Culinary herbs also have medicinal benefits for a power packed nutritional punch when added to your daily meals. I love using fresh or dried herbs to boost nutrition and the overall health benefits of a meal as well as enhancing the flavor of a meal. There is so many health building opportunities when it comes to the food you eat, since we eat multiple times a day. Choosing organic and locally sourced or even better yet, homegrown produce will help boost the nutritional content of your food by lessening nutrient loss that happens once a food crop is harvested of the plant or dug up from the ground. Adding herbs and spices will only enhance the benefits of your meal because they bring so much to the table. Below are five common culinary herbs and their healing medicinal benefits or actions.
- Basil – Basil is an excellent source of both manganese and vitamin K, it’s also a very good source of copper, vitamin C and vitamin A. You can use basil fresh or dry, it is easily grown in a garden, in a container on a patio or even in an indoor herb garden on a windowsill. It’s herbal actions include: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic (stomach spasms). There are many, many varieties of basil to choose from when you grow your own versus what you will find in the grocery store.
- Black Pepper – Some people are unable to eat black pepper, so if this is you, avoid it. (This goes for any health food, if it doesn’t work for your unique bodily needs, don’t consume it, there will be other foods you can use instead with similar benefits.) Like basil black pepper is an excellent source for vitamin K and manganese as well as being a good source of copper. It’s herbal actions includes: stimulant(circulatory, diaphoretic and expectorant), carminative, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, antioxidant plus more!
- Cinnamon – Cinnamon is good for promoting balanced blood sugar besides tasting fantastic. Cinnamon’s herbal actions include: aromatic stimulant, demulcent, astringent, anodyne to name a few. Try adding cinnamon to bananas, blueberries, various fruits, oatmeal and other cereals, almonds, sweet potatoes, etc.
- Coriander – This culinary herb has been shown to lower blood sugar. Is is a good source of vitamin K, iron, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin A. Who knew these little seeds were so great? Coriander’s herbal actions include: carminative, antispasmodic, anti-fungal, diuretic and antioxidant. Coriander pairs well with: cumin, curries, beans, baked goods, soups and chilies, lemons and lentils as well as mushrooms and even beets.
- Garlic – This list is far from complete, but I also wouldn’t be doing anyone justice if I didn’t include garlic! Garlic is something I add to almost everything. It can punch up meals and gives almost everything a fantastic flavor enhancement. It is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin B6, it is a considered a very good source for vitamin C and copper. (Have you noticed a trend with copper and manganese yet?) Garlic infused honey is a must for anyone who has a cold or flu due to its antimicrobial action. You can also crush garlic, let it sit for 10 minutes and add to warmed water with lemon juice as a simple tea when you have a cold or flu. More of garlics herbal actions include: carminative, stimulating diaphoretic and expectorant, immune modulating, and vermifuge to name a few. Garlic is fantastic when added to fire cider. When reading recipes, depending on what they call for, I will add a clove or two more than suggested if it feels right for what I am making.
This list of 5 common kitchen herbs and spices doesn’t nearly touch on all the herbal medicine benefits you can find in your culinary herb garden or herb and spice rack/drawer/cupboard. I hope you take inspiration from seeing the benefits listed here and explore more herbal medicine benefits with your other culinary herbs! Adding more nutritional and health benefits to your everyday meals doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple, add fresh or dried herbs to every meal, stick to whole seasonal foods and listen to what your unique body needs. If you have any questions about using culinary herbs, ask them below! ⬇️