by: Corinne Ellams R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist and yogini
It’s summer time and fresh herbs are abundant so head out to one of the many farmers’ markets and select some fresh organic herbs which are packed with nutrition and healing properties. Next spring consider starting an herb garden in your yard or in pots on your deck or balcony.
Parsley, the world’s most popular herb, is a digestive aid. When Peter Rabbit had overeaten Mr. McGregor’s vegetables and “was feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley”. Parsley supports the bladder, kidneys and stomach, helping regulate water imbalances and eliminate toxins. It is an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant packed with vitamin A and C. A sprig of it also freshens the breath. Use it as garnish, add to salads, dressings, soups, sauces, crackers and as a vibrant ingredient in steamed vegetable dishes.
Cilantro, one of my favorites for it’s detoxing property, is either adored or repulsed by people. Cilantro supports the spleen, stomach, bladder, and lung meridians. It helps regulate energy and treats urinary tract infections. It helps with nausea, inflammation, headaches and mental stress. Cilantro is used like parsley as a garnish and flavoring herb. Use it sparingly with delicate ingredients or it’s flavor will overpower. Or use it in large quantities in strongly flavored sauces, salsas and guacamole.
Dill, is an aromatic herb with delicate lacy leaves that helps calm the spirit, aids digestion and insomnia due to indigestion and relieves hiccups and intestinal gas. It provides free radical and anti-bacterial protection, is high in calcium, has a calming effect and helps manage headaches. Add this herb to fresh salads, sauces, breads, fish and pickles. Check out my web site for a delicious, easy to make cucumber, dill salad.
Basil, is tender and pungent with distinct flavors and aromas. It supports the kidney, liver, stomach, spleen and large intestine. Basil sharpens the memory, combats colds, flu and herpes, eliminates infections, is antibacterial, removes phlegm, relieves mucus, and acts as an anti-stress agent. Basil is especially savored as a pesto ingredient and goes great with tomatoes, fish, bean and egg dishes.
Oregano, has a punchy, almost peppery and slightly bitter flavor and is a powerful herb with unique healing properties. It has antioxidants for immune support, anti-fungal, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, support for upper respiratory infections and cancer fighting effects. Oregano is great in Greek and Italian dishes, especially tomato based ones like pizza or pasta dishes. I enjoy adding lots of fresh or dried to a Greek salad, steamed vegetables or eggs. One of the best uses of oregano in cooking is adding it to your meat prior to cooking which may help to reduce the toxic components created during the cooking process. Oregano oil is a wonderful addition to your natural medicine chest.
Thyme, is a balmy, aromatic herb with slender woody stems and gray-green leaves. It helps relieve lung congestion, candida, flatulence and indigestion. It is an all purpose savory herb great for flavoring soups, stews, crackers, stuffings and sauces.
For most nutrient value and best flavor, use herbs fresh and if using in cooking add towards the end - as late as possible. So add in fresh herbs to Upgrade your salad, sauces, soups and other culinary delights!