Herbs: Cooking & Benefits

Basil (sweet):
The Italian ingredient for pesto…the French dash for Provencal soupe au pisto…with its wonderful aroma, fresh is definitely best here. It's ideal with tomatoes, tomato soup, salad, eggs and more. Therapeutic uses for basil include use as a sedative and anti-spasmodic; it's also helpful with digestion, nervous disorders, headaches, vertigo and even colic in children. It's also been said that the fresh juice from the leaves poured into the ears will ease inflammation and an infusion makes a great gargle for thrush.

Bay Leaf (sweet laurel):
This spicy, aromatic herb is used in cooking for soups, casseroles, bouquet garni, meat and fish dishes. But, what makes it even more worthwhile is its qualities that aid digestion, reduce flatulence and it's known to treat influenza and bronchitis. Also, an infusion of the crushed berries acts like a diuretic and is anti-rheumatic. Fresh is milder than dried but both are excellent in cooking.

Coriander (green plant):
Although many herbs are similar in flavour and use whether dried or fresh…that's not so with coriander. The flavour of the fresh leaf is quite different from the seeds. Primarily used in salads and curries, if you're working with the fresh leaf…use it toward the end of the cooking, but with seeds…use at the beginning. Its medicinal purposes are thought to help eliminate toxic waste such as202 Healthy Tart metals from the body including mercury…tooth fillings…, cadmium and lead.

Dill:
Although mainly used for cooking with fish (by the way…it's best raw) or in making things like dill pickles. Also, dill soaked overnight in water makes a mild 'tea' that helps to calm the stomach. p200 Healthy Tart

Marjoram:
This beauty blends well with Thyme and Basil for sauces, vegetable casseroles and the like. Medicinally, it's a sedative (small does only), soothes the digestive system and helps with the endocrine (hormonal) system. Its antiseptic values are used for tonsillitis, colds and respiratory problems. Plus, it's used in compresses and lotions to aid wound healing and is known for its relaxation and calming effects.

Mint:
Perhaps one of the better know herbs…it comes in several varieties. For food uses, it makes everything from a great tea to jelly to sauce. Its 'non-food' qualities make it ideal for antiseptics, mouth wash and even digestive aids.

Parsley:
Oh you know this one…that garnish everyone leaves on their plate!!! Well, leave it no more…eat it. That's right it's perfect to combat the smell of garlic on your breath! Parsley juice is a good mosquito repellent, mild laxative and diuretic. It's mild but fulfilling flavour is why it's used in so many recipes…plus it's rich in Vitamin C, iron, magnesium and other vitamins and minerals. Parsley…it's more than plate decoration!

Rosemary:
Almost synonymous with lamb, its culinary uses are mainly for meats, stews and soups. But this great smelling herb is a stimulant and rosemary tonics can be beneficial for invalids and depressives. Did you know it symbolizes love,Trisha Stewart 201 friendship and fidelity? Pick up a plant today…the trailing variety is beautiful and hardy.

Sage:
Sage has many varieties, but they're all lovely with a number of dishes including stews, casseroles and roasted vegetables. Its distinctive flavour is a must in many households when making 'dressing' or 'stuffing'. Sage also has medicinal values for treating PMS and menopause, soothing pain, as a nervous system regulator and helps stimulate circulation.

Tarragon:
It's a common staple in many cooking sauces, marinades and stuffing. Medicinally it is often used to aid healthy digestion.

Thyme:
Let's just get straight to the therapeutic benefits…it makes a good tonic to help with digestion, circulation, coughs, colds and regulating hormones. In the kitchen, it's similar to rosemary in that it's used a great deal in bouquet garni, for soups, stews, casseroles and vegetable dishes.

Posted in Fact File.