Discover the Best Indian Herbs
It’s common knowledge that everything green falls under the umbrella of healthy. Our parents and grandparents have harped on it for many years and we ourselves have slowly but gradually discovered the numerous benefits of eating green and organic food.
Enter herbs. They’re green, delicious and brimming with fiber, vitamins and minerals. And because of drastic lifestyle changes we’ve come to depend more on them than ever before. These green leafy geniuses help to ward off heart disease, diabetes, obesity and a lot of other health problems.
We know they work as brilliant kitchen ingredients, have healing powers and are absolutely essential for our mind, body and soul.
Dry or Fresh?
We eat some green herbs like kadipatta, parsley, mint and basil in their raw form and a few others like thyme, oregano and rosemary in their dry form. While herbs in their dry form might serve their purpose asgarnish they have very little nutrition value.
Kadi patta or curry leaves are perhaps one of the most popular herbs used in India and also grown in our backyard. As the name suggests, curry leaves are added to curries, soups, chutney and also used to season all types of meat and seafood.
Why is it healthy?
They’re a rich source of iron and folic acid, antioxidants and also have antibacterial properties. They lower cholesterol, provide protection from heart disease, strengthen the stomach, help with digestion, provide protection from liver damage, reduce congestion in the chest and nose, reduce hair fall and beat early ageing.
Dhaniya, cilantro or coriander is commonly used as a condiment or garnish and gives your food a warm, aromatic and citrusy flavour.
Why is it healthy?
It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids, minerals and vitamins. It helps lower cholesterol levels, reduce skin inflammation, lower blood pressure, ward off mouth ulcers and also works as an anti-allergic. Coriander is a rich source of calcium that helps strengthen bones and prevents bone degradation.
Methi or fenugreek is a widely used herb with a bitter taste and strong aroma.
Why is it healthy?
Methi contains protein, fiber, vitamin C and K, niacin, potassium, iron and alkaloids. It’s considered very good for diabetic patients, reduces the risk of heart disease, aids digestion, helps maintain a hormonal balance for women, cures acid reflux or heartburn and also helps to prevent colon cancer.
One of the oldest and most popular herbs, mint leaves are used in soup, rice, curries and even desserts.
Why is it healthy?
Mint has the highest levels of antioxidants amongst all food which helps in digestion. Drinking mint tea cleanses the stomach and helps with irritated bowel syndrome. It acts as a cooling ingredient for the skin and helps deal with skin irritation. It helps with teeth whitening, fights bad breath and is an excellent blood cleanser.
Ashwagandha, also known as the Indian GinsengÂ is one of the most powerful medicinal herbs. It is more than 3000 years old and has extensively been used in Ayurveda.
Why is it healthy?
It is helpful in treating anxiety, lowering inflammation and blood pressure, balancing the nervous system and strengthening the immune system.
This type of basil is different from Tulsi or the Holy Basil.Â It is a popular culinary herb usedÂ world over for its aroma and flavor. It has a strong, pungent and sweet smell. And is most commonly used as the hero ingredient in pesto.
Basil has long been considered an anti-depressant. It makes an excellent tea that acts on the adrenal cortex, and it can help the body stimulate hormones that regulate the body’s natural response to stress. Basil also has antiseptic properties, and when the leaves are rubbed onto bug bites they can help reduce itching. Basil is often found as an essential oil, and the product is said to fight mental fatigue. Basil oil is not taken internally, but it is used in aromatherapy and massage.
Why is it healthy?
Basil has medicinal properties that work on certain diseases and ailments. It is used as an essential oil in aromatherapy. It also reduce inflammation and swelling and can help prevent the harmful effects of ageing.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is an aromatic herb in the mint family which originated in Egypt and Arabia. It is also widely referred to as Oregano. Today, it is commonly found in the Mediterranean region or grown in gardens around the world. In its varied forms of: Marjoram essential oil, fresh or dried Marjoram leaves, or Marjoram powder (ground up Marjoram), it has many uses. As a culinary additive, it is commonly used to flavor soups, sauces, salads, and meat dishes. Cosmetically, Marjoram is used in skin cream, body lotion, shaving gel, and bath soaps. Whether used as an essential oil, powder, fresh leaves, or dried leaves, Marjoram has many uses with numerous health benefits
Rosemary is an aromatic in the mint family that grows on an evergreen bush. It is most often used in cooking but has a wonderful woodsy scent and is also great in air fresheners and aromatherapy mixes.
Uses of Rosemary
– Rosemary can be infused into an oil and used externally for skin irritations like eczema and joint problems like arthritis.
– It has also been reported to speed healing of wounds and bruises when used externally.
– Rosemary Oil can be used externally in times of illness to speed recovery by rubbing on the feet or any areas that are sore.
– Rosemary is also helpful in warding off smaller pests like mosquitos and is an ingredient in Homemade Bug-Off Bars.
Lavender is a fragrant aromatic, a relaxing herb, and it can be used in baking, lotion making, gourmet cooking, tea making, tinctures and much more. Benefits of Lavender
– Simmering dried lavender herb in a pot of water with some citrus peels for a natural air freshener.
– Lavender essential oil can be used topically to help with acne or skin irritations.
– In a tincture to help promote relaxation and sleep.
– A strong lavender tea can be cooled and used as a scalp rinse to help prevent dandruff.
– Adding a few drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of strong brewed lavender tea and a cup of epsom salts to a bath helps relax sore muscles.
Lemon balm has earned a reputation for being a potent health-supporting tool.Here are some benefits of lemon balm
– Calms the Mind
– Encourages Restful Sleep
– Makes Skin Look Years Younger
– Boosts Alertness
– Sharpens Memory and Problem Solving
– Powerful Antioxidant
– Supports the Liver
– Supports Normal Blood Sugar
– Protects Brain Cells
Fennel plants contain large amounts of anethole, which is an aromatic natural compound found in many essential oils. Fennel herb is carminative by nature, which simply means that it works to prevent the creation of gases. Fennel oil is used in the making of eye washes due to its cleansing and soothing properties. The people of India believe that fennel contains the ability to improve eyesight materially and often ingest raw or slightly sweetened fennel seeds to gain this benefit.
Watercress is a good source of lutein and beta-carotene, two important components in preventing UV-damage and maintaining skin health, which is key to an anti-aging regime.Watercress is heavy in antioxidants, a key ingredient in the prevention of cancer. Antioxidants prevent damage to cells by stopping dangerous free radicals from running rampant and causing cancerous harm. Watercress is loaded with potassium, which acts as a diuretic and draws out excess water weight from the body.
Garlic chives have many health benefits but hardly any side effects. This herb is very delicious in taste as well as nutritious for health. This herb is rich in Vitamin C, which prevents from common cold and fever. It is low in fat, thus is safe for those who suffer from obesity and are restricted from most of the herbs and spices. The herb has high content of dietary fiber and protein. It helps in maintaining a healthy and balanced metabolism. Cooked garlic chives help in treating digestive, kidney, and liver problems.
The two major phytonutrients found in Globe Artichokes are Cynarin and Silymarin. These are of particular interest for their ability to lower cholesterol, protect and support liver function, increase bile production and prevent gallstones. Studies suggest that Silymarin, which is also found in Milk Thistle, may also help control blood sugar in type II diabetics.
Mint is a popular flavoring in many recipes and beverages. It is also beneficial to one’s health and wellness as an herbal supplement. Mint has many positive properties that can treat a host of issues in the human body. People have become very creative in harvesting its leaves and finding many ways to use this helpful herb.
– Health Benefits of Mint
– Digestive Remedy
– Soothe Headaches
– Colds & Flu
– Fatigue and Depression
– Natural Weight Loss
– Memory Enhancer
– Skin Treatment
Borage is well known for its soothing qualities and has been used to treat nervous conditions. The adrenal glands in our body work very hard all day to prepare our body for fight or flight situations, constantly releasing adrenalin into the body. Adrenal fatigue can occur when the body is overstressed. Borage is used to restore the adrenal glands to their natural balance, which in turn creates a calmer body and mind. Borage can be found in a caplet form, or as a liquid extract of the plant.
The oil is also utilized in order to elevate the mood and relieving pain in aromatherapy. It can also be calming during conditions of stress and baths with thyme can help to relieve joint pain and aches.
The essential oils within thyme contain large amounts of thymol, which is a strong antibacterial agent as well as a strong antiseptic and antioxidant. The oil can be used within mouthwashes in order treat mouth inflammations as well as infections of the throat.
Chamomile has been used for centuries in teas as a mild, relaxing sleep aid, treatment for fevers, colds, stomach ailments, and as an anti-inflammatory, to name only a few therapeutic uses. It heal mouth sores and prevent gum disease. It soothe skin rashes (including eczema), minor burns and sunburn.
Sage has been used effectively for throat infections, dental abscesses, infected gums and mouth ulcers. Sage has an anti-spasmodic action which reduces tension in smooth muscle, and it can be used in a steam inhalation for asthma attacks. Sage has a strong anti-hydrotic action, and was a traditional treatment for night sweats in tuberculosis sufferers.