Herbs are not just a great way to add unique flavour to any culinary creation, but also have amazing medicinal and healing properties that will nourish your body from the inside out so it’s important to include them in your daily life.
Of course, the easiest way is to cook with them. Add basil, chives, coriander and parsley to pesto sauces, sprinkle on salads, soups and stews (if using fresh, always add at the end of cooking to not ruin the flavour) or add rosemary and sage to roasted vegetables, baked breads and casseroles. They pair well with fruits and desserts as well, think mint with raspberries or strawberries and lavender cookies.
Basil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties along with being a rich source of magnesium; parsley is high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C and it helps reducing high blood pressure while coriander can contribute to managing cholesterol levels and lowering blood sugar levels as well as having strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. Rosemary is a source of fibre, iron, and calcium; it supports digestion and memory function while reducing joint and muscles pain when applied topically. And chives is known to have great antioxidants powers.
If you don’t feel like cooking with herbs, you could always drink them. Brewing a cup of tea is another way you can experience their medicinal benefits on your body. It takes only a few minutes but it can bring you relaxation, soothe an upset stomach or help with congestion.
You’ve all probably had a cup of peppermint tea to ease digestion and relieve bloating but there’s also dandelion which is considered a natural mild diuretic and it’s helpful in promoting liver detoxification functions and dealing with poor digestion. You can prepare an infusion using the leaves, flowers, roots and even stalks of this plant.
Nettle is another powerful herb that is able to interfere with the body's production of prostaglandins and other inflammation causing chemicals having an anti-inflammatory effect useful to reduce joint pain. It may also enhance responses of the immune system, reducing allergic reactions and skin conditions like eczema and because of its high content of iron, it’s used to treat anaemia and excessive menstruation leading to low iron stores. Sage tea has wonderful qualities as well thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that make it beneficial in treating cold and flus, sore throat and headaches.
An additional solution to incorporate more herbs in your daily life is using essential oils.
Essential oils like lavender and chamomile can be added to baths, diffusers or to massage oils to calm and relax both mind and body while eucalyptus, mint or citrus can be inhaled to help congestion and revive the mind giving energy and improving concentration.
Some can be applied topically to treat fungal infections (tea tree oil), skin irritations, burn or insects bites and some can be taken internally. Organo oil for example, is one of the most powerful antibacterial and antiviral tools to prevent and cure fevers, colds, flus.
Finally, one of the easiest ways to use herbs as medicine is taking them in supplement form, whether in tincture or tablet form.
Some of the most commonly used are milk thistle, echinacea and valerian. Milk thistle is well-known to support liver detoxication action and can decrease the damage caused by harmful substances and toxins. Echinacea has great anti inflammatory properties and is widely used to promote the immune system function, fight and prevent infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections while valerian acts as a natural relaxant. It can calm the nervous system, helping you wind down, relieve anxiety and ease you into restful sleep. Usually, all you have to do is take the prescribed dosage and allow a bit of time for the herb to work synergistically with your body to experience the full benefits.
Pick whatever method of incorporating herbs in your life suits you best. They’re all effective. Just remember to have your natural dose of plant medicine daily!