This week is about embracing all things green! Remember? OK, you don’t have too . . . but why not, right? Join me on an adventure in greening our plates. What better way than with the addition of fresh herbs! Buy or grow your own herbs and . . . just add them in, scatter them on top, toss them around, blend them up, chop, dice & crumble, pick & pluck them so you can eat them any way you like. Are you inspired yet? I hope so because they are full of health benefits . . . But really, they pack a hefty dose of taste and flavor to any meal. The “yummy” factor . . . isn’t that the real reason to eat most anything? Of course!
Basil, Cilantro and Mint . . . my personal dynamic trio of fresh herbs! I seem to always have a bunch of each of these fresh herbs. They make a welcome addition to seemingly most of my meals. Like I mentioned, I eat them because of the simple fact . . . they taste great! Fresh herbs add an additional layer to your meal. I am not shy when it comes to fresh herbs . . . oh no! Handfuls . . . yes, handfuls of fresh herbs. Fresh herbs can be the center piece, the main attraction, the front row, the star . . . to your meal.
Well, I wouldn’t be a good holistic health counselor if I didn’t point out the nutritional benefits of these three favorite fresh herbs of mine. And me being just that . . . good, I must keep you knowledgable! So, here goes . . .
The scientific name for basil is Ocimum basilicum. With over 60 varieties of basil, all offering a somewhat different taste and appearance. The most common is sweet basil which is bright and pungent. However, there are varieties like lemon basil, anise basil and cinnamon basil . . . who would of thought? Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese, a very good source of copper, vitamins A & C, and a good source of calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids. Fresh basil is an effective remedy for a variety of digestive disorders, including stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, gas and constipation. This aromatic plant is held in high regard by healers. So are you ready to make a batch of pesto, sprinkle some atop a piece of bruschetta, infuse it into a cup of warm water to enjoy as a healing tea? My guess . . . yes, indeed!
Cilantro leaves come from the coriander plant, Coriandrum sativum. It’s leaves are commonly used in Indian, Mexican, Thai and Chinese cuisines. You are probably familiar with cilantro as an addition to your favorite exotic dish but did you know . . . it’s also a powerful natural cleansing agent. Cilantro has been effectively and safely used to help remove heavy metals and other toxic agents from the body. Wow! There are many health benefits fresh, raw cilantro leaves can boost about. Some include . . . powerful anti-inflammatory properties, relieve stomach gas, aid in overall digestive health, ward off urinary tract infections, reduce feelings of nausea, good source of iron,magnesium and fiber, lessen menstrual cramping and hormonal mood swings, increase good cholesterol and reduce bad cholesterol, promote healthy liver function . . . should I continue or can you assume cilantro does the body good? You get the picture . . . healthy herbs means a healthy body! Thoughts of making a large batch of guacamole or an indian curry with a cilantro chutney . . . simply gorgeous!
Mint is a glorious member of the Mentha genus plant family with 25 different varieties. Varieties include peppermint, spearmint, apple mint, orange mint, water mint, curly mint, Corsican mint, etc. Mint is an ancient herb that has been used since antiquity for it’s culinary, medicinal and aromatic properties. Considered one of the oldest and best-tasting home remedies for indigestion, studies have shown mint to lessen the amount of time food spends in the stomach by stimulating the gastric lining. Mint helps to relax the stomach muscles, promotes burping, soothes heartburn and stomachache, relieves gas, aids digestion, reduces migraine headaches and helps with insomnia. Mint is a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C. Who is ready to substitute one regular coffee for a cup of fresh mint tea? Tea time, anyone?
So what are your favorite fresh herbs? Embracing all things green never seemed so easy especially when your plate is filled with Fresh Herbs!
To being just a wee bit more green . . . one sprig of your favorite fresh herb at a time! Hugs, M.