Everyone these days are trying to go close to nature and natural products. They prefer to live healthy and simple life by choosing natural basics. They are turning to herbs for the best way of healing. Herbs are leafy plants that add nutrition and flavour to meals. They even add flavours to desserts too. Herbs are delicate so nutritionists suggest to add them in last few minutes of cooking. Some herbs like rosemary and parsley retain their flavour during the cooking process so they can be added at the beginning.
Herbs can be added to any recipe like soups, breads, mustards, butters, sauces, salad dressing, vinegars, stocks etc. Dried herbs are considered more strongly flavoured than fresh one.
Herbs are full of health benefits like boosting psychological health, reduction in risk of cancer, fighting inflammation, rich in antioxidants to treat cardiovascular issues, fight against fungus and bacteria, treating cough and cold, supporting healthy bones etc. Some of the herbs are found very easily and unknowingly grown even in your backyards.
Some of the common herbs along with their health benefits are discussed below. Before I start, I should mention that these are not the complete list of herbs. There are many more nutritious herbs hidden in nature which I will try mentioning time to time.
Alfalfa, a popular herb used to treat arthritis, high cholesterol and digestive problems. It boosts our immune system and also acts as a diuretic. Its chlorophyll content is helpful in reducing bad breath and body odour.
Aloe Vera gel extracted from aloe leaves are best in treating minor burns, cuts, scrapes and sunburn. It keeps the skin smooth and can treat acne and various other skin related problems.
Basil leaves has loads of health benefits. It keeps breakouts far away from us. Boil few fresh basil leaves and use its liquid on your breakout zones and feel the difference. It also solves indigestion, cures cold and cough, reduces stress, lowers blood sugar, relieves in insect stings and above all, it helps during PMS.
Bee Balm is used in making medicinal tea. It provides relief in cold, headache, fever, digestive disorder, sore throat, nasal congestion, menstrual pain and insomnia. It is also best ointment for eczema, psoriasis and acne.
Catnip leaves have an important place in history of making herbal tea since 1730s. It helps in treating indigestion, intestinal cramps, colic, diarrhoea and cold. It is best in inducing menstruation, increasing appetite, relieving respiratory problems and many a times acts as a sedative. Also, catnip is excellent in curing insomnia, relieving stress, resolving nervous disorders and good solution for bug bites.
Chives, a most commonly found herbs possesses antibacterial properties. They can greatly affect gastrointestinal system. It lowers cholesterol levels and plaque in the arteries. This minimizes the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Best part is, it prevents several types of cancer like breast cancer, ovarian cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer. Chives are awesome in maintaining mineral density in bones, boosting immune system, detoxifying the body, improving eyesight and promoting good health during pregnancy when taken prescribed dose.
Ashwagandha leaves are full of anti-inflammatory, analgesic and sedative properties. Its leaves are brewed to make tea. This herbal tea improves overall performance of our body. It also relieves stress and strengthens our immune system.
Bearberry is another useful herb which can be easily found nearby. Like Ashwagandha, the leaves of bearberry too are used to make tea. It is a traditional method for bladder treatment in Northern part of Europe. Some Americans use this herb to prevent miscarriage and help women to recover after giving birth to child. Many a times its leaves are smoked to relieve headaches. Most importantly, one has to be careful while regulating this practice because of the narcotic effect that comes with it. Also, salve from the leaves results best in canker sores, sore gums, minor cuts and small burns.
Bearberry also boosts our immune system because of its antibacterial agents. It’s use also detoxifies the body, eases stomach problems, increases the speed of body’s healing process and reduces inflammation.
Boneset is most commonly found along the edges of swamps and streams. It is mainly found in temperate parts of North America. It treats most of the critical conditions. These include flu, colds, migraines, fevers, rheumatism, malaria, typhoid and dengue as well. It upgrades the body’s resistance to infections. Boneset is also used as a laxative and minimizes many digestive problems.
Butterbur is also considered as a distant relative of sunflower. Yes, herbs too have relatives. Butterbur grows mainly in wet meadows, marshes, flood plains etc. Its leaves are so much huge that are quite enough to protect a person’s head from sun or rain.
Butterbur leaves are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diuretic, anti-spasmodic, diaphoretic and cardio tonic. They are used in treating cough and asthma. It also strengthens digestion and aid in gastrointestinal problems. Its leaves have the capability of treating minor wounds and skin eruptions.
Cilantro is another important herb whose list of benefits can surprize you. It decreases blood sugar levels, fights against colon cancer, prevents neurological inflammation, saves us from food poisoning, promotes healthy heart and supports healthy menstruation. It also prevents urinary tract infections, detoxifies the body, protects us from oxidative stress and improves our sleep process. Also, it lowers anxiety, relieves skin irritation and solves digestive issues.
Cilantro plays important role in protecting our body from salmonella based illness. It has anti-allergic properties, helps with anaemia, cures mouth ulcers, reduces blood pressure, improves eye health, promotes bone health and enhances libido.
Dill, commonly considered as Dill weed but has important position in herb family too. It is an effective bug repellent and best alternative to pesticides. It resolves depression, reduces menstrual cramps, enhances energy, provides antimicrobial effects, lowers cholesterol and can also treat epilepsy. It is considered best in treating insomnia, promoting bone health, fighting diabetes, boosting immune system, curing hiccups, treating diarrhoea, and reducing inflammation.
Fennel aggravates collagen synthesis to keep our skin tight and firm. It protects against signs of aging, fights cancer, relieves menstrual cramps and above all, it fights against obesity. It lowers blood pressure, increases satiety, decreases the chance of heart disease, promotes eye health, reduces flatulence and boosts brain function.
Holy Basil has a peppery clove flavour. It is mainly found in south-east Asia, mainly India. It cures fevers, relieves respiratory congestion, and treats asthma and several lung disorders. It promotes cardiovascular health, releases stress. It can be used as a mouth freshener, fights against oral cancer and bad breath, destroys dental cavity and plaque etc. It also helps to clean out kidney stones, cures skin infection, cures cough and cold and removes the signs of aging.
Lavender, Its awesome smell can make our surrounding soothing. Apart from its pretty look and smell, it also relieves from stress and anxiety. Lavender cures sleep issue and balances our mood. It relieves aching muscles, reduces inflammation, heals wounds quite fast and prevents the development of infections on wounds. It cures chronic skin conditions too like, acne, eczema, psoriasis etc. It also boosts the health of our hairs.
Mint is a most familiar herb. It adds flavour in lots of drinks. It is a great palate cleanser. It promotes healthy digestion, relieves upset stomachs, cures headache and helps in asthma. Mint also helps to fight against depression and fatigue, aids in memory loss, removes pimples, and reduces weight. This herb acts great in boosting brain activity. It will soothe muscle ache and improves eye health.
Oregano enhances flavour to our dishes. It also reduces stress, defends the body against harmful bacteria, boosts metabolism and improves digestion. It also balances cholesterol levels, promotes bone health and speeds up the process of toxin elimination. Use of oregano keeps us energized. It treats urinary tract infections, prevents degenerative arthritis and heals wounds and bug bites.
Thyme is used in several recipes. It acts great in acne treatment, decreasing blood pressure, boosting immune system and it also acts as a disinfectant. It also aids to fight sore throats. It prevents food poisoning, and treats colon cancer and bronchitis. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, iron and dietary fibre.
Be careful while using any of the above mentioned herbs. Consult with your doctor for the best way of using them. Group of people who need to be more careful are pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, people with high blood pressure etc.