Scarborough Fair” where it ends with “parsely, sage, rosemary and thyme,” love and passion extends to the food we cook and eat to make us naturally beautiful and healthy.