The healing power of herbs

Spice isn’t the only thing that can add flavour. Here are some examples of herbs which can be also be used to make your dishes more exciting, as well as offer you health benefits to boot:

Basil: This bright-green leaf is high in vitamins A and K and has a good amount of potassium and manganese. You can grow basil plants on a sunny windowsill throughout the year.

When to use it: Use basil in tomato sauces, salad dressings, pesto, soups, and chicken, beef, pork, and fish dishes

Marjoram: This fragrant herb contains many phytochemicals — including terpenes, which are anti-inflammatory.

When to use it: Marjoram is delicious in any dish made using beef and is perfect with vegetables like tomatoes, peas, carrots, and spinach

Mint: Mint is excellent for upset stomachs because it soothes. But did you know it may also be a weapon against cancer? It contains a phytochemical called perillyl alcohol, which can stop the formation of some cancer cells.

When to use it: Use it in teas, as part of a fruit salad or lettuce salad.

Coriander: The leaves are rich in vitamins A, C and K and also contain thiamin, riboflavin and folic acid. It is used in some parts of the world to treat insomnia, anxiety and depression.

When to use it: Coriander is one of the world’s most commonly used herbs. It is green, leafy and strong-smelling with a fresh, citrus taste that makes it an invaluable garnish and flavour enhancer. Coriander tends to be associated most with Asian and Central and South American cooking. Great in curries!

Oregano: Used in Italian dishes, this strong herb is a potent antioxidant as well as a good source of iron, fiber, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids.

When to use it: Add oregano to salad dressings, soups, sauces, meat dishes, and pork recipes.

Parsley: This mild and leafy herb is an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, and potassium. It can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.

When to use it: Use it in everything from salads as a leafy green to rice pilafs, grilled fish, and sauces and gravies.

Rosemary: Rosemary contains terpenes, which slow down free radical development and stop inflammation.

When to use it: Use this pungent and piney herb in soups, stews, meat, and chicken dishes. Particularly nice with lamb.

Sage: Sage’s most impressive effect may be against Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting the increase in AChE inhibitors.

When to use it: Its dusky, earthy aroma and flavour are delicious in classic turkey stuffing, sauces, soups and stews, and frittatas and omelets.

Tarragon: This herb tastes like licorice with a slightly sweet flavor and is rich in beta carotene and potassium, too.

When to use it: Delicious with chicken or fish. Use it as a salad green or as part of a salad dressing or mix it with Greek yogurt to use as an appetizer dip.

Thyme: This herb is a good source of vitamin K.

When to use it: It’s fresh, slightly minty, and lemony tasting, making it a great addition to everything from egg dishes to pear desserts to recipes featuring chicken and fish.

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