The power of culinary herbs is often unknown. You may not realize it, but the culinary herbs you’re adding to your meals are giving you medicinal benefits, too!
In addition to adding flavor to the meal, culinary herbs help digest it. They also are high in cancer-preventing anti-oxidants, are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and possess many other properties, as you shall see. Here are some commonly-used culinary herbs, to give you the idea.
Basil aids digestion and has a mildly sedative quality for the relief of pain. Its properties are warm, aromatic, and pungent; its pharmaceutical name is Ocimum basilicum. Basil is in the mint family, which medicinally is one of the most useful families of herbs. Google Scholar and PubMed searches yielded many research studies of Ocimum basilicum, including anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, insect-repelling, and hair growth. World-wide, the chemical constituents of the plant’s oil are being studied for diverse conditions such as irritable bowel disease for its effects on the immune system, and stroke for its ability to prevent clot formation.
Oregano stimulates digestion and eases GI tract spasms that create gassiness. Its properties are warm, aromatic, and slightly bitter; its pharmaceutical name is Origanum vulgare. Oregano is also in the mint family. Google Scholar and PubMed searches yielded many research studies of Origanum vulgare, including anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial and insect-repellant properties, and the ability to promote hair growth.
Tarragon aids digestion and promotes appetite. Its properties are warm, strongly acrid and aromatic; its pharmaceutical name is Artemesia dracunculus. Tarragon is in the wormwood family, from which vermouth is made. Tarragon has the same chemical composition as anise, which is good for abdominal distention and pain. Google Scholar and PubMed searches yielded many research studies of Artimesia dracunculus, including testing its anti-fungal, anti-convulsant, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-parasitic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and insect-repellant abilities.
Plants are complex constructs of many chemical compounds. What makes them medicinal powerhouses are their volatile oils, which have a molecular weight so light they are characterized as “sublime” or “ethereal” in the literature. Many studies have been and continue to be done, testing their effects on the central nervous system.
With some exceptions, culinary herbs are best consumed in their fresh form, but that is not always practical in our busy lives. Therefore, the rule of thumb to get the most benefit of their properties is to use 1 teaspoon of a dried herb and multiply that by roughly 4 when using fresh. Beginning with this quantity you can assess if it’s too much or too little and make adjustments to your taste.
When buying dried herbs it is preferable to spend a little more for the organically grown product, since it has become the standard practice of large manufacturers to irradiate herbs to increase their shelf life, and they are not yet required to label this practice.
In our practice, we routinely assess each patient’s diet and give advice and guidance where needed. Our treatments are by no means limited to acupuncture needles and massage. We ask what you eat, how much you move, and what your daily routine habits are because these factors all contribute to your relative state of health. For us, consuming a diet rich in anti-oxidants is top of list, not least of all for their anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve pain and other chronic conditions with inflammation. To get and stay healthy long-term, incorporating these foods will serve you well.
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