Hows and Whys of Using Herbs

April 25, 2016

Flavor, Fragrance and Fun.  


These herbs were carefully chosen as they are easy to grow and common in recipes. They are all full of good vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and so are healthy and healing.






How to use thyme: Sprinkle fresh thyme on salmon or chicken that’s headed for the grill. It provides a delicious boost of flavor to meats, soups and salads. It is best to strip the leaves off the stalk as the stalk is a bit stiff.


Why use thyme: It contains a good amount of antioxidants, a measure of a food’s ability to fight off disease-causing free radicals in our body. Thyme is also a  good source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron. It also has antiseptic properties and can be used in mouthwash. Thyme tea can also be taken during illness to speed recovery.




How to use rosemary: Strip the leaves from the stalk and chop up. Add to meats, vegetables and soups. Blends well with and complements thyme.


Why use rosemary: Rosemary is used for digestion problems, including heartburn, liver and gallbladder complaints, and loss of appetite. It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and reducing age-related memory loss. Rosemary tea can be used as an antiseptic.




How to use basil: It pairs naturally with tomatoes, but it can be used with almost every type of meat or seafood. It is a staple in Italian foods and also can be used in soups, stews, stir fries and curries. It can also be added to omelets, vegetables and salads.


Why use basil: It is a source of vitamins A and K, iron and calcium. Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and can help prevent osteoarthritis and digestive disorders.



How to use chives: It adds a flavor similar to onion without the bite. Plus, their slender tube-like appearance looks great as a garnish either snipped and sprinkled or laid elegantly across a plate. Chives can be used in place of onions in most recipes, but add them at the very end to maximize their color and flavor. Purple chive blossoms are more pungent than the stems and can be a beautiful addition to a salad.


Why use chives: Chives belong to the onion family and can help boost your immune system. Multiple studies even suggest that eating allium vegetables, a category that includes garlic and scallions in addition to chives, is associated with a lower risk of developing certain cancers, including those of the prostate, stomach, and breast.




How to use oregano: It is needed in many Italian and Mexican recipes. It pairs well with basil. Oregano can also be used as a substitute for its close cousin, marjoram.


Why use oregano:  It has been shown to be antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic. It is high in antioxidants and has demonstrated antimicrobial properties against some food-borne pathogens. Its oil and leaves are used medicinally in treatment of cough, fever, congestion, body ache and illness.




How to use parsley: Toss it into salads. Blend it into pesto, salsa, and salad dressings. Add it to marinades. It adds color and complements other spices. It’s often sprinkled it on foods after cooking or used as an elegant garnish beside food.


Why use parsley: It can be used for urinary tract infections, kidney stones, GI disorders, indigestion, asthma, osteoarthritis, anemia, high blood pressure, prostate conditions, and spleen conditions. It is also used as a breath freshener.




How to use sage: It fits perfectly with chicken or turkey and also enhances eggs, cheese, onions, potatoes and white beans. Complementary herbs include onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, and rosemary.


Why use sage: Sage can be helpful for digestive problems, including loss of appetite, gas, gastritis, diarrhea, and heartburn. It is also used for for depression, memory loss, sore throat and gum disease. It has natural antiseptic and antioxidant properties.




How to use lemon balm: The fresh leaves can be placed in ice water to gently flavor it. Leaves can be made into hot tea or a refreshing iced tea, and can be flavored with lemon, honey or maple syrup. Either fresh or dried leaves can be used to make tea.


Why use lemon balm: It can be a mild sedative which can help to reduce gas and bloating. It also calms the nervous system and can help improve concentration. This is a great herb to use if your digestion is poor due to stress.




How to use mint: Like lemon balm but with a different flavor, the fresh leaves can be placed in ice water to gently flavor it. Leaves can be made into hot tea or a refreshing iced tea, and can be flavored with lemon, honey or maple syrup. Either fresh or dried leaves can be used to make tea. Leaves can be added to meats or sprinkled on green salads.


Why use mint: It has been used for thousands of years to soothe the stomach and promote digestion. When you feel sick to your stomach, drinking a cup of mint tea can give you relief.


Disclaimer: Much of the above health info was on WebMD and other reputable health related websites. Some of the above health benefits have been proven in the laboratory. Others have not. Herbs should be part of a healthy lifestyle but not take the place of good medical care.




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