Who knew? June 10th is National Herbs and Spices Day.
Now that you know, celebrate on the 10th by including a few new herbs in a home-made meal or dish. Then post a photo of your endeavor on Facebook or Tweet it to #HerbsAndSpicesDay.
You need only open your spice cabinet to get started. You may be surprised by the wealth of options readily available there. I have selected six herbs that are all balancing for Vatas and Kaphas and only aggravating to Pittas if
they are consumed in excess. They all support the appetite and digestion and most of them offer respiratory support in some fashion. This is because they each taste bitter (air and ether) and pungent (air and fire), which creates a decongesting and warming action in the lungs. As ingredients, they make good additions to any heavy dishes that might require stronger digestion, and their aromatic flavors are just plain tasty.
Sweet basil, the type of basil most commonly used in cooking, is sweet as well as pungent and bitter. Basil helps maintain and promote the long-term health of the respiratory tract, in addition to settling stomach disorders and enhancing digestion. Despite its tendency to be stimulating to the brain, it is known to be a mild natural sleep aid.
Basil is aromatic and is used in both its fresh and dried forms to flavor soups and stews. It is potent, so use small quantities for a more subtle flavor. The dried leaves can be combined with lemon juice, powdered dry roasted cumin, black pepper and a little salt to make a dressing for a salad of cooked beans or vegetables.
Dill is a pain-relieving analgesic. It relieves swelling, and is commonly used for poultices and sweat therapy in Ayurveda in combination with cedar. It can help stimulate and energize when needed and is a good anti-bacterial.
Dill is a good source of calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium. Use it with yogurt and chopped cucumber for a cooling dip in the summer. It’s great on fish, particularly salmon and trout. Vegetarians, add it to your favorite egg or potato salad recipe or simply use it as a garnish that can later be eaten as a digestive assist.
Oregano is a member of the mint family. Traditionally, it has been used to improve the appetite, stoke the digestion and reduce upset stomach. It is a good source of iron, manganese, Vitamins A and K and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which make this herb a general immune booster.
The warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor of oregano makes it a perfect addition to numerous Mexican and Mediterranean dishes.
Parsley, a relative to celery, is known for its diuretic properties. It contains an incredible amount of Vitamin K and C, as well as Vitamin A, folate, iron and a variety of other minerals in smaller percentages. It is the world’s most popular herb, but typically it is revered more as a garnish than for its flavor. This is a shame as it has tremendous medicinal benefit when eaten. It is associated with a reduced risk for conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and colon cancer, and according to some findings, it helps protect against rheumatoid arthritis.
Parsley can be used as an ingredient in salads and almost any dish to which you wish to add a little bitterness and vibrant green color. For more specifics on all of the great benefits of parsley, plus 4 recipes, visit https://www.jenreviews.com/parsley/
Rosemary was a staple in early apothecary gardens where it was valued as a remedy for tuberculosis, and smoked for coughs and flu or La gripe. Highly anti-septic, rosemary has been valued for its digestive properties for thousands of years and used to be sold as a hang-over cure as well as a remedy for jaundice, “liverishness”, gall stones, gout and arthritis.
Rosemary’s penetrating, pine-like taste blends well with a whole range of rich foods, like bread, lamb, duck and goose, which are easier for the diner to breakdown and absorb with a little assist from this warming digestive herb. Rosemary also goes well with fish dishes, pasta, beans and pulses, mushrooms and leeks.
Thyme is most famous as a powerful antiseptic for both internal and external use. It enhances the immune system’s fight against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. The main component of its volatile oil, thymol, has long been used in antiseptic creams, lotions, mouthwashes and toothpastes. Thyme helps to combat infections of the respiratory, digestive and genito-urinary systems, such as colds, coughs, flu, gastro-enteritis, candida, cystitis and salpingitis.
Thyme has a pungent aroma that works well in creamy dressings, meat dishes and soups and stews. It is very versatile.
Try using these herbs or others in your meals in honor of National Herbs and Spices Day.
Good luck and happy digesting!
The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concerns, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained Ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for an appointment. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.