(Perenials – mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme)
(Annuals – basil, coriander, parsley)
(Annuals – basil, coriander, parsley)
Your healing herbs
|Mint is a useful herb for soothing |
the digestion the breath
Perhaps the most ubiquitous herb today, the power of mint to soothe digestion and sweeten breath is attested by the many mint products available. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a mild mental stimulant, a decongestant and a digestive relaxant. Peppermint oil has been used with success in treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This success has come mostly when using enteric-coated peppermint capsules. Spearmint (Mentha cardiaca) has similar properties but is believed not to be quite as strong or effective as its peppery cousin. All mint is carminative, meaning that it will relax intestinal smooth muscle.
Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
Oregano is primarily a culinary spice. It is fantastic as a strong flavoring agent for all sorts of stews, gravies, and cheese sauces. It is closely related to marjoram and is a member of the mint family and so offers the same benefits of mint although to a lesser degree because it contains less essential oil. However, it does offer culinary benefits and in one study was part of a herb mix that helped deal with fatty meals. The study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, was designed to test the effect of herbs on the response to fatty food. The researchers prepared meals on two separate days for their test subjects. The meal was a chicken curry with Italian herb bread and followed by cinnamon biscuits. It might not sound like the most synchronous combination of foods but it allowed them to test a range of spices. On one occasion the men
were given the meal without spices but on the other occasion they had two tablespoons of spices added to the meal. The spices included rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic and paprika. These spices were chosen as they all have proven antioxidant qualities. Blood tests showed that after the meals with the spices added antioxidant activity in the blood increased by 13 per cent, insulin response decreased by 20 per cent, and triglyceride response decreased by 30 percent.
The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning dew, and marinus meaning sea, hence one of its common names is dew of the sea. Whatever you call it, this herb has been revered by cultures throughout history.
In ancient Greece, rosemary was burnt at shrines to drive away evil spirits and illnesses. It was believed that a fresh twig beneath your pillow could ward off nightmares. A necklace made from rosemary was also believed to preserve your youth and growing rosemary was thought to attract elves to your garden.
Throughout Europe during the Middle ages rosemary was one of the herbs used to flavor beer and wine. In Spain and Italy it was considered a safeguard against witches and evil influences generally. The Sicilians believed that young Fairies, taking the Form of snakes, would lie among its branches. Across the world it has also had a reputation For enhancing memory which is why we still use it as an emblem of remembrance and the evidence is quite strong that this belief in rosemary's effect on memory has a strong basis in fact.
One of the main components of the essentialoil contained in rosemary is 1,8-cineole. It is the aroma of rosemary that is held to impact memory so researchers tested this (Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacologrf by exposing subjects to varying evels of rosemary essential oil aroma and then measuring blood levels of cineole. The subjects were then given tests to measure the speed and accuracy of their cognitive Function. The higher the concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood, the greater the speed and accuracy for all subjects. The fact that both speed and accuracy improved showed that overall cognitive function was improved by exposure to rosemary aroma and that there was no “trade off” between speed and accuracy.
This may all be happening because of 1,8-cineole which is a “terpene" and is Fat soluble. It can be inhaled and enter the bloodstream via the nasal or lung mucosa and since it is Fat soluble can cross the blood-brain barrier into the brain. Previous research has shown that 1,8-cineole will stop the breakdown of the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Although less pronounced the aroma also had an effect on mood. People were more content when smelling rosemary than when not smelling it.
|Mix herb pot|
Sage (Salvia officinalis)
A European proverb states, "Who has sage in May, shall live for aye". Indeed sage does seem
to help some of the infirmities that come with age. Sage may help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease and the oestrogenic activity of sage has been Found beneficial for menopausal symptoms. It is also a great antiseptic and astringent which is why sage is
so good as a mouthwash to cure sore throats, mouth ulcers and sore gums. Just pick a few
leaves, add them to a cup of boiling water, let it stand for five minutes and you have a great home-made herbal gargle.
|Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in |
the mid-17th century as a notable strengthener of the lungs
Thyme was praised by the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper in the mid-17th century as “a notable strengthener of the lungs”. Thyme is an excellent antiseptic and is still used to treat respiratory problems. It is useful for bronchitis and other respiratory infections as well as being a handy treatment For intestinal worms.
When you rub thyme between your fingers you will smell the delicious essential oil of the plant. Research published in the Journal of Lipid Research has found that thyme essential oil, along with the oils of clove, eucalyptus, fennel and bergamot. reduces the production of the inflammatory enzyme COX-2 in cells by at least 25 per cent. The greatest effect was from thyme oil which reduced COX-2 levels by almost 75 percent. The major ingredient in thyme oil responsible for the effect was carvacrol which when used on its own cut COX-2 by o/er 80 per cent.
A surprising new use for thyme may be in treating acne. Researchers (Society for General Microbiology have tested extracts of thyme, mangold, and myrrh on the bacterium that is involved in the skin pores of acne sufferers, Propiombacterium acnes. The results of the trial were that all three herbal preparations were able most effective of the three. Additionally, thyme was found to be more effective than benzoyl peroxidewhch is the active ingredient in many anti -acne preparations. To make the preparations used in this trial the researchers steeped thyme in alcohol for three weeks and then used the alcoholic extract which had drawn the active ingredients from the thyme plant
|Harvest basil leaves often, and remove flowers so plant|
don't put energy into seed production
In Tudor England, basil represented affection and respect and was given to departing guests. In India, it meant sacredness. In Italy it stood for love, and Hindus still plant it to protect both the living and the dead. In Italy and England, they say the seeds need to be sown accompanied by curses and profanity, so next time you inadvertently let fly with an expletive just explain to the neighbors that you were planting basil.
Basil is strongly aromatic, a quality that derives from its volatile ol content Medicinally it acts mainly on the digestive and nervous systems to relieve flatulence, stomach cramps, indigestion and colic. Applied externally basil acts as an insect repellent or the juice of the plant rubbed onto insect bites will bring relief.
Coriander (Coriander sativum)
Coriander gets its name from "coris”, an ill- smelling bug that reminded people of the unusually scented leaves, and is though to have grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon Coriander was certainly mentioned in the Ebers papyrus dating back to 150DBC and the Chinese have also used it for centuries. Hippocrates, father of modem medicine, was also a big fan.
Today, coriander is primarily used for its taste and mild digestive actions. There is also another somewhat specie use for coriander in your cocking: it can reduce the smell produced when cooking chitterlings.
On the fourth Thursday of every November is the American celebration of Thanksgiving. This is a holiday express gratitude to God, family, and friends for all the blessings of this life. Inexplicably, this often celebrated by the consumption of chitterlings, sometimes known as ‘chitlins’-. No name however, can conceal the fact that what is being consumed is pig intestines The word “chitterling” dates back to the Middle Ages and chitlins have been consumed around the world for hundreds of years. Usually the pig intestine is boiled or stewed and on some occasions it is deep fried and then served with cider vinegar and sauces; presumably lots of sauces.
Even If your soul is at peace with the concept of chitlins as a food there is a drawback to the preparation: Stewin' up some chitlins can release a stench reminiscent of their original contents. Onions are sometimes used in the stewing process to ameliorate this but they are not apparently; entirely effective. Researchers however, may have come up with an answer to this particular challenge to chitlin consumption.
The researchers (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry) reasoned that s nee coriander is used in other cuisines to reduce unpleasant smells as well as add flavor, perhaps it might lend its aromatic powers to the chitlin-cookin' dilemma. They treated samples of pig large intestine with various extracts of coriander and asked a lucky panel of human sniffers to rate how badly the intestines smelled. Several substances in coriander were able to reduce the foul odour of chitlins but one substance. (E.E)- 2-4- Undecadienal had a flowery fragrance that could suppress the smell at concentrations as low as 10partspe'billion (that is, 10drops in an Olympic-sized swimming pool).
You dont have to embrace chitlins but if you do have a dish that you love the taste of but the
family, or the neighbors, can’t stand the smell then perhaps you- home-grown coriander may be the culinary deodorizer that you need.
|Parsley was used medicinally befor it became |
popular as a food, most likely during
the Middle Ages.
Parsley is native to the Mediterranean and has been cultivated for more than 2000 years. Initially .t was used medicinally before it became popular as a food (probably during the Middle Ages) and like most herbs parsley has a colorful past Eating parsley has been said to entrance lust and lovemaking. Wearing a wreath of it is said to prevent drunkenness. Folklore aside, the fresh leaves of parsley are highly nutritious and are virtually a natural vitamin and mineral supplement in their own right they contain flavonoids, vitamins A. C and E and good levels of Iron Parsley also contains a compound called apigenin n that has been the subject of promising research.
In research published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research rats that had breast cancer were exposed to apigenin, a component of parsley and also celery. The rats that were exposed to apigenin developed fewer tumors and showed a significant delay in tumor formation compaec to rats not exposed to apigenin. One of the things that we know about breast cancer is that some synthetic hormones used in hormone replacement therapy (HR T) can accelerate breast tumor development. For instance medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) supports breast cancer progression by encouraging blood vessels to grow into tumors giving them the nutrients they need to grow. What these researches also found is that apigenin blocked new blood vessel formation within tumors therefore delaying and sometimes stopping the development of tumors. The exact dosage of apigenin required for humans remains to be found but its another reason to enjoy the delights of your home grown organ c parsley .
BASIL: Grow From seed when temperatures warm and Frosts have passed. In cooler areas treat as an annual. Likes warm, moist conditions and humus-rich soil. Plant in full sun with good drainage. Protect From Frost. Needs regular water, but constant dampness encourages Fungal disease. Excellent in pots. Harvest leaves often, and remove Flowers so plants don’t put energy into seed production.
Companion plant: Tomatoes.
CORIANDER: Sow seed during the cooler months—autumn, winter and spring — otherwise it tends to bolt to Flower and seed. Likes a sunny, well-drained spot, with high soil Fertility. Keep up the water and Fertilize with liquid seaweed. Will grow in a pot. Pick leaves continuously to encourage new growth but also use stems and roots in cooking.
Companion plant: Radishes, spinach.
PARSLEY: Plant seed directly in spring, summer and autumn. Seed can take time to germinate. Likes a humus rich, moist spot and appreciates some shade. Pick to promote growth and allow it to flower and self-seed in the garden. Usually lasts between one and two years, depending upon where it’s grown.
Companion plant: Asparagus.
INVITE ROSEMARY TO THE BARBECUE
Heterocydic amines (HCAs) are compounds that cause mutations in cells that can lead to cancer. They form when meat and fish are cooked at high temperatures, especially when the meats are grilled, pan-fried or barbecued. The US Department of Health classifies HCAs as carcinogens that can increase the risk of certain types of cancer. Hence, there is always investigation into how to reduce HCA content in food. In this study(Journal of food Science) rosemary extracts were added directly onto ground beef patties and cooked at two different temperatures; 204 or 190 degrees Celsius for six minutes each side. All of the rosemary extracts used were effective at reducing HCA content in the beef. So next barbeue, throw some rosemary on with the beef.
MAKING HERB TEAS
Your organic herbs do not only have to be food for you, they can be drinks as well. Since all of the herbs we have covered here are comprised of the soft aerial parts of the plants (except for woody rosemary and you are using the Softer leaves anyway) you can make an in fusion rather than a decoction. This means you just need to take the freshly picked leaves, cover them in boiling water and let them stand for at least five minutes. If you want to dry your herbs to have tea on hand when your plants are not flowering the drying process is quite simple. You can hang bunches of the herbs on your clothesline or string them up on your verandah. Equally you can by them out in trays, preferably ventilated trays, and dry them in the shed or garage. Once the herbs arc crispy just put them in an air-tight container and store them away from light until you fed ready for a herbal tea; then just treat them like any loose-leaf tea and infuse them in boiling water. Don’t fed restricted, experiment with combining your herbs and find taste combinations that work for you. Your garden teas will be a delightful creative, caffeine-free, part of your day.
Grow Your Herbs
Can be grown from seed, cuttings, or for thyme and oregano division provides good results too. These are hardy plants that are best suited to a Mediterranean climate. Choose a sunny spot with excellent drainage — they don’t like wet feet. They like slightly alkaline soil and you should avoid over watering and humidity.
MINT: Is best grown in pot or container because it’s prone to run wild. Plant seed in spring and summer; take cuttings; or propagate by root division. Likes moist soils, grows best in the shade. Tip prune or harvest regularly to ensure new growth.
Companion plant: Broccoli.
OREGANO: Makes a great groundcover. Harvest as needed or prune to the ground. Stems can be dried in bunches.
Companion plant: Beans.
ROSEMARY: Regular harvesting helps prune to shape. Grows well in pots. Many forms including dwarf, and prostrate available. Plant a hedge of larger growing varieties.
Companion plant: Cabbages, beans.
SAGE: Harvest leaves as needed. Has pretty mauve flowers. Grow around the vegetable patch to attract bees and repel pests.
Companion plant: Cabbages, beans.
THYME: Leaves and flowers can be harvested.
Companion plant: Cabbages.