We all know about fruits and vegetables value from antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. But if you’re not already adding herbs to the mix, you’re missing out on a whole other world of health-conscious living. Here are 10 herbs you should be including in your diet:
Sage literally means, in Latin, “to save,” and true to its meaning, this herb has dozens of healing properties. It has been suggested that sage might help to improve brain function and memory, and can also act as an all-natural antiseptic and preservative.
Mint, and in particular, peppermint, has a long history of use in homesteading medicine. Peppermint can help increase pain tolerance and also is particularly useful for digestive problems. This herb relaxes muscles in the colon and can reduce bloating, pain, nausea, and vomiting.
Basil has dozens of health benefits, besides that of just tasting downright delicious in a pasta sauce. Basil can help improve your immune system by increasing immune cells, and can also reduce your blood sugar levels before and after eating. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent, inhibiting the growth of multiple types of molds, yeasts, fungi, and bacteria.
Rosemary is a common sinus treatment, helping to prevent and lessen the severity of allergies and nasal symptoms. It works by decreasing the number of immune cells active in locations such as nasal mucus, and because rosemary has anti-inflammatory effects, this behavior can be duplicated in treating other inflammation-related illnesses as well.
Garlic is technically a vegetable, but has so many unique health benefits it cannot be excluded from this list. This miracle plant has the power to fight a wide variety of illnesses and also improve heart functioning. Garlic is high in a compound known as allicin, which gives garlic its profound smell. Garlic can help increase your body’s immunity against colds, as well as work to lower cholesterol and blood pressure and fight other ailments.
- Dill weed
Don’t be turned off by the unpleasant-sounding nature of this herb’s name. Dill has antibacterial properties and can also help settle your stomach–which is why it tends to be a staple for pregnant women! This herb works best when eaten raw, as it can lose some of these benefits when cooked.
Oregano is popular in Italian and Greek cuisine, and has powerful antibiotic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It is high in antioxidants and can protect against foodborne pathogens such as Listeria, as well as other microbes. It has been proven effective in the fight against cancer, and can also treat fever, congestion, body aches, and other illnesses. Add it to your next batch of chicken soup for an extra blast of cold-fighting nutrients.
Thyme is another pantry staple, and is high in the antioxidant thymol. It is often used in household cleaners and medicines, including the mouthwash Listerine. It is related to mint and can be used to treat fungal and yeast growths, as well as to speed recovery from illness.
Chamomile is good for your body as well as your mind. This popular tea ingredient can help you fall asleep, as well as to reduce anxiety and nerves. It can even help with digestive ailments and ease colic in infants.
Lavender is another herb with holistic benefits. It can be used as a headache and depression remedy when used in aromatherapy. It can also be applied topically to the skin to provide antiseptic and antibacterial properties, working to heal acne and wounds.
And remember that using fresh herbs in your diet is great, but many of these plants are especially beneficial to your health when you extract their oils. The oily compounds of these plants are often what make them so effective, so using a diffuser or other method of aromatherapy can be particularly helpful in treating and preventing a wide variety of health conditions.
So use those fresh summer herbs now, or dry them for winter, and improve your health!