Herbs are perhaps most popularly used in cooking to add great flavor, aroma, and aesthetic appeal to dishes. There are pros and cons to using both fresh and dried herbs, but each of the following herbs provides numerous and dynamic nutritional, health, and flavor benefits to your cooking. Here are just several of the most popular culinary herbs, their uses, and their healthy properties.
Rosemary is one of the most versatile herbs because it is useful for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Rosemary stimulates the central nervous system and circulation and its oils are used to alleviate pain. Rosemary is a great addition to any meal with its definitive lemon-pine flavor and pungent aroma that pairs well with garlic and olive oil. It is also an effective preventative for carcinogens that are created when frying, boiling, or grilling meats at high temperatures. Add rosemary to your roasted lamb or pork, but just remember to add lightly because of its strong flavor.
Basil is one of the most popular culinary herbs due to its dynamic and delicious flavor and healthful properties. It improves appetite, settles the stomach, and acts as a natural disinfectant. Use it to add a fresh, flavorful accent to your soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastas—you really can’t go wrong with basil.
Mint is a great addition to both sweet and savory dishes, and it contains many favorable qualities. Mint is a great remedy for indigestion, pain relief, and of course, bad breath. Add mint to lamb, veggies, desserts, and teas. Its fresh flavor and soothing aroma go great with any meal.
Cinnamon is an amazing spice that has incredible health benefits. Add cinnamon to your daily diet and you can expect to see reduced blood sugar by 10%! Use cinnamon in your oatmeal, toast, cereal, and baking for simple ways to include your daily dose.
Sage is a classic Thanksgiving herb that adds character to turkey stuffing. However, its culinary and health properties go far beyond its Puritan roots. Sage is a great digestive herb and a remedy for colds and fevers. In the kitchen, sage pairs well with meats, stuffings, and dressings. Use it lightly as it has a strong flavor that may overwhelm your dish.
While we usually think of oregano connected with pizza, it is first among culinary herbs in antioxidant properties. Oregano contains anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant compounds that have been shown to guard against cancers, heart disease, and stroke. It is effective against colds, viral infections, digestion problems, pain and respiratory issues. The best part about oregano is its great taste so that it can easily be combined to add flavor and taste to your dishes. It is most popular in pizza and tomato sauces, but it can also be used to spice up a salad or entrée.