Imagine foods without the garnishment of herbs and spices. It would lend a rather boring palette to say the least. Always held in high esteem and worth their weight in gold so to speak, herbs and spices have been flavoring the foods of kings and peasants for centuries.
Adding flavor is only one of the many benefits that herbs and spices give to us. Most are full of nutrients and special properties that boost the effectiveness of the nutrients in the foods that we garnish with them.
Below is an alphabetical walk through a few of the wonderful herbs and spices that can easily be found in local grocery or health food stores. To retain the taste and benefits, keep your herbs and spices in a cool location in sealed containers.
This beautiful, star-shaped herb has many reported health benefits. It has been known to help in the treatment of gastrointestinal difficulties, respiratory illnesses and hormonal imbalances. Drinking anise tea is good for symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn and bloating. Sprinkle a few in your salad to aid in digestion.
Reduce suffering from respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, the common cold or asthma with anise oil. As a mater of fact, many cough syrups contain anise oil in their ingredients. A natural expectorant, anise has been widely used for centuries to help loosen the mucus in the lungs.
Chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, basil has a scent that stirs the appetite of humans while repelling pesky, life-threatening insects like mosquitoes. It is one of the healthiest herbs with just a couple of leaves containing nearly 25% of your daily requirement of vitamin K. Basil is a great source of magnesium, too.
This delightful spice is a wonderful sweetener and helps to reduce blood sugar. It also reduces LDL, the bad cholesterol. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis. There is even a possibility that it may reduce the growth of cancer cells. A natural preservative, cinnamon contains fiber, calcium, iron and manganese.
Widely used in dishes like fish, chicken, vegetables, dips and sauces, dill has some medicinal benefits that have been relied on for thousands of years. Effective as a pain reliever, it also helps to relieve indigestin and intestinal tract spasms.
Elderflower is a flavoring for beverages and foods and is used in the manufacturing of perfumes and lotions. Used in many medicines and is used to treat swollen sinuses, cold, influenza, swine flu, bronchitis, diabetes and constipation. It is also used as a diuretic and to stop bleeding. Elderflower is also used as a mouthwash for coughs, colds and laryngitis. People have used it for skin and joint pain and inflammation.
A refreshing taste, fennel is crunchy and slightly sweet. Like many spices, fennel contains a unique combination of phytonutrients, including rutin, quercitin and kaempferol glycosides—strong antioxidants that help fight disease. Fennel contains Vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium. Add some to salads, vegetables, meats and Italian dishes for a boost of flavor with a ton of healthy benefits.