Healers around the world have used herbs to soothe problems like uncomfortable digestion to boosting memory. Scientists are now finding that herbs and other natural remedies can be effective as as traditional treatments, often without the harsh side effects or the steep price.
Here is a short guide to a few popular herbs that are beneficial for your health. You can incorporate these green superstars when you cook or take them in the form of supplements or essentials oils- just be sure to consult your doctor before taking any herbs medicinally.
4 HERBS FOR YOUR HEALTH
Basil, also known as "the king of herbs", is said to help fight arthritis and heart disease. That's because one of its compounds blocks inflammation in the very same way ibuprofen and aspirin do. In addition, basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth.
Basil extract could also help people with diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels. Research suggests that it helps reduce the amount of glucose traveling in the bloodstream. Speak to your doctor before supplementing.
COOK IT: Since the oils in basil are highly volatile, it is best to add the fresh herb near the end of the cooking process, so it will retain its maximum essence and flavor. One way to incorporate this health booster is to make a pesto. Here is my simple and quick recipe for a delicious pesto:
Thyme can fight the bacteria that causes acne; researchers found that a concentrated form of thyme zapped bacteria better than benzoyl peroxide, the active ingredient in many acne products. The volatile oil in thyme, thymol, is known as an antiseptic, an ingredient also found in some mouthwashes.
Fresh thyme adds dimension to soup, sauces, and salad dressings; toss it in at the end of cooking to retain its flavor and healthy compounds. I like to add fresh thyme leaves to omelet or steep the leaves in boiling water to make a tea.
Long ago, rosemary was known as ‘the herb of remembrance.’ You might recall that many statues of the ancient Greeks and Romans show men wearing sprigs of rosemary on their heads – signifying mental acuity. They weren't far off since science has shown that the mere smell of rosemary may help to improve your memory. Rosemary has a stimulating effect on the mind in that it promotes healthy blood flow to brain tissue, and cleanses blood all along the way. Rosemary also prevents the degradation of acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter that is responsible for maintaining proper memory and cognitive acuity. Try it for yourself the next time you are about to take an exam or when you have to give a wedding toast. Mix a drop of rosemary essential oil with the same amount of olive oil. Just dab on your wrist and take a big whiff.
Mint is a great tummy soother. A little peppermint can help you digest food by relaxing the muscles of your stomach. As a result, food passes through the stomach more quickly. Peppermint oil capsules may even relive the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Choose enteric-coated capsules since these bypass the stomach and are released in the small intestine. If your symptoms of indigestion are related to a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD, you should not use peppermint since this could make the problem worse.
I add mint to my smoothies and yogurt. This herb pairs nicely with citrus fruit or cucumber. Try making a tzatziki or chilled cucumber soup with fresh mint.