Herbs are such a great way to spice up foods and recipes! In addition to better tasting food, herbs add more nutritional value. Win-Win! There are so many herbs out there that are used for cooking, teas, homeopathic remedies, etc. Herbs are powerful and healing, so don’t underestimate these babies. Here are some of my favorites!
Let me just start off by saying, the scent that basil gives is seriously amazing. I love picking fresh basil in my garden. It’s a great addition to homemade spaghetti sauce and making pesto. What I love about it is that it can be used in almost any recipe to spice things up. It’s loaded with vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium, folate, and more! Basil is known for having antibacterial properties and can protect against unwanted food pathogens that could lingering around and a study showed that basil can stop antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It has flavonoids that contribute to healthy, strong cell membranes and fights those free radicals. There is no reason to not love basil!
Rosemary is a great source of vitamin A, folate, omega-3’s, potassium, calcium, and more! I love adding some rosemary to different meats, like grass-fed steaks, chicken, seafood, etc. Another herb that is known for antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Essential oil coming from rosemary plants have been shown to enhance neurological properties and improve memory. A study also showed that rosemary extract inhibited ovarian cancer cell lines by interrupting the cell cycle & inducing apoptosis (aka cell death). This rosemary plant has some serious positive nutrition effects!
Oregano is known to be a strong antibacterial herb. The two phytochemicals that are in oregano that hold this property is carvacol and thymol. A study showed how the oils in oregano can affect harmful bacteria like Listeria or MRSA. It’s also loaded with vitamins, such as C, K, A, E and has folate, iron, potassium, and calcium. It is also an anti-inflammatory because of the beta-caryophyllin in the oregano. It’s been studied to possibly help inflammation associated with osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. Another reason to add oregano on your food!
This is my all-time favorite herb to use in a tea! It’s properties has a very relaxing and calming effect in the body. It’s a great tea to drink before bed to wind down and soothe your nervous system. It’s also great for any digestive issues to calm an upset stomach. It can help calm menstrual cramps and muscle spasms. If you think of anything that needs to be ‘calmed down’, I always turn to chamomile. You can’t go wrong.
I love using thyme to season my poultry, like chicken! It gives it such great flavor! It is a great source of vitamin A & C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. It also has lots of omega-3 fatty acids too. Thyme also has the properties of thymol, so it holds anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, just like oregano. Thyme actually was used for pain relief and respiratory problems back in ancestral days. It’s time for thyme!
The famous herb for detoxing! Cilantro is a great source of vitamin A and K, calcium, and LOADED with potassium. I always add it to grains (when I do eat them), salads, and homemade guacamole. Cilantro has tons of antioxidants and help aid the liver in detoxing from toxins and heavy metals. A study from India showed that cilantro had the same effect as anti-anxiety meds to relieve anxiety.
Chives are in the family that consists of onions, garlics, leeks, etc, which are called the allium family. I love the addition to chives in different foods to give it a flavor – like topping it on top of potatoes (making something simple into yummy). Allium family properties are known for being anti-bacterial and can be beneficial to heart health. Allicin is a property of this family and it has been studied to lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Chives also have quercetin, which is an antioxidant, that acts like an anti-inflammatory and protects against heart disease by reducing plaque build up. Overall, chives have vitamins A, C, B vitamins, folate, and potassium.
Don’t let these herbs sneak away when you are making your shopping list. Herbs easily help flavor foods and add nutrients to your dishes. They are easy to maintain in a garden to always keep some fresh herbs nearby. Experiment with different herbs and different recipes to add these nutritious foods in. The best is when it’s fresh, but even dried herbs in your spice cabinets can add extra nutrients and antioxidants. What are some of your favorite herbs and uses?