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Originally published December 5 2010

Common herbs are good for the table and excellent for health

by Cindy Jones-Shoeman

(NaturalNews) It is pretty easy to get into the habit of simply thinking of things like herbs, spices, and seasonings as simply additions to food to make them taste good. But herbs have also been used medicinally for centuries, long before the advent of "modern medicine," and for good reason. Many herbs have qualities that make them desirable to have in anyone's home. Here are just a few that should be in everyone's home and used often:

Sage (salvia officinalis), a savory, woody, earthy herb is a wonderful addition to many a meal, but it has multiple medicinal properties as well. It is thought to strengthen memory and to help in dealing with stress. As a tea, it is also thought to help with a sore throat or other oral infections or problems. It is also valued for its antioxidant properties.

Fortunately, sage is easy to grow. It is a perennial plant, so it will continue to grow and flourish year after year. During colder weather, sage leaves can be gathered and dried.

Garlic (Allium sativum), is a strong, pungent herb long associated with Italian food and vampire lore, but it is actually used in world cuisine, from Asian to Western dishes. Medicinally, garlic is a strong antioxidant, but it is also known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, and it has been hailed as "heart smart." It may also be helpful in preventing cancer.

Garlic is easy to grow in both warm and colder climates. While garlic can be grown from seeds, it's easier to grow it from cloves. It can also be stored for long periods of time.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale), a sweet-smelling herb, is frequently associated with Asian cuisine, but this root does more than flavor a meal. It's used medicinally for a variety of ailments, from nausea and vomiting to heartburn and gas relief. It's also believed to be beneficial for a variety of skin problems, from treating burns to psoriasis.

Ginger is easy to grow in warm regions, but it's recommended for growing in a pot and moving indoors during the winter in colder climates.

These are just three herbs that are beneficial not only to include in one's diet for flavor as often as possible, but also to use in other ways. Other herbs known for their medicinal qualities include basil, parsley, cinnamon, rosemary, turmeric, and oregano, among dozens of others. In this age of Western medicine where pills are perceived as cure-alls, it makes more sense to include a variety of herbs in one's diet to prevent problems before they even occur.


About the author

Cindy Jones-Shoeman is the author of Last Sunset and a Feature Writer for Academic Writing at Suite101.
Some of Cindy's interests include environmental issues, vegetarian and sustainable lifestyles, music, and reading.

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