Herbs That Everyone Should Know About And Incorporate In Their Daily Life
Growing a kitchen herb garden in the windowsill can be so rewarding. Not only do many herbs produce edible flowers, and smell fragrant in a room, but they add extreme flavor and color to any dinner plate. Most green herbs can be finely chopped and added to white sauces and sour cream, or any recipes that use mayonnaise or yogurt. Adding herbs to any main dish will invigorate the taste, the color and improve your health too. Always consult your doctor when consuming herbs for medicinal purposes.
HERBS FOR HEALTHY SKIN
1. The root-like rhizomes of Tumeric (Curcuma longa, Curcuma domestica) look something like ginger root, but Tumeric is making news for being anti-cancerous these days. Sprinkling the powdered herb on main dishes, even over deviled eggs or fish, adds a very fun flavor and attractive dark-orange color. Used heavily in India as an antimicrobial salve, ground turmeric can be mixed with water and rubbed onto wounds to stop infections. Tumeric also has antioxidant properties that counteract natural tissue damage due to stress and aging. CAUTION: Turmeric stains skin and clothing yellow.
2. The blade-shaped leaves on Aloe Vera (Aloe barbaderis Mill) are fat with gel and have thorns on the outer edges. Most people know that the gel inside is anti-microbial and greatly soothes and heals burned skin. It also treats acne, effectively. Not as many know that eating Aloe provides a good source for Vitamin B12. Effective for treating sores inside and outside the body, it’s commonly sold as an ingredient in coconut water.
3. With flowers that look like daisies, except for the large yellow dome at its center, Chamomille (Matricaria recutita) grows close to the ground and smell something like apples, so its nickname is “earth apple.” Chamomile makes a pleasant-tasting tea and is best consumed in the evening for the herb’s strong relaxing properties but you might want to let this delightful herb out of the teabag every now and then. The flowers can be used as a flavor when baking fish. The cooled tea can also be used as a body wash, or crush the flowers to make a salve for treating skin irritations.
4. Johnny Jump Up (Viola tricolor) has the nickname of “wild pansy” because the flower looks just like a domestic pansy flower. As a tall weedy herb, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and when Johnny Jump Up tea is cooled, it can be used as a body wash for treating blemishes. A poultice can be made to soothe and prevent eczema outbreaks. Every part of this plant is edible, including the seeds and roots. Johnny Jump Up is sometimes used as a flavoring in alcoholic drinks.
5. Not just for funerals; Marigold (Calendula officinalis) has anti-inflammatory properties that make it great for treating sunburn, acne, and diaper rash. The essential oils from this plant can be used as a natural sunscreen. While I’ve often planted marigolds around my vegetable gardens to keep pests away, the spicy and tangy flowers can be eaten raw and served as an attractive garnish. The flowers also brighten the color of any salad. Just don’t use any part of the stem because it tastes bitter.
6. Depressed or suffer from self-loathing? The glossy leaves and 5-petaled yellow flowers of St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) work as an antidepressant especially if consumed regularly, over time. This herb also promotes skin healing when crushed and made into an antibiotic salve. As a food, St John’s Wort flowers can be steeped and drunk as tea.
HERBS To Decrease Flatulence (Gas)
1. The light peppery and minty taste of Basil (Ocimum basilicum) makes this herb popular for eating raw or cooked to add flavor to Italian cuisine. Some Greek Orthodox churches used it to infuse blessings into holy water. Yet few people know that it’s great for improving the appetite and reducing intestinal gas. CAUTION: if eaten in high quantities, basil can be carcinogenic. Best kept away from young children and expectant mothers.
2. Curly leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is quite common as an attractive dark green garnish, yet flat-leaf parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum) is more flavorful. Either variety will address undesirable breath and finely diced stems can be added to sauces, beans, and stocks. In homeopathy, Parsley is used to treat urinary tract infections. To alleviate gas, try chewing on the leaves. CAUTION: Parsley is thought to increase menstrual flow.
HERBS TO SLEEP BETTER
Knockout Sip! (That’s the scientific name of herbs that help you sleep better.)
1. Not just for soap; the purple flowers of Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) can be added to your fruit smoothie to transform it into soul food. Lavender also adds zest to fish dishes. Easy to grow, the flower petals can be placed under the pillow to enhance a good night’s sleep. Sniffing the leaves, flowers, or essential oil will take the edge off a headache. Steep the leaves, stems, and flowers to make an aromatic skin wash or tea. As a poultice, lavender works like an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and is great for treating insect bites.
2. With serrated leaves, Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a delicious-smelling and calming herb that promotes sleep and treats insomnia. The crushed leaves can be rubbed against the skin to speed the healing of cold sores. As a mosquito repellent, it works something like citronella. Notice how soothing is that word: “balm.” The lemony-smelling poultice, made from crushing the leaves, can be applied to insect bites and stings and will soothe the skin because it’s anti-microbial. Lemon balm can be used in place of lemon peel in any recipe. The leaves also add flavor to either a green or fruit salad. Inhaling this delicious aroma or drinking its tea is relaxing and will help you sleep.
3. When made into a tea, the rhizome and roots of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) can inspire you to dream vivid dreams. Many herbalists refer to it as “herbal Valium” thanks to its sedative qualities. Easy to grow in a garden, it’s important to cut off the flowers to keep the strongest medicinal value in the roots. If allowed to flower, Valerian will self-seed and spread out into the yard and driveway. It can grow in poor soil by its own bidding. CAUTION: Brewing this tea may cause friends and family to flee the room. Valerian root has a very strong odor that reminds me of dirty socks. Yet the relaxing sedative nature of this herb, when drunk as tea with honey, proves undeniable. CAUTION: Beyond the peculiar and very strong odor, Valerian is known to interact negatively with some pharmaceutical drugs. Always consult your doctor when consuming Valerian.
HERBS FOR BREATHING BETTER
1. With pink or purple flowers and olive green leaves shaped like spades, Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is best known for adding flavor to pizza and spaghetti sauces, as well as Spanish or Mexican dishes. Yet this antioxidant grows easily from a windowsill pot. Steep fresh oregano in hot water and whiff the steam because it is decongesting, antifungal, and antimicrobial. The steam vapors kill germs and improve breathing. CAUTION: Oregano can cause some people to have an allergic skin reaction when they come in contact with the live plant.
2. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a member of the daisy family. Used in hot sauces, stocks, and gravies, it has soothing expectorant and antispasmodic qualities. The buds and flowers can be eaten in a salad. The herb contains zinc which helps cold and flu sufferers recover more quickly. Making a hot infusion or tincture from the dried flowers is useful in treating bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma, thanks to Coltsfoot’s anti-inflammatory effects on the respiratory system. The buds, leaves, and flowers can all be used for medicine but do not eat this herb in any kind of large quantity because, just like aspirin, it can have a toxic effect.
HERBS TO FEEL YOUNGER
1. Aloe Vera, Turmeric and Ginger all have anti-inflammatory properties that work something like an ibuprofen capsule at diminishing swelling and pain. Yet here are more anti-inflammatory herbs that we haven’t talked about yet:
2. Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is commonly used to make candies and if you suck on a slice, you’ll quickly realize it’s much sweeter than sugar. Licorice root has strong anti-inflammatory qualities that decrease swelling so it can make you feel younger. Brew the chopped roots to make tea and soothe a sore throat. CAUTION: Just like its taste-alike herb, Anise, consuming large amounts of Licorice root can raise blood pressure.
3. Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale) is the rhizome of a grassy-looking tropical plant and it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties to make you feel younger. When grated, it can add flavor to soups. Famous for ginger ale, it calms the stomach and is great for treating motion sickness. Ginger is very spicy and moderately hot, so consumers beware. Seeping it for tea (with honey) will alleviate heart and digestive upset. When it has been dried and rolled in sugar it can be eaten as candy. Yet Ginger is great when chopped and added to desserts, such as apple pie as well.
3. The anti-inflammatory nature of Anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) can make you feel younger and we’re not merely referring to it being used to make the liqueur for your coffee. Anise tastes like black licorice and is often used in cookies, candies, and cakes. It works great for settling a nervous stomach. CAUTION: People with high blood pressure might want to avoid consuming this anti-inflammatory herb because it’s rumored to increase one’s blood pressure. As always, when there’s any question about the safety of consuming herbs, consult with your doctor.
HERBS TO MAKE YOU SMARTER
1. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a very fragrant and stimulating herb that looks and smells similar to a pine tree. Chew on the raw needle-like leaves to freshen your breath or enhance your main dish, casserole, sauce, or bakery goods by chopping up some of Rosemary’s dark green herb. Very friendly, Rosemary does not play favorites with food. It gives every pastry, main dish, casserole, soup or salad a distinctive flavor. Easily grown in pots or directly in the ground, sniffing Rosemary leaves will stimulate the mind better than coffee. You may also boil the herb and drink it as a very fragrant tea.
2. Those who burn dried Sage (Salvia Officinalis) for religious purposes claim it is sacred for its male-warrior-like qualities that dispel negative energy. Beyond being useful for purification rituals, nobody would celebrate poultry dishes, stuffing, or sauces without this herb’s seasoning. The soft-leaves can be dried and used as a cooking spice or eaten fresh as a garnish. Celebrated for keeping aging brains healthy, Sage improves a person’s concentration and is easy to digest. Called the “herb of longevity” due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Sage can be taken in capsule form just like a medicine, or it can be brewed into a medicinal tea where the potent remedy is made by seeping the leaves. Sage tea will treat coughs and congestion. CAUTION: Avoid sage during pregnancy because it may stimulate the uterus.
HERBS TO BEAT A HEADACHE
1. You can use the daisy-like flowers of Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) to foretell the future, “He loves me, he loves me not” or chew the leaves, regularly, to prevent headaches. Feverfew is used just like its name implies. It reduces fever. Used in cooking, this herb is very aromatic but tastes bitter, so sauté it in oil or add honey. CAUTION: there are side effects associated with taking large quantities of this anti-inflammatory herb. It is not suitable for expectant mothers.
2. Herbal medicine practitioners celebrate Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) as an effective nervine for reducing anxiety, insomnia, and stress. The herb grows in soggy thickets, swamps, and bogs and is named from its small purple or blue flowers that are cap-shaped. Made into a tea, infusion or tincture, it’s widely used to treat migraine headaches. CAUTIONS: Not recommended for children.
HERBS TO FIGHT OFF VIRUSES
1. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) come from the garlic, onion, and lily family. It can be grown quite easily in a flower pot. The flavorful leaves and purple flowers are both edible. A great garnish, chives can be used to flavor eggs, fish, soups, salads, dips, spreads, and other dishes. High in vitamin C, chives offer essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, and folic acid.
2. Know for scaring away vampires, raw Garlic (Allium sativum) has antimicrobial properties that make it a great tool for keeping sickness at bay. Try rubbing some shredded garlic on the bottoms of your feet and in twenty minutes you’ll be able to taste it. The herb is very powerful for purifying the body. While cooking causes this herb to lose some of its medicinal qualities, it’s still very healthy to eat when cooked. Try baking the garlic cloves and smashing them into olive oil to spread onto hot bread with a dash of salt. Garlic also works great as a flavoring when sautéd in butter.
3. Health food stores push capsules of Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) because the herb is famous for lessening the duration of colds and flu. You can utilize Echinacea’s roots or leaves to boost your immune system but the root has shown to hold a much stronger medicinal value. The purple flower on Echinacea is daisy-shaped with the exception to the large bulbous cone at the flower’s center. The flowers can be eaten in salads or added to vinegar and allowed to sit for a month and used as a culinary favorite. The medicinal roots and leaves can be brewed as a tea or made into a tincture.
4. Got heartburn? Mint herbs (Mentha longifolia) including the peppermint and spearmint herbs are easy-to-grow and the fresh leaves add great flavor to hot chocolate. Use this herb as a garnish to any fruit salad, pastry or candy, and mint is also superb when brewed for tea. Medicinal mint is famous for settling the stomach and cooling any gastric burn.
5. Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) is a bitter herb so use it sparingly or add honey: The leaves stems, and flowers all have medicinal qualities and the plant grows so easily it will invade gravel lots and fields. Reportedly, Achiles used this anesthetic herb in the battle to cot bleeding wounds. Made into a tea, Yarrow causes the body to perspire and is therefore an excellent spice to add to hot drinks on cold nights. Yarrow will warm grandma and fight flu-related chills. Once cooled, yarrow tea can be used as an astringent for the skin. CAUTION: Avoid yarrow when pregnant. Crush the leaves to enjoy Yarrow’s strongest scent.
Herbs That Everyone Should Know About And Incorporate In Their Diet
Originally posted by: ericbakkernd
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