Health Benefits Of Herbs
Updated: Apr 11, 2021
If you haven’t delved into the world of herbs then surely you are missing out. There’s something so astonishing about these plants that add such an element in the world of cooking. Their aroma can fill up an entire room. They hold such complex flavors for such simple ingredients. The burst of color they add (generally green) is always photo-worthy. However they do more than benefit your pallet. Herbs are known to provide health benefits that mainly come from their essential oils. These essential oils act as a defense for the plants to invaders such as rodents or insects, which we then gain after consumption and use to give us a leg up.
Basil is a common house herb that can be utilized in many different types of cooking. It’s most famous for being used in pesto, along with pine nuts and parmesan cheese. Basil has been found to be an anti-inflammatory which aids with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and heart disease. Basil has also been proven to contain antioxidants which fight against free radical damage and slow down the effects of aging. Researchers also found Basil to act as an adaptogen, or a natural adapter to things like stress from our environment.
Oregano is most common in temperate, rocky land areas which include central Asia, the Mediterranean, and part of the Middle East. Many stories in folklore point to oregano as an ailment for respiratory illnesses and coughs. In 2005 the FDA went to court, and challenged anything stating that oil of oregano could ease cold & flu symptoms. Multiple tests have been performed in regards to the health benefits provided by oregano and again results have come back about aiding a cough and helping clear up unwanted mucus.
Thyme originates from the Mediterranean and was used in many Greek and Roman ailments – some for sadness, others for more practical uses such as flavoring and incense. Nowadays researchers have found many uses for the essential oil of thyme. Thyme can be used to treat acne, high blood pressure (further research is needed), and can be used as a preservative against food-borne bacterial infections.
Mint has to be one of the most universally known herbs on the planet. It’s most common purpose of freshening breath is presented through products like gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. However, mint serves a much greater purpose. Professional chefs have known for centuries that mint acts as a palette cleanser and will serve it with light dishes in between courses so that you may get the full flavor of each dish. Mint can also aid in digestion, but too much mint will lead to aggravation of the intestines and consequently your bowels. Mint is great at relieving headaches and nausea. Many people use balms and oils to alleviate a sick stomach or to relax in general.
Parsley contains many vitamins and minerals such as B6, copper, calcium, etc. It can be used to aid inflammation in the body. Also used as a diuretic, parsley can help those afflicted with Edema, or excess fluid retention which causes the body to swell. It promotes the need to urinate, in turn flushing out any excess fluids – this is also a great detoxifier.
Needless to say there are obvious benefits to using herbs when cooking besides the fact that they taste great. Be sure to grab some the next time you run to the grocery store, or better yet grow your own and have a more abundant source to harvest from the next time you want to use herbs in your dishes.