The Power of Herbs
Herbs have been around since ancient times where they have been used for medicinal purposes to help purity the body and fight disease. Nowadays we also use herbs to add freshness and flavour to our meals and take the dish to the next level.
Herbs are usually classed into two categories, woody or soft herbs. The woody herbs include thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender and tarragon which tend to be more tougher usually cooked to add flavour. Soft can be eaten raw in salads or stirred into cooked foods, these include basil, coriander, parsley, mint and cilantro.
So what makes herbs so powerful? Here are a few of the key benefits we can receive from a variety of herbs:
1. Protective polyphenols – these are the micronutrients we get from certain plant based foods. They are packed with antioxidants and have an anti-inflammatory effect, basically helping fight and protect us from diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
2. Anti-microbial – which means they help protect us from the harmful bacteria in the body
3. Strengthen the immune system from the high amounts essential vitamins
Some of the stand out herbs that are supported with research include:
1. Sage – a herb that comes from the Latin meaning Salvere or ‘to save’. This one has been shown to help improve memory and brain function, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Peppermint – a great herb that can relieve IBS pain as it helps relax the smooth muscles in the colon. Used in aromatherapy purposes it has shown to help reduce nausea after surgery’s or births.
3. Cinnamon – this popular spice is a great alternative to sugar to help sweeten up baking and recipes without the unwanted calories or sugar. It has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels by slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates and improving insulin sensitivity, especially in diabetic patients. Its potent antioxidant effects also help lower cholesterol, fight inflammation and reduce triglycerides in the blood.
4. Turmeric – contains several compounds with medicinal properties, the main one being curcumin a powerful antioxidant which helps fight oxidative damage and reduces inflammation
5. Holy Basil – one of my favourite herbs for calming down the nervous system and reducing anxiety in the body. Holy Basil is considered a sacred Indian herb that can help reduce the growths of unwanted bacteria (such as yeasts and molds), boost the immune system and reduce blood sugars.
6. Rosemary – a popular woody herb in savoury dishes and roast vegetables, rosemary has been shown to help prevent allergies and nasal congestion.
Herbs can be an easy addition to your meals or drinks, where just a small amount can pack a large punch of flavour to your dish. Try some of these:
· Fresh herbs can be added to soups and sauces
· Chopped herbs can be paired with vegetables or fruits
· Enhancing flavour for meat marinades and protein dishes
· Refreshing drinks or hot teas by using mint, ginger, cinnamon or Holy Basil
Want to find out more or ask a question? Click Here to get in touch with Chrissy.