If you love cooking, you understand how herbs can amazingly enhance the taste of every recipe from stir fries to grilled and baked foods. But other than their culinary properties, herbs are great sources of vitamins and minerals that our body needs. Many studies have shown that some herbs are effective in addressing various health conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, depression, and so on. Below are some herbs you may want to include in your diet:
1. Garlic – this very popular herb contains sulphur compounds which trigger the blood vessels to expand, lessening blood pressure. They also promote metabolism of iron and helps prevent oxidative damage and cholesterol.
2. Oregano – perfect in pasta sauces – this highly praised Mediterranean herb has many health benefits too. In a study by the Georgetown University Medical Centre in Washington, it was revealed that thymol and carvacrol, two powerful antifungal compounds present in oregano can prevent the growth of fungus which causes thrush. It is also believed to be effective in addressing bacterial and parasitic infection such as head lice. Furthermore, oregano is a recommended treatment for E-coli and is known to be a natural antihistamine.
3. Cinnamon – who wouldn’t be carried away by the rich aroma of cinnamon? This popular herb is widely used in making pastries such as breads, cakes, and the like. Some love to add it on their cappuccino. Cinnamon is found to help manage type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity and controlling glucose level. It is also believed to reduce the risk of heart problems and obesity.
4. Basil – the magic behind pesto salad, this herb is found to be effective in lowering down blood pressure like medication. The study was carried out by researchers from the Xinjiang Medical University. According to them, basil affects the levels of endothelins – a type of protein which narrows down blood vessels.
5. Coriander – in a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, it was reported that oil extracted from coriander is a good treatment for food poisoning that is caused by a bacteria called campylobacter. Such type of bacteria is common in foods (particularly chicken and red meat) that are half done.
6. Sage – this silvery-green plant is known for its powerful aroma. For thousands of years, this herb has been used to address varying conditions such as sprain, ulcer, bleeding, and swelling. Herbalists also recommend sage to people who are suffering from rheumatism and menstrual bleeding. In a study at the Northumbria University, it was found that taking high dose of sage oil improves mood. In an Australian research, it was revealed that sage improves memory and attention by preventing the breaking down of acetylcholine which causes our memory and concentration ability to deteriorate.
7. Cardamom – this fragrant Indian spice has excellent health benefits too. People in the said country use it to alleviate digestive problems and improve metabolism. In a study carried out by a group of Indian researchers, it was found that cardamom contains nootkatone, an active ingredient that helps fight ulcer by protecting stomach lining against alcohol and aspirin.
8. Cloves – cloves are super rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins and quercetin. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and germicidal properties – making it an effective medication for toothache, cough, digestive problems, and headache.
9. Fenugreek – Researchers from the Jaipur Diabetes and Research Centre found out that regular consumption of this herb helps diabetic people control their blood sugar and reduce their insulin resistance. Fenugreek is recommended for mums who are having problems producing sufficient breast milk. However, fenugreek is known to induce child birth so it isn’t advisable for pregnant women.
10. Rosemary – this perennial herb is widely used in Mediterranean cooking. Aside from its rich flavour, rosemary is a great source of iron. In a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, it was found that rosemary lowers the risk of stroke and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. The reason behind this is a substance called carnosic (found in the herb) which protects the brain from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Do you know of some other herbs that have amazing health benefits? Feel free to share your comments below.