Health & Wellness

Food As Medicine: Increasing the Culinary Use of Herbs

by Meg Gerber June 25, 2018
Rosemary-cabbage (1)
Chopped cabbage & yellow squash tossed with chopped rosemary and avocado oil for roasting

Use Fresh Herbs in Your Daily Food

Fresh herbs are some of the most underrated and under-utilized natural food flavorings! They are a powerhouse of nutrition, and no matter what, all fresh herbs provide us with some kind of phytonutrient health benefit. Most of us remember to eat more vegetables when trying to promote health, but we forget to increase our intake of herbs. Keep reading below to find out why you should be eating more of these flavor boosters and how to include more of them into your daily eats.

HERB
BENEFITS
USES
Basil Basil is a natural adaptogenic that helps improve our stress response, helps reduce inflammation and pain related to inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, and fights off disease.
  • Use it to make a healthier salad dressing
  • Add more flavor to your traditional chicken soup recipe by stirring in fresh chopped basil
Chamomile      Chamomile improves skin health and clarity, promotes healthy digestion and reduces nausea, helps with sleep, and reduces inflammation
  • Steep 2 chamomile tea bags in a covered mug for 4-5 minutes; the process of covering the tea traps in volatile oils makes this tea a medicinal dose of herbs
  • Add to a smoothie: Combine 1 cup chilled chamomile herb tea, 1 cup frozen strawberries, ½ cup frozen mango, ½ banana and 1 small piece of ginger. Blend and enjoy!
Parsley Parsley helps the body naturally rid itself of toxins, aids digestion by helping to fight gas buildup in the intestines, and supports healthy thyroid function
  • Season roasted cauliflower with fresh chopped parsley and Himalayan sea salt
  • Add a handful to your favorite green juice recipe to boost detox benefits
Peppermint Peppermint helps fight off fever and nausea, aids colic, is a natural anti-diarrheal, and improves headaches
  • Steep 2 chamomile tea bags in a covered mug for 4-5 minutes; the process of covering the tea traps in volatile oils makes this tea a medicinal dose of herbs
  • Combine fresh chopped mint leaves, orange sections and raw fennel over greens for a quick and refreshing salad
Rosemary Rosemary improves memory function and supports a healthy brain, supports oral hygiene, and freshens breath
  • Toss cubed sweet potato and chopped cabbage in olive oil and fresh rosemary; roast in the oven until tender
  • Sprinkle avocado toast with fresh rosemary and a squeeze of lemon
Cilantro Cilantro is a natural appetite stimulant, fights indigestion, helps with bad breath, and is a natural chelator of heavy metals
  • Consume raw vs. cooked for more medicinal benefits: chop and sprinkle atop your favorite guacamole recipe
  • Switch up your pesto by using fresh cilantro instead of basil; add to a food processor with walnuts, minced garlic and a squeeze of lemon; and blend with olive oil to desired consistency and serve over zucchini noodles
Oregano Oregano is a potent antioxidant; helps fight off parasites, bacteria and yeast overgrowth; and stimulates the immune system
  • Make your own tomato sauce instead of buying it! Add fresh or dried oregano to freshly chopped tomatoes and saute with garlic, olive oil and chopped onion until cooked down to a chunky sauce
  • Add oregano to ground turkey or lamb for greek-inspired meatballs