The health benefits associated with herbs have been documented for more than 5000 years, and there is evidence that they may have been used for medicinal purposes for 60,000 years. Whilst we continue to add them to recipes, it’s more for flavour these days than for our health, but either way, we’re still reaping the rewards, and we thought it might be helpful to know exactly what our favourite varieties are doing for us, so here are some of the more popular herbs and their benefits:
Basil: Whilst there are many varieties of Basil that have individual properties, overall, this plant can promote digestion, healthy skin, liver and mental health, regulate blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and help prevent heart disease and cancer and calm fever thanks to a number of essential oils and antioxidants
Bay: Bay leaves, too, are great for our hearts and digestion but also blood pressure and diabetes, and like Basil, they have anti-cancer properties and can detoxify the body, protecting it from bacterial infections, slowing the aging process, speeding wound healing and managing diabetes. Some benefits are derived from dry leaves, whereas others come from extracting the oil
Chive: Once again, the benefits of chives are similar to the herbs above, but they can help promote good skin and healthy hair, improve vision, act as a detoxifying agent and help promote health bones too. Boosting our immune systems is quite possibly a priority at the moment, and that’s further improved by a decent night’s sleep, and chives can help with both
Coriander: This fragrant herb offers the same benefits as its predecessors and a few more. Although not a cure, coriander can be used in the treatment of mouth ulcers and anaemia, menstrual and skin disorders and conjunctivitis
Lavender: With its own array of essential oils and antiseptic properties, Lavender is well-known for its health benefits, from assisting sleep disorders to treating sunburn, but the same oils can help treat acne and headaches, and have been effective in the treatment of migraines
Marjoram: Equalling the healing properties of the herbs already mentioned, marjoram can be a great support for women’s health, regulating menstruation, relieving associated pain and treating symptoms of menopause. It has been used to help nursing mothers produce more milk and assist sufferers of polycystic ovarian syndrome
Mint: There seem to be many amazing health benefits derived from using mint including weight loss and relief from nausea, depression, fatigue and headaches. It has also used in the treatment of asthma and memory loss, and being a calming herb, it may help regulate muscle relaxation and soothe an upset stomach or indigestion
Oregano: This Mediterranean herb doesn’t disappoint either; it also contains antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which can help with depression, diabetes and digestion, improve heart health and our immunity to chronic diseases, strengthen bones and boost energy levels
Parsley: Continuing the good work of its various peers, the vitamin C in Parsley goes one step further by creating collagen and ironing out fine lines and wrinkles. Not only that, it can be used to freshen breath particularly after consuming onions or garlic
Rosemary: Another warrior in the fight against several disorders, rosemary oil has also been used to promote hair growth, prevent baldness, slow greying and treat dandruff; it has also been shown to assist sufferers of alopecia, reduce liver damage and limit weight gain
Sage: Sage can also be used to treat the common disorders listed above, but it has been used to treat the decline in memory associated with Alzheimer’s, and its mood-enhancing qualities may impact on symptoms associated with dementia. Added to that, it may help combat obesity, and has been shown to ease hot flushed associated with menopause
Thyme: Thyme continues the good work and can also help improve circulation and is rather effective in providing quick relief from cramp and muscle spasms. Its antibacterial properties help maintain oral health, fighting infections and combatting bad breath
Dried or fresh, herbs are packed with vitamins and minerals and can easily be incorporated into your diet, and with the advantages listed, it seems they’re essential to our wellbeing. We have all your favourite herbs here at Brookside Garden Centre throughout the spring and summer – the best time to plant them outside – but if you’re looking to get started sooner, you can sow seeds in pots and keep the seedlings indoors. Drop by and take a look at our seed ranges, and if you’re unsure about how to cultivate your herbs, ask one of our experts.
Which ones are you going to try, and how are you going to use them?
Please note that this post is for information only, and the suggestions are not intended to replace any medication or are not considered definitive cures for any ailments, illness or disease. Please consult your doctor if you are unwell.