Across the continents and cuisines, herbs play an important role in brightening the dishes and making them more nutritious. Herbs are particularly dense in nutrients and have very high amount of Vitamins and minerals with minimal levels of fats and almost no cholesterol.
Every region has certain local herbs that are used widely in their cuisines but in modern times more and more foreign herbs are crossing the borders.
Herbs are usually used in sparingly small amounts and mostly for garnish. They have excellent health benefits especially when consumed in raw form:
> Herbs optimize immune function and fight free radicals effectively;
> Herbs promote digestion, clean gastrointestinal tract and reduce the chances of Colon Cancer and infection owing to high fiber content in them;
> Herbs reduce cholesterol in the blood and help in maintaining ideal blood pressure;
> Herbs alleviate bad odor, reduce bone loss, increase bone density and ensure dental health;
> Herbs increase the transportation of oxygen in the body by boosting blood production;
> Herbs improve brain function, muscle function and aid in weight loss.
These are just some of the common health benefits that herbs bring along with them. For details, read on and know how different herbs can help you to progress towards better health. Do note that all the nutrition details have been given per 100 grams of each herb but many of these herbs are to be consumed in very little proportions. Wherever the nutrition readings are extremely high, readers should understand that the herb is to be taken in a lower quantity.
Introduction: Basil is a fragrant herb which is native to India, China and South East Asia. It is the sweet or Thai Basil that is used in food preparations. Today it is a major herb in Italian cuisine with most of the dishes making use of this beautiful herb.
Health benefits: Basil promotes blood clotting function, balances electrolyte levels in the body, boost bone and dental health, alleviates symptoms of Anemia, is a powerful anti-oxidant, is good for the heart and protects from heart diseases.
Introduction: Borage also known as Star flower is native to Mediterranean region. It is the seed for which this plant is usually cultivated. It is world’s biggest plant source of Gamma Linolenic acid. The taste of fresh Borage is likened to cucumber and is a popular salad and garnish ingredient.
Health benefits: Borage is excellent for your eyes and protects from eye related degenerative diseases, promotes good bone health, is a strong anti-oxidant which fight free radicals in the body and strengthens general defense of the body against pathogens.
3. Burdock Root
Introduction: Burdock is a native to Afro- Eurasia and has been around since the time of Old world. Today it is mostly a popular ingredient in Asia in general and Japan in particular. It has a nice balance of sweet and pungent flavor with strong earthy tones that are eliminated by dipping chopped root in water.
Health benefits: Burdock root is a natural diuretic, purifies blood, known to provide relief during measles, alleviates acne, throat pain and effectively fights virus and diseases caused by viral infections. It is traditionally used for treating scalp and promotes healthy hair growth.
Introduction: Celery is a strongly flavored herb which is used in salads and to flavor soups. It has a crispy stalk with tender leaves that look similar to coriander. In many parts of the world Celery is grown for its seeds that are used as spice. The season of this herb begins in September and lasts till late in April.
Health benefits: Celery promotes digestion, helps in effective diabetes management in patients suffering from Type II diabetes, is good for eyes, lends bright skin, boosts muscle function, maintains alkaline balance, control and regulates ideal blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Introduction: Chives are native to Asia, Europe and North America. They are the bushes of onion plants and are also known as spring onions in some regions of the world. They are used for garnish in salads, sandwich stuffings and flavoring agent in soups. Chives bloom with purple flowers during flowering season.
Health benefits: Chives are low on nutrients and are more like cleansing food. They mainly reduce the level of cholesterol in the body and thus bring down the risk of other diseases and disorders relating thereto. This way one can deduce its positive effects on the cardiovascular health.
6. Cilantro ( Coriander)
Introduction: Cilantro is a native to vast region from South Europe to North Africa and South Western Asia. Leaves, stems and even the seeds of this fragrant herb are widely used in flavoring the dishes mainly savory in nature. It is also known as Coriander and the term Cilantro has come from Spanish.
Health benefits: Cilantro or Coriander is excellent for Cardio Vascular health, lowers high blood pressure, calms anxiety and agitated nerves, induces better quality of sleep, is an anti-diabetic herb, aids in faster healing, is good for Oral health and alleviates the foul breath.
Know more about it on Cilantro 12 Amazing Health Benefits [No 2 Is Top Priority]
Introduction: Dandelion is a native of Eurasia and North & South America. Today it is found in most of the temperate regions of the world. There are mainly three varieties of it that are cultivated and is one of the oldest herb that has survived the test of time as it remains relevant even in today’s times.
Health benefits: Dandelion has positive impact on liver and kidney health, aids digestion, lowers down cholesterol, is good for diabetes management and strengthens immune system by making it more resilient to common diseases and infections.
8. Dill Wed
Introduction: Dill belongs to the family of celery and is famous for its unique and fresh aroma which goes very well with grilled meats, fish and even dips and sauces. It is most popular in the kitchens of Russia, Ukraine and Poland. Dill must be used in fresh form as it tends to lose its flavor and texture quite fast.
Health benefits: It is an anti- Cancer herb, possesses antibacterial properties, prevents bone loss and strengthens them, promotes blood production, nurtures initial stages of fetal development, relieves from flatulence and alleviates symptoms of diarrhea.
Introduction: Epazote is a very important part of Mexican cuisine. It is grown in temperate and sub-tropical parts of Europe and America. Epazote is also known to be an invasive weed which hampers growth of other plants around it. It is used in form of herb, in tea and has many uses in alternative medicine.
Health benefits: It protects from chronic and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, alleviates Anemia, helps in treating respiratory conditions and disorders, provides relief from gas, bloating and promotes digestion.
Introduction: Garlic is a native of Central Asia but is a popular flavor across the world and in many cuisines. Chine is the largest producer of garlic. It is a very acidic and pungent compound which is quite unpalatable in raw form, however for its goodness many people just swallow it. Ones roasted and tempered it gives out a beautiful flavor.
Health benefits: Garlic is known to breakdown cholesterol in the body, controls blood pressure, is excellent for cardiovascular health, fights fungal infections, improves neurological function, discourages Macular degeneration, promotes bone health, protects Myelin Sheaths and increases fertility.
Know more about it on 11 Health Benefits of Garlic And Nutrition Facts | Side-Effects
Introduction: Ginger is believed to be a native of South Asia but is cultivated in many regions of the world today. India is the largest producer of this fragrant and zesty herb. It is added in savory dishes, bakes and is considered great for health in form of tea.
Health benefits: Ginger is a powerful anti-oxidant, relieves sore throat, alleviates nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, helps in managing arthritis, reduces the risk of developing Colorectal cancer, is a natural painkiller, fights respiratory stress and is anti-fungal as well as anti-bacterial agent.
Know more about it on Ginger 13 Proven Health Benefits [No 8 Make It Unique ]
Introduction: Lemongrass is the perennial grass native to tropical islands of Pacific ocean and India and South East Asia. It has a subtle citrus flavor which is used liberally in soups, teas and gravies. Their aroma is known for attracting bees but repelling many other pests and insects.
Health benefits: Lemongrass discourages anemia, is an effective anti-inflammatory and anti-septic agent, detoxifies body, is anti- Cancer, alleviates gastritis, reduces cholesterol levels, boosts nervous function, lends a great skin and aids healthy weight loss regimen.
Introduction: Oregano comes from the mint family and does have a very fresh flavor. It is native to temperate regions of Eurasia and Mediterranean. It is also called Wild Marjoram and is a very popular herb in Italy and Mediterranean cuisine. Oregano has a much stronger flavor in dried form than when it is plucked fresh.
Health benefits: Oregano is a powerful anti-oxidant, has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, is an anti-cancer herb, aids in faster healing, boosts blood production, discourages urinary tract infections, is anti-parasite, acts as a natural pain reliever and reduces swelling that accompanies trauma to body tissue.
Introduction: Parsley is native to Mediterranean region but is grown around Europe in modern times. It is a popular ingredient and herb in European, Mediterranean and American food recipes. Parsley plant dies ones the seeds mature. There are mainly two varieties that are cultivated- leaf and root.
Health benefits: Parsley is an effective Diuretic, boosts blood production, alleviates anemia, is gluten free and therefore discourages allergies, aids weight loss regimen, reduces water retention, bloating, relieves joint pain, controls blood pressure and encourages digestion.
Introduction: Peppermint is a cross breed between Water mint and spearmint. Though it is cultivated across the world but is actually indigenous to Europe and Middle East. Pepper mint has a very bright and fresh aroma with a slight heat which it leaves on the tongue. It is used in salads, chutneys and as garnish.
Health benefits: Peppermint combats hangover, relieves sore throat and widens the respiratory tract, gets rid of bloating, alleviates headache, reduces the risk of colonic spasm, treats gastritis, cures colic in infants, regresses the symptoms of Tuberculosis and inhibits the growth of prostrate cancer.
Introduction: Rosemary is a perennial herb native to Mediterranean region belonging to the family of mint. It is known for its sturdiness and can survive drought. The herb is named after Virgin Mary. It has a strong aroma and acts as insect repellant. It is cultivated for ornamental and decorative uses as well.
Health benefits: Rosemary helps in getting rid of cellulite, reduces headache, nurtures fetus and its growth in the womb alleviating birth defects, is a powerful anti-oxidant, relieves stress, has anti-depressant properties, heals faster, reduces inflammation, is anti-Cancer and improves memory and brain function.
Introduction: Sage is native to Mediterranean region and blooms during late spring-summer. It has a fresh peppery flavor which goes well with a lots of cuisines and preparations. Sage also belongs to the same family as mint. It not only finds its aroma being used for culinary purposes but also in cosmetics, perfumes and soaps.
Health benefits: Sage improves memory, helps in treating Alzheimer’s disease, is anti-inflammatory in nature, reduces glucose spikes post food consumption, improves digestion and brain function and is a powerful anti-oxidant.
Introduction: Savory herb is of two types- Summer savory and winter savory. Former is an annual herb whereas the latter is perennial in nature. Winter savory is as fragrant as summer savory but is rare and a bit more bitter. This particular herb plays an important role in Bulgarian cuisine in particular.
Health benefits: Savory can prevent lung infections, treats urine retention, alleviate convulsive coughing, is a strong anti-septic compound, boosts kidney function, heals flu, kills worms in intestines, cures anemia, reduces nausea and headache.
Introduction: Spearmint belongs to the region of Asia and Europe. It is today grown in most of the temperate regions of the world. The leaves are used in salads and garnish whereas it’s oil is also a mine of goodness. Spearmint is also used in lozenges, shampoos, soaps and cosmetics.
Health benefits: Spearmint is an effective anti-septic, reduces the chances of spasms in body, relaxes anxiety, has cooling effects on mind, alleviates joint pain, opens up respiratory tracts, reduces insomnia and improves quality of sleep, promotes secretion of Estrogen which delays the premature menopause and alleviates nausea.
Introduction: Stevia is a very unique herb which does not have any nutrient or macronutrient but the beauty of this herb lies in the fact that it is almost 300 times more sweeter than sugar but has no sugar content.
As mentioned this herb has no nutrition and its sweetness has no glycemic load along with it.
Since Stevia has no nutrition but only sweetness minus the glycemic load, it is an excellent natural substitute for Diabetic patients.
21. Sweet Marjoram
Introduction: Sweet Marjoram has sweet and citrus flavor. It is also called the Oregano of Middle East. It is used in seasoning the stews, soups, dressing and sauces. Sweet Marjoram belongs to the same family as Dill, Anise etc. This plant grows well in well drained soil and is very common in Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Health benefits: Sweet Marjoram strengthens immune function of the body, fights free radicals caused due to high oxidative stress, up keeps the eye health, promotes healthy eyes, improves bone density, boosts oxygen transportation in the body, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Introduction: Thyme is an evergreen herb and was used in ancient Egypt for embalming dead bodies. Thyme is best grown in regions that receive ample sunlight and have well drained soil. The unique aroma of Thyme is because of a dominant compound called Thymol. It is used in sanitizers and medicinal soaps.
Health benefits: Thyme regulates ideal blood pressure, cures cough and sore throat, is an excellent antiseptic, boosts immunity, elevates mood and is an anti-depressant. It promotes blood production, reduces bone loss and helps in maintaining electrolyte levels in the body.
Introduction: Turmeric is native of South India and is used abundantly across India and sparingly in South East Asia. It belongs to the family of Ginger and has found its uses beyond culinary purposes and into the field of alternative medicine.
Health benefits: Turmeric prevents cancer, controls Cholesterol, aids faster healing, helps in effective diabetes management, is a strong anti-oxidant, improves brain function, controls Alzheimer’s disease, manages arthritis and is an excellent remedy for psychological disorders.
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