Herbs for Cooking and Healing
We know that the Hebrews used herbs to flavour their food in biblical times. Ancient Egyptians used herbs for food, cosmetics, perfumes, dyes and disinfectant. Today we still really on them for same things and even more. So how did herb become part of our every day lives?
The herb heritage
Wild plants were used in food and medicines long before record were kept. Their uses must have been discovered mainly by trial and error with some disastrous consequences for those who experimented with them. At first only native plants would have been used and not imported species grown in our gardens today.
The Chinese are very knowledgeable in their herbs and spices.
The Greeks ‘Hippocrates’ the father of modern medicine used herbs, proper diet, fresh air, proper exercise to correct bad habits and living conditions many many years ago well before modern.
Trading merchants who traded with the middle east and India, the invading of European countries by the Romans and the colonisation of the new world must have spread the knowledge of herbs.
In more recent years we have become aware of the practical value of fresh herbs and a garden in our modern times will be incomplete without a section devoted to herbs.
As stated above the use of herbs for food and medicine started long time ago but the use of minerals (Allopathic medicine) started only 500 years ago.
Use more herbs in your diets if you don’t and well done to all who already use herbs in their day to day lives.
Herbs contains heaps of antioxidants and essential nutrients
Some common Herbs Lurking in our back Gardens:
Bay leaves are very popular herb throughout the world, and is hailed for its ability to prevent cancer, boost immunity, reduce neural tube defects, protect oral health, increase health , improve nervous system function, regulate body metabolism, and prevent blood-related illnesses.
Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the human body. The herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C. Parsley is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates.
Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also contains high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, Vitamins K, iron, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. Basil also contains good sources of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Fresh or dried sage, are rich sources of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cells and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
Sage also have compounds that are known to have counter-irritant, rubefacient, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.This herb is exceptionally very rich source of several B-complex groups of vitamins, such as folic acid, thiamin,pyridoxine and riboflavin.
Mint is a rich source of vitamin A, providing more than half of your recommended daily intake in just two tablespoons. The leaves of mint also contain many important B-complex vitamins like folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6)and Vitamin-K.
The mint herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in essential oils, vitamins and dietary fiber, which helps to control blood cholesterol and blood pressure inside the human body and also peppermint oil found in mint have a positive effect on exercise performance, respiratory rate, and blood pressure.
Oregano is a proven super functional herb. Oregano contains several health benefiting essential oils such as carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stem has anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, cholagogue (help gall bladder secretion), diaphoretic (sweat production), expectorant, stimulant, and mildly tonic properties.
Oregano is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium as well as Vitamin C.
Thyme contains many flavonoid phenolic antioxidants like zea-xanthin, lutein, pigenin, naringenin, luteolin,and thymonin. Fresh thyme herb has one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs, higher than Taragon per same quantity. Amazingly, thyme is virtually calorie-free.
Thyme is packed with minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. It’s leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Contains B -Complex Vitamins, vitamin-A, vitamin-K, vitamin-E, vitamin-C, and folic acid.
I personally like the lemon thyme which is great with fish dishes and great in fresh herb teas.
Rosemary leaves contain certain phyto-chemical (plant derived) compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties. fresh or dried, are rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Rosemary also contains carnosic acid which helps to fight cancer. The herb is exceptionally rich in many B-complex groups of vitamin, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin. It is one of the herbs containing high levels of folates. Folates are important in DNA synthesis, Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. Rosemary also contains vitamin c that helps the body protect from scurvy; develop resistance against infectious agents (boosts immunity) and help scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals from the body.
Dill weed contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
his popular herb contains no cholesterol and is very low in calories. Nonetheless, it holds many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help in controlling blood cholesterol levels.
It’s a great source of antioxidants (such as beta-carotene), and is also said to cure hiccups.
100 g of Dill provides (%of RDA per 100 g):
37.5% of folates (vitamin B11),
14% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
23% of riboflavin (vitamin B-2),
140% of vitamin-C,
257% of vitamin-A,
21% of calcium,
82% of iron and
55% of manganese.
The herb is very rich source of vitamins such as vitamin-C, vitamin-A as well as B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, etc., that function as antioxidant as well as co-factors for enzymes in the metabolism.
Fresh tarragon herb is one of the highest antioxidant value food sources among the common herbs also a source of minerals like calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium, copper, potassium and zinc.
Also known as Coriander is a staple of Mexican and Asian cuisines, cilantro supplies fiber and iron and helps remove heavy metals from the body. “Our body mistakes heavy metals for nutrients, Cilantro attaches itself to mercury, lead, and other toxic heavy metals and draws them out of your tissues. You either love it or hate the smell, so if you toss this herb away or don’t use it at all then you should reconsider.
(% of RDA/100g):
15% of folates,
11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
45% of vitamin C,
225% of vitamin A,
258% of vitamin K,
22% of iron and
18% of manganese.
They contain many flavonoid anti-oxidants, plant fibre, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits. Such as Vitamin K, A and rich source folates .The leaves are packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as some essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The leafy greens contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in healthy proportions.
So there you have it!
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