By Bernice Kwan
When scanning the produce section of the grocery store, most people are aware that fruits and veggies provide a good dose of nutrients; but did you ever consider herbs? Herbs typically refer to the leafy green or flowering part of plants that are used in food, flavoring, medicine, and fragrances.
Though herbs tend to be put under the radar, they have a very rich history and prominent presence in many cultures and societies. They are traditionally used to make teas, ointments and rubs, aromas, and are incorporated in nearly every recipe to add flavor. Some people also believe that herbs offer potent healing properties.
Seeing as they are so widely and diversely used around the world, here is a breakdown of a few herbs and what they have to offer:
Sage is one of the most praised herbs for its expansive usability. Studies show that sage has antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, free radical scavenging, and antitumor activities. For these reasons, it has been used in medicinal teas for centuries. It has been linked to improved diabetic conditions, memory and cognition, and even elevated mood among a whole list of other health benefits. Time to pick up some sage tea!
Ginkgo leaves are best known for its effects on blood and memory. It contains an active ingredient that promotes blood flow and for this reason, researchers believe that the increase blood flow to the brain improves memory. Consider brewing some ginkgo tea if you feel the need for a memory boost but do not take any ginkgo supplements before asking your doctor!
Basil is commonly used in recipes to add a flavorful punch or to give a soothing aroma. It contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Fresh basil is also packed with Vitamin K which is commonly found in spinach, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. Not to mention, it adds a nice flavor to many foods!
There is much to praise about rosemary, from it’s irreplaceable aroma, to its ease of use, it seems as if we just can’t get enough. You may be happy to hear that rosemary is a great source of Vitamin A, Thiamin and Magnesium, Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, and Iron. Also, similar to ginkgo, it promotes blood flow. Next time you take a walk around Davis, keep an eye out for some rosemary and use it in your home cooked meals (but make sure you wash anything that you pick up walking through the neighborhood)
This list of beneficial herbs go on and there is so much to learn about each one of them! Use herbs mindfully and incorporate them into your cooking as a way to cut down on salt, and always ask your doctor before taking any supplements!