Mother Nature’s plants are jam-packed with nutrition and health benefits, and herbs are no exception. The small, but mighty plants have powerful health benefits.
If you like to grow your own herbs in the summer, you’ll be pleased to know you’re growing a garden of health benefits. Keep reading to discover some of the health benefits of herbs and which herbs to grow this summer.
Herbs can be eaten fresh, dried and frozen. They can also be transformed into essential oils and consumed. They all have benefits, but fresh, organic, locally grown herbs will have the most nutrients and health benefits. A local farmer’s market is a great place to get fresh herbs and spices.
Adding fresh herbs to finished dishes makes them more visually appealing, increases their flavor, and adds important enzymes, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you’re using dried herbs, a good rule of thumb is 1 teaspoon of dried herb is equal to 1 tablespoon of fresh herb.
If you don’t have fresh or dried herbs on hand, and you don’t have time to run to the store, you can use herbal essential oils in their place. Be sure to use pure essential oils from a reputable company and that are safe for consumption.
When cooking with essential oils, remember they are very strong and potent. A little goes a long way. Start with just one drop of oil in a recipe and taste test before adding any more.
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Health Benefits of Herbs and The Top 5 That Grow in the Summer
Cilantro – Coriandrum sativum
Cilantro, also known as Chinese parsley, is well known in Mexican cooking.
The compounds that make up cilantro are powerful antioxidants and detoxifiers. It is one of the best food sources for heavy metal detoxification.
It is also diuretic, antiviral, and antibacterial. Cilantro helps to balance blood glucose levels and supports the adrenal glands.
Cilantro is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, helping to remove toxins from the brain and support brain health.
Cilantro is a love it or hate it herb. If you’re camp “hate it”, it could be because you have heavy metals in your body that are oxidizing (corroding) rapidly.
Cilantro Essential Oil Benefits
Cilantro essential oil can be used to:
- Help with heavy metal detoxification
- Relieve gas, bloating and constipation
- Lessen allergy symptoms (by reducing liver toxicity)
- Reduce body odors
- Ease feeling of anxiety
Oregano- Origanum vulgare
Oregano isn’t just for pizza sauce!
Oregano is well known for its antimicrobial compounds. It’s high in antioxidants, phenolic acids and flavonoids.
Because of its high concentration of powerful plant compounds, it can help to fight cancer cells. The potent compounds also support a healthy microbiome in your intestines.
Due to its high level of Carvacrol, it can help reduce symptoms of depression.
It can help to lower high blood sugar levels and it can help manage Type I diabetes because of its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Oregano can also support heart health by regulating blood pressure.
Oregano Essential Oil Benefits
Oregano essential oil can help:
- Fight virus and bacterial infections
- Eliminate intestinal worms and parasites
- Heal warts, calluses ad canker sores
- Boost progesterone levels
- Fight UTI’s
Lavender- Lavandula Angustifolia
Lavender isn’t often used in cooking, but it is a popular plant to grow at home. It is easy to grow and has tons of health benefits. Perhaps this will inspire you to get creative in your kitchen and experiment with lavender.
Lavender is part of the mint family. The compounds in lavender can reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, support heart health, and promote digestive health.
Lavender is anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. It boosts the immune system and is great for natural skincare.
Try adding lavender to tea, honey or lemonade. You can also experiment with baking. Lavender cupcakes are popular and elegant during the spring and summer months.
Lavender Essential Oil Benefits
Lavender is very gentle and has many health benefits
- Improve sleep quality
- Decrease stress and anxiety
- Helps to soothe and heal burns
- Helps to reduce scarring
- Decreases allergies
- Ease colic symptoms in a baby
- Soothe bug bites and rashes
- Reduces high blood pressure
- Ease headache pain and tension
Learn more about the health benefits of herbs and the healing power of kitchen spices in this free ebook.
Parsley- Petroselinum Crispus
Parsley is the most commonly used culinary herb in the world. It’s typically used as a garnish and pushed aside once served. That’s a shame because it is loaded with health benefits.
Parsley packs in vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, antioxidants, and chlorophyll. These compounds make parsley a strong alkalizer and detoxifier. It is antibacterial, antiparasitic and antifungal.
Parsley can protect against radiation damage, increase energy levels, freshen breath, prevent bloating, and prevent UTI’s. It can also help prevent cancer.
Parsley’s diuretic properties can help keep your kidneys healthy.
It can help lower blood sugar levels and decrease insulin resistance.
Parsley can help support healthy weight loss and boost the immune system.
Parsley is a good source of iron and can help with anemia.
Peppermint- Mentha x Piperita
Peppermint is easy to grow and widely popular. It has many uses and lots of health benefits.
Peppermint is the most anti-oxidant-packed common herb. It’s well known to support digestion and freshen breath. But that’s not all it can do.
Peppermint improves brain health, strengthens hair and supports hair growth, and supports respiratory health.
Peppermint can help heal wounds, eliminate headaches, relieve allergy symptoms, increase energy, reduce stress and anxiety, support oral health, and protect against cancer.
Peppermint Essential Oil Benefits
Peppermint is a popular, inexpensive oil with many uses and benefits.
- Increase alertness and energy
- Reduce fevers and hot flashes
- Boost memory and cognitive function
- Decrease cravings
- Relieve muscle tension
- Relieve headaches
- Reduce allergies
- Relieve hangover symptoms
- Improve bad breath
- Ease digestive discomfort
How to Get the Most Health Benefits From Fresh Herbs
As previously mentioned, fresh, organic, locally grown herbs will have the most nutrients and health benefits. But they’re not always available. So, use what you can when you can. The important thing is for you to start incorporating herbs into your daily meals.
As with most things, it’s more beneficial to consume a small amount of herbs on a frequent basis. Meaning, don’t jam-pack one meal with a bunch of herbs then not eat them for several weeks. Learn to incorporate daily doses into your meals.
Stock up on dried herbs to use when you don’t have fresh on hand. Try to buy from organic companies that don’t irridate their herbs because that nukes all the nutrition and health benefits.
Experiment and add herbs to all your dishes. Add them to salads, soups and sauces. Make a tea with them by seeping them in hot water and adding some raw honey for flavor and more health benefits.
For more ideas, try some herbal detox waters.
Don’t forget to download The Healing Power of Kitchen Spices to learn more about the powerful health benefits of herbs and spices and ways to use them.