Cilantro – Popular, Tasty and Bursting with Health Benefits

Cilantro is a tiny, unassuming herb with huge benefits to your health. Its popularity as a cooking ingredient spans the globe and doesn’t let you down when it comes to flavor. Pungent and versatile, it’s used the world over in such dishes as guacamole, salsa, noodle recipes, curries and chimichurri sauces.

Cilantro is Vitamin and Mineral Packed

Most of cilantro’s nutritive value comes from minerals including calcium, zinc, potassium, iron, phosphorus and magnesium, but it’s also known for being a source of vitamin C and dietary fiber. It can be used instead of salt to impart a boost of citrusy flavor to a multitude of culinary delights.

The leaves and seeds of the cilantro plant contain the most health value. After the plant flowers and produces its seeds, the leaves become even more intense in flavor. You can use the seeds to flavor pickles, breads, sausages and much more.

Cilantro Compares to Valium for Reducing Anxiety and Improving Sleep

Among cilantro’s many health benefits is that it is low in saturated fats and contains almost no calories. Just a little cilantro goes a long way to improving your sleep and anxiety issues.

A recent study showed that it can reduce anxiety levels much the same as the prescription drug, Valium – and without the harmful side effects.

Helps Eliminate Harmful Toxic Elements from the Body

Arsenic, aluminum and other harmful heavy metals that we absorb unwittingly in our diets can become embedded in our tissues and contribute to many maladies such as infertility, heart disease, neurological problems and an imbalance of hormones.

Cilantro acts to bind these toxic elements and then helps to eliminate them entirely from the body.

Cilantro Contains Antioxidants to Protect Against Free Radicals

Such degenerative diseases as macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease may also be helped by the cilantro herb and the powerful antioxidants it contains. The herb’s antioxidant properties are led by the flavonoid component, quercetin, which protects against the devastating damage caused by free radicals.

Natural Skin Irritation and Antihistamine

Use cilantro as a remedy for such skin irritations as sunburn, hives and poison ivy. Because of its inherent antihistamine properties, it can help the prevent the immune system from improperly responding to allergens.

Reduces The Onset of Diabetes

High blood sugar levels have become a major concern throughout the population of the western world. Cilantro helps the liver function properly and thereby maintain balanced blood sugar. Scientific research indicates that using cilantro more widely in the food we consume would reduce the incidence of diabetes.

Balances Alkalinity

Antibacterial compounds abundant in cilantro help prevent urinary tract infections by providing a healthy alkaline setting and may also lessen annoying and painful symptoms if a UTI (urinary tract infection) does present itself.

Cilantro has been used for generations as a healing agent and for adding flavor to many dishes. The seeds of cilantro have been found in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and were also found sprinkled throughout Tutankhamen’s tomb. The ancient civilizations loved this wonder herb.

If this is an herb that you don’t regularly use, hopefully this has motivated you to learn more on how you can grow and store it successfully, and how it can be used in recipes to provide the ultimate in health benefits for you and your family.

The Powerful Health Benefits of Dill

Dill has been used for culinary purposes since ancient Greek and Roman times, and the taste of dill is strong, tangy and extremely appetizing and versatile. It is such a sought-after herb it was taxed in some cultures and could be found in almost every garden in 17th century England.

Many Uses of Dill

Most of today’s population in the western world recognize dill mainly as being an herb to add flavor to meals. Dill pickles and dill seed, oil and fresh dill are widely used to enhance baked items, meat, snacks and condiments.

Some perfumes, creams, lotions and soaps also utilize its pungent odor to add an enticing aroma to the product.

Dill for Better Health

In addition to its well-known taste appeal, it has been a valuable herb throughout the years for its powerful health benefits. These include improved digestive health, relieving insomnia, diarrhea, menstrual pain, cancer and much more.

Dill is a natural native of the Mediterranean region of the world and was most widely used as an anti-spasmodic for the digestive tract and for treating colic in young children.

Nutrients, Vitamins and Minerals

The potent properties of dill include the monoterpenes and flavonoids such as carvone, anethofuran, vicenin and kaempferol. The nutrients abundant within dill include vitamins C, A, and folate (a B group vitamin) and the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc and manganese.

These components act together to boost your immune system. They also contribute to bone growth (for increased bone density and delaying osteoporosis) and helping prevent the onset of arthritis by improving joint health. These same properties are also vital for maintaining mental acuity.

Dill Compares to Vitamin C

The antioxidant properties of dill help to protect the body from damaging free radicals which negatively impact health and longevity. Studies show that the antioxidants contained in dill positively compare to ascorbic acid and quercetin – both considered antioxidant champions – in helping to fight free radical damage.

Antidepressant

Dill has been used as an effective natural remedy for depression and is known to contain powerful antidepressant and analgesic properties. These functions, combined with dill’s soothing anti-spasmodic abilities, make it a perfect natural treatment for reducing the magnitude of stress symptoms.

To help achieve and maintain a more stress-free balance in your life, regularly include dill as pickles, fresh dill or seeds in your diet. For dealing with depression symptoms, using dill oil may be more beneficial due to its greater concentration of valuable constituents.

Other Benefits

Research studies and anecdotal evidence give strong indications that dill can help lessen symptoms of various other conditions also. Dill has been shown to reduce the pain of menstrual cramps and is claimed to reduce the incidence of epileptic seizures. It has also been used to diminish persistent hiccups.

These efficacies would seem to all be due to dill’s antispasmodic and pain-killing properties.

Buy, or Grow Your Own

Dill in all its forms is readily available for purchase; such as fresh from the supermarket. It is also a plant that can be grown in most gardens. The dill plant can either be a perennial or annual herb depending on where it’s cultivated. For both culinary and healing purposes dill is a worthwhile plant in any home garden.

Use Lavender to Calm the Mind and Heal the Body

Many people may think of lavender as something their grandmothers used – as dried sprigs in their handkerchief drawer or linen cupboard, or as oil, to be used as a cure-all for headache, sleep problems and even treating insect bites.

Whether for the associated “quaintness” or simply because of clever advertising of commercial alternatives, lavender seemed to fall from favor for a few generations. Look out – it’s back!

Science Proves Grandma Right

Increasing interest in natural remedies for health issues large and small has led the general population and scientific researchers to investigate the cures of yesteryear, and lavender comes up trumps.

Studies have proven that lavender wasn’t and isn’t just a sweet-smelling placebo, but that its specific properties work for all the things your grandmother used it for, as well as some conditions she probably didn’t even know about.

As a medicinal remedy, lavender is mainly used as either an essential oil derived from the flower heads, or from the dried flower heads themselves. Either way provides benefits from inhalation, and the oil can also be applied to the skin.

Aromatherapy Benefits

Aromatherapy is an incredibly powerful healing medium, firstly because inhalation causes an almost instant brain response, and secondly because the healing process takes place with no effort on the part of the patient.

Simply being in near proximity to the dissipating scent activates the healing response triggered by the particular oil’s properties. Importantly, many aromatherapists consider lavender to be the single most effective oil.

Exciting Research on Treating Lifestyle Diseases

Recent scientific research has shown that not only is lavender very effective in treating a long list of known ailments, it shows great promise for being able to prevent and treat aspects of lifestyle diseases such as type two diabetes, and also cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (both of which are considered by many to have lifestyle aspects themselves).

Calm the Mind and Relieve Anxiety

The greatest property of lavender for a great many people is its ability to invoke calm and relaxation. The central nervous system is affected by lavender in a positive way to eliminate nervous tension.

Research has shown that using essential lavender oil can alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Those who experience dental anxiety may also be helped using the lavender scent.

Improve Sleep and Reduce Stress Levels

To overcome lack of sleep or insomnia some people put a flower sprig in their pillowcase, some sprinkle oil on their pillow, others go to sleep with an oil-burner on their bedside table.

However, the calming benefits of lavender don’t need to be limited to nighttime. Having an oil-burner going on the desk can help reduce the effects of stress without any active effort. Lavender has been used to reduce headache pain and other pain such as toothaches, as it works as an anti-inflammatory.

Natural Antiseptic

Studies have proven that lavender oil has antiseptic components that can help to heal minor burns, infections, skin sores and bites from various bugs, including itching caused by mosquitos.

Lavender is often used in hair loss prevention techniques, fungal infections and as a repellant to some insects. Disinfecting the skin and scalp are ways that lavender is used medicinally. It is often used in fragrances and toiletry products to cleanse and purify the skin.

Urinary Problems Eased with Lavender

Urinary disorders may be helped by lavender essential oil. Lavender is known to increase urine production and elimination and also helps to restore hormone balance which can reduce inflammation or cysts in the urinary tract.

Helps Relieve Respiratory Symptoms

Respiratory disorders such as flu, coughs, colds, bronchitis and sinus congestion can be greatly relieved by inhaling lavender vapor or applying it to the chest, neck or back. The lavender vapor is effective in treating many respiratory tract infections.

Growing Lavender for Health

The lavender herb brings both beauty and fragrance to any garden along with its many medicinal properties. You can also grow lavender in pots or add splendor to any landscape.

It is known for its durability to withstand heat and drought and formal gardens prize it for adding a low hedge effect – plus it provides an aromatic border. As it grows so easily and well, add some to your garden and start feeling the calming benefits of it’s beautiful scent in your home.

The Health Benefits of Mint

You likely know about some of the great culinary benefits of mint and how it’s a great breath freshener, but did you know it also has many health benefits? Mint has been used for centuries for its incredible medicinal benefits.

Digestion and Nausea

The reason mint works so well as a digestive aid is that it stimulates the salivary glands, which in turn release the digestive the enzymes which aid the digestive process.

That is why you can drink mint tea to soothe your upset stomach and you can use a sprig of mint for nausea. If you are prone to motion sickness, mint can help you dispel the queasiness. Pregnant women have found great relief from morning sickness by sipping mint tea, or sprinkling mint oil on a handkerchief if travelling.

Mint in various forms makes a great palate cleanser between courses and is often offered after a meal to aid in digestion.

Respiratory Problems

If you ever have a chronic cough or respiratory problem, the aroma of mint can soothe the bronchial tubes and lungs. Asthma is particularly helped by mint and it also relieves the irritation caused by nasal drainage and constant coughing.

If you have ever chewed on a piece of peppermint, you will have noticed the immediate opening of the airways. The mint clears the sinus quickly and easily.

Headaches

Many people have found that rubbing menthol oil derived from mint on their forehead and nose helps to quickly alleviate the annoying symptoms of a headache. There are many pain-relief products on the market today which contain a mint base or mint-oil. The mint oil helps relieve the inflammation that causes headache pain.

Depression and Fatigue

Depression and chronic tiredness may be alleviated with the natural stimulant contained in the mint herb. Simply inhaling mint can jump start your brain function and give you that much needed boost to your mood. Diffusing mint oil in an oil-burner while at your desk will help you to maintain focus, and it is caffeine-free.

However, avoid mint in the evening to avoid sleep disruption due to being over-alert. To help regulate your sleep cycle, use lavender in the evenings and peppermint in the morning. This will relax and stimulate your mind at the times you need it, helping you function better all day.

Skin Irritations and Cleanser

Along with all the other benefits of mint, it also works as a great skin cleanser. Your skin will feel fresh and tingly after using mint oil – and its antiseptic qualities will help cure any itchiness, infections or pimples on your skin.

Cognitive Function

One recent study indicated that mint may have an effect on memory retention and cognitive function. The study showed that those who frequently use ‘mint-flavored chewing gum’ had higher levels of mental alertness than those who didn’t.

Much of the mint in manufactured “mint-flavored” products are synthesized esters and not real mint. To gain the best results, get some mint essential oil, or use fresh mint.

Mint is easily grown at home or available in the supermarket. Start thinking about the mint herb as a healing herb and find ways to use it in your daily routine.

Parsley – The World’s Most Popular Herb

Parsley’s restorative powers were first discovered in the Mediterranean region of Europe. The herb was worshiped by the Greeks who used it to “anoint” their victorious athletes and decorate the tombs of the dead.

Revered for its role as a food garnish – parsley as a food garnish dates back to the ancient Roman civilization – parsley also brings numerous health benefits to the table.

Parsley contains many valuable vitamins, minerals and nutrients, one of which is vitamin C, which acts as an antioxidant and helps to eradicate free radicals in the water-soluble areas of the body.

Another health benefit of vitamin C is it helps boost and maintain a health immune system. This vitamin C perk also helps to prevent common colds and recurring ear infections.

Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamins K, A and folate, as well as the mineral iron.

Anti-oxidant Powers of Parsley

When free radicals build up in your body, you are more prone to the development of various diseases such as cancer, diabetes, asthma and atherosclerosis. Parsley’s oil components include limonene and alpha-thujene and such flavonoids as apigenin and luteolin.

These anti-oxidants help the body in its constant battle against free radical formation. In addition to its anti-oxidant properties luteolin is also helpful in boosting blood circulation.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

Parsley is packed with anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it helpful in reducing inflammation for those suffering with arthritis and joint pain. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis sufferers can benefit from adding parsley to their meals.

Beta-carotene – A Disease Prevention Ingredient

The beta-carotene in parsley helps to reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes, colon cancer and atherosclerosis and prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Beta-carotene is converted within the body to Vitamin A – one of the most important helpers in maintaining a healthy immune system. Beta-carotene is a nutrient that has been associated with preventing and reducing tumor growth, making parsley a cancer prevention herb.

Myristicin – A Beneficial Volatile Oil

Myristicin is a volatile oil found in parsley. Research shows that it prevents tumors in animals – especially within the lungs. This oil also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, an extremely valuable oil which acts as a protective food against potential damage by carcinogens.

Eat the Garnish!

The most popular versions of parsley include Italian flat leaf and curly parsley, but there is a variety called turnip-rooted parsley which is used for its roots, similar to a turnip plant.

Choose fresh parsley when possible. After harvesting or purchasing, store parsley in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to keep it as fresh as possible to obtain maximum health benefits.

As you can see, parsley is more than a garnish for your meal or a breath freshener after a meal of garlic. You can certainly use it to cleanse the palate and freshen your breath, however, there is so much more to this herb, and that’s how it can improve your health.

So, eat the parsley garnish – it may be the healthiest thing on your plate!

The Health Benefits of Rosemary

If you’re feeling “down” try taking in the unique and soothing aroma of the rosemary herb. Throughout history rosemary has been used to boost memory acuity and moods. More recent research has shown that it can even lower the risk of age-related cognitive issues.

Besides being a memory improver, rosemary is known for its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It relieves many conditions and there are many wonderful health benefits obtained from the rosemary herb. Some of the many conditions it is used to treat include:

  • Headache relief
  • Protection from DNA damage
  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory and relieves joint and arthritic pain
  • Relieves muscle pain
  • Circulatory system support
  • Nervous system support
  • Digestive support and relieves indigestion
  • Stimulates hair growth and helps treat alopecia

Protection Barrier

A study listed in the Journal of Neurochemistry and Nature Reviews Neuroscience stated that the component, carnosic acid (CA) found in rosemary can protect the brain from damage that might be caused by a stroke. It also helps the body fight against harmful free radicals.

The carnosic acid in rosemary has also been found to assist in the prevention of breast cancer, by helping the liver break down estrogen.

Diuretic Properties

If you’re plagued by water retention and bloating, try rosemary as a mild diuretic to flush the harmful toxins from your body. Toxins which enter the body are eliminated through the use of rosemary extract and effectively flushed from the body.

Rosemary Essential Oil for Topical Use

Studies indicate that rosemary essential oil used as a topical ointment can prevent hair loss, which is helping for those trying to prevent baldness and alopecia.

It is also excellent for muscle pain and muscle spasms, and can be used for bruises and certain skin conditions, such as eczema.

Another topical remedy rosemary is useful for is strengthening the capillaries and increasing the flow of blood to improve dermal circulation.

Cosmetic companies often use rosemary oil in their skin toners. It can also be found in many hair products, creams and soaps. Rosemary essential oil may help to prevent the effects of aging on the skin as it protects the skin from environmental free radicals.

You can also rub the rosemary leaves or some rosemary essential oil (in a carrier oil such as almond oil) to your temples, to provide relief from general headaches.

Make a Cup of Rosemary Tea

Rosemary tea can help relieve digestive problems such as indigestion, calm and relax your mind, provide liver detoxifying benefits, and the aroma from your tea can relieve respiratory problems associated with colds and flu.

Rosemary is a staple in any good herb garden and kitchen cabinet. Chefs use it for meat rubs, combine it with garlic on roasted potatoes or lamb dishes, or use it as a beautiful and aromatic garnish and so much more. It adds incredible taste to culinary works of art while it provides huge health benefits at the same time.

Many gardeners love to place the rosemary bush within their gardens to deter insects and for the wonderful aroma it emits from its leaves. Landscapers use it for its beautiful gray-green color and hardiness.

You may also grow rosemary in pots as an aromatic addition to a patio or porch. It is hardy and easy to grow and in most areas, can be grown year-round as a perennial shrub.

It’s also easy to store the dried rosemary herb. Keep some rosemary on hand to improve the taste of many dishes and to improve your health – both inside and out!

Sage for Major Flavor and Maximum Health

A native of the Mediterranean region, sage provides a strong flavor to recipes as well as fiber and many vitamins for the body. You can use sage when you want to reduce your sodium intake. Instead of adding salt to your recipes, add a little sage and still retain exciting flavor to your culinary efforts, without the sodium.

Sage is a member of the mint family, along with other members which include rosemary, thyme and basil. Although most chefs use sage for its pungent flavor without too much consideration for its many health benefits, this herb is an excellent source of Vitamin A, riboflavin, folic acid and B vitamins.

The gray-green leaves of the sage plant are edible and the plants also sprout edible flowers which range from blue, purple or white and pink.

The Health Benefits of Sage

Throughout the years, sage has been used for medical ailments such as gastrointestinal disorders and some mental disorders.

You can even make a refreshing drink from the sage leaves – sometimes called “thinker’s tea” – which is claimed to help relieve depression.

Anti-oxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties

Sage provides anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory elements which can help prevent or treat several medical problems.

A mere gram of sage provides many health benefits.

  • In recent studies, it was found that sage may help treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory in others.
  • One study found that sage had anti-inflammatory properties which helped reduce gingival fibroblasts, a type of cell within the tissues of the gums, which can be a precursor to dental problems.
  • Sage can help lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
  • Sage helps fight free radical damage, inflammation and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

Use Sage Essential Oil for Aches and Pains

Essential oils from sage can be used for rheumatism and muscle aches. The next time you have a massage try a little sage essential oil on your sore or tired muscles.

If you would like to add this healthy little herb to your diet, you can add fresh or dried sage to pork dishes or try them with poultry and cheese. Or, you can make a sage dressing for your Thanksgiving turkey each year.

You may also want to try some sage soaps or use sage extracts for their aroma. This way, the aromatherapy benefits to your mental health, (which sage is known for) will be obtained effortlessly as you go about your daily routine.

Sage supplements are also available if you want to obtain the health benefits of consuming this herb, however, growing some in your garden and picking it fresh, is always best!

You can purchase the sage herb in three forms – fresh, ground or rubbed.

  • Rubbed sage resembles powder – light and very soft.
  • Fresh sage can be used when you really want to bring out the pungent taste of the herb.
  • If you can’t find fresh sage, try ground sage which has been stored in a glass jar and in a dark and cool place.

You can also purchase sage essential oil for use in aromatherapy. Experience the health benefits of sage by using it in any form that suits you!

The Natural Health Benefits of Thyme

Thyme is a popular culinary herb and is found in most kitchens today. However, few would be aware what the medicinal benefits of thyme are.

Thyme is full of vitamins A and C. It is a natural diuretic, it stimulates the appetite and can relieve the pain and inconvenience of colic, bronchitis, arthritis and more.

Thyme’s ancient history includes being revered in Roman times as a healing herb and for protecting against diseases and illnesses.

It was used to protect the population from diseases that might occur through eating meat, (that may have started to go bad, as it was before the days of refrigeration), and it was also used to medicate bandages for wounds.

This is one of the remarkable abilities of thyme, the prevention of food poisoning by decontaminating the food and preventing contamination in the first place.

Other Health Benefits

Antifungal and Antibacterial Properties

Thyme and the herb, oregano, are close cousins and both have many of the same healing qualities. Both contain Carvacrol and both are useful in antibacterial and antifungal applications which benefit from the antioxidants in the herbs.

Thyme is still used medicinally in many traditional remedies today to take advantage of its antifungal and antibacterial components. Products as popular as Listerine some Vicks vapor type products use thyme for its aromatic and healing properties.

Thyme essential oil is used in most sore throat remedies and ‘throat drops’ as an antibacterial element, as it helps fight strains of bacteria in the respiratory tract.

Thyme is also beneficial for fighting bacteria in the urinary tract, to prevent and overcome infection.

Boosts Many of the Body’s “Systems”

The immune and respiratory systems of your body benefit greatly from the effects of thyme as do the nervous and digestive systems.

Reduce High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

If you have hypertension (high blood pressure), you can benefit from thyme’s ability to help reduce high BP levels. Thyme is also helpful for lowering LDL cholesterol levels.

Boosts Dopamine and Serotonin Levels

Thyme can boost your mood with the pungent component, Carvacrol – an active molecule that helps neurotransmitters in the brain increase levels of the mood boosters, dopamine and serotonin.

Protect Against Tumor Growth

One of the most important findings in research on thyme is that it may help fight and prevent the onslaught of tumors and cancer – especially colon cancer. Protecting against tumor growth is a very positive finding and research is ongoing. As research continues, more breakthroughs are expected in the many medicinal possibilities for thyme.

About Thyme

Thyme is from the mint family of herbs. The leaves of thyme are generally dried and used as a seasoning for many recipes.

Bees are attracted to thyme flowers and honey from the herb is popular, especially in Sicily where thyme honey has been famous for generations.

When you add thyme to your favorite dishes, you can be happy knowing you are adding lots of goodness, as well as flavor, to your family’s meals. It’s a versatile little herb, that not only brings out bold tastes, but benefits your health.