Some sage advice: Use these herbs for healthPublished 4:14pm Saturday, March 31, 2012
Last week, I wrote on the health benefits of spices and foods in our common pantries, however, there are some of the most common kitchen herbs that need to be recognized.
They not only help your meals taste great, they also have incredible healing properties. Here are some of my favorite kitchen garden herbs and their benefits.
Last year, I had a great time growing these in my garden and selling them fresh at the market. Look for fresh, chemical free herbs this year at market as well.
Parsley: Parsley is one of the richest sources of vitamin C. It is also a wonderful source of vitamins A, K and folic acid. Did you know the leaves and roots of parsley can be used for urinary tract infections?
The root is especially good to help dissolve and expel stones and gravel. All parts are good for digestive weakness and bronchial and lung congestion. It is a wonderful diuretic and is helpful in ridding the body of excess water. Parsley’s volatile oils have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Vitamin C-rich foods, such as parsley, provide protection against inflammatory polyarthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis involving two or more joints. Add more parsley to your food and make a tea by pouring a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of the leaves or roots and let infuse for 5 to 10 minutes. Drink three times a day, for extreme medicinal effect.
Sage: The Chinese have traded green tea for sage for years. They are wise enough to know the benefits of this ancient kitchen herb. Its reputation as a panacea is even represented in its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means “to be saved”. Increased intake of sage as a seasoning in food is recommended for persons with inflammatory conditions, as well as bronchial asthma, and atherosclerosis.
Having trouble remembering things? Research published in the June 2003 issue of Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior confirms what herbalists have long known: Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. Menopausal women: here is some “sage” advice: Sage eliminates night sweats, cold sweats and hot flashes. It regulates hormonal changes, eases irritated nerves and banishes depression. It can also relieve dizziness, trembling and emotional swings. It eliminates headaches, strengthens the liver, aids digestions and decreases excess gas. Best of all, sage actually bestows extra decades of life on its users. It is antiseptic to most bacteria inside and on your body, and is filled with anti-oxidants that retard wrinkle and grey hair, prevent cancer and it provides much needed minerals. As a medicine, you can make sage tea by infusing 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaf in one cup of hot water, drink 1 to 8 times a day. Do not drink as a tea excessively over a long period of time, as the essential oils in sage can accumulate in the kidneys and liver, but do add more to your stuffing.
Rosemary: I love rosemary. Is there anything better than lamb cooked with some fresh sprigs of rosemary? Well, there’s more to this herb than meets the eye.
Rosemary has a toning and calming effect on digestion. Rosemary also works against fatigue, sadness, anxiety, calming muscle soreness, digestive pains and indigestion caused by stress. It can treat premature baldness, acting as a hair growth stimulant when applied to the scalp as an infused oil. One cup of Rosemary tea is as effective as aspirin for headaches and other inflammatory symptoms, including arthritis. Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.
I’ll bet you’ll never look at these common kitchen herbs the same again.