5 Herbs With Great Health Benefits

Fennel

Used for soothing indigestion and wind, fennel has a pleasant aniseed-like taste and has been an ingredient in baby's gripe water. Fennel is among the seeds chewed after an Indian meal to aid digestion and there before makes a good digestive herbal – or bedtime – tea. Studies have shown it to be antispasmodic, explaining why it helps stop digestive spasms or gripes.

Cooking and serving

Fresh fennel is excellent in fish dishes, especially those that are steamed or poached. Also good with potatoes – try it in potato salad.

Parsley

Traditionally a herbal 'blood cleanser' and diuretic, parsley is a great source of coumarins – a variety of phytochemicals (natural plant substances) that are still used in modern medicines to thin the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

Cooking and serving

Add lots of dried or chopped fresh parsley to fish cakes, soups and salads – and liquidise in smoothies. Parsley is essential for Tabbouleh, the Middle Eastern bulgur wheat salad that consist of chopped mint, spring onions and is dressed with olive oil and lemons.

Rosemary

Probably because of its antioxidant content, rosemary has traditionally been used as a tonic and energy booster. Like sage it is currently being researched as a potential 'memory herb' for possible use in early stages of dementia. In traditional herbal medicine rosemary has been used to improve memory and mental performance.

Cooking and serving

Pierce the skin of a joint of lamb and poke in some rosemary sprigs before roasting. Add treated rosemary to burger mixtures and to meat marinades and casseroles.

Sage

This herb is used to treat menopausal symptoms such as sweating and hot flushes. Its traditional use for insomnia and anxiety has been supported by research into its major constituent thujone which has a calming and antispasmodic effect. It is also used as a treatment for memory problems.

Cooking and serving

Sage and onions are a classic combination with sausage meat for making excellent stuffing. Less well known is the fact that sage works well with apple in pork dishes, and with sautéed or casseroled liver.

Thyme

In folklore, thyme is the 'longevity' herb; Not surprising since scientific studies have associated the traditional Mediterranean diet (where thyme is ate daily) with longer, healthier lives. Medical herbalists use the herb as an antibacterial and 'expectorant' for helping loosen phlegm in colds.

Cooking and serving

Add to meat marinades and sprinkle over tomatoes, peppers and courgettes before grilling or roasting to serve Mediterranean style vegetables. Add to diced events and sauté as a basis for Bolognese sauces or shepherd's pie and mince recipes.

Source by Billy Valentine

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