When thinking about herbs, there are those that are considered to be medicinal and those that are culinary herbs. Medicinal herbs have been used by societies all around the world for thousands of years as a remedy for curing many different ailments. Some medicinal herbs now get a lot of attention, and you might see these sold in shops as herbal supplements. Examples include aloe vera, echinacea, gingko biloba, ginseng and St John’s Wort. I believe we need to be cautious when adding supplements such as these, as there can be a huge difference in the quality of the herb depending on the form it is sold. You also need to be careful to make sure these herbs won’t contradict any other ailments or medications.
The kinds of herbs that I prefer to consume are culinary herbs, which can actually also have health benefits. A lot of commonly used culinary herbs contain phytochemicals that promote health and can protect against common diseases.
These are my five favourite Herbs
1. Basil - This is a delicious herb, readily available and also really easy to grow at home. It tastes delicious in raw soups and raw sauces. Eating basil cal also act as a tonic and a cold remedy.
2. Coriander (Cilantro) - The pungent smell of coriander is not liked by everyone, though I personally love its scent. Both coriander seeds and leaves can be eaten, and its healing quality is that it can aid in digestion.
3. Dill - This is another one of which I love the scent. I use dill to make a delicious raw carrot pate, and also when pickling cucumbers and in salad dressings. Dill can be used to help with intestinal gas, and babies can be given weak dill tea for colic.
4. Parsley - This is often used as a garnish, and I like to use it to make a salad dressing and also a raw past sauce that is similar to a pesto. Parsley can be great for bad breath, and has good amounts of vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium and other important anti-cancer compounds.
5. Rosemary - I always think of Italian food when I think of rosemary. Fresh rosemary is delicious in salad dressings and raw pates. Rosemary oil can be used as a muscle relaxant for muscle pain and rosemary tea can help to alleviate headaches.
The humble kitchen herb really does have many useful benefits other than adding a tasty element to our food. Why not get your window sill or balcony herb garden growing, so you can always have these herbs available to enjoy.
Which are your favourite culinary herbs, and why? Let us know in the comments below
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