Herbs: More Than Just A Garnish

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Posted by Suganya


Herbs have been sought after for their colour, texture and flavour from time unknown. Snipped as garnish, they brighten even the simplest of foods. But herbs are more than just a garnish. Understanding the power of these plants, Indian Ayurvedha, ancient Chinese and Greek medicine have ingeniously used them as medicines for centuries.

Knowingly or unknowingly, common herbs that we use in our everyday cooking have many beneficial properties. Given below are some of the medicinal properties of these unassuming plants.

Basil - Aids digestion. Used to treat digestive ailments, headaches and anxiety. Basil oil has anti-oxidant properties.

Bay - Heals rheumatism, relieves flatulence. Bay oil is used externally for bruises, sprains and skin rashes. Has bactericidal and fungicidal properties.

Cardamom - Digestive aid and stimulant.

Cayenne Pepper - Used for treating sore throat, stomach aches and cramps.

Cinnamon - Has antiseptic and antioxidant properties. Aids digestion and relieves vomiting.

Cloves - Temporary toothache analgesic. Diluted clove oil is used on wounds, cuts and infections for its antiseptic properties.

Coriander - Calms irritating effects on the stomach that certain medicines produce. Seeds soothe upset stomach and aids digestion.


Fennel - A carminative and a mild stimulant. Seeds are used to make ‘gripe water’, which relieves flatulence in babies.

Garlic - Used as a treatment for intestinal worms and parasites. Allicin, the component that gives the strong odor, inhibits various bacteria, fungi and yeast. Has beneficial effects in the treatment of high blood pressure and gastric cancer.

Ginger - Treats indigestion and motion sickness.

Horseradish - A diuretic, used to treat certain kidney conditions.

Lavender - Leaves repel insects. Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Aids sleep and relaxation.

Mint - Calms upset stomach and menstrual cramps. Excellent carminative and gastric stimulant. The menthol in peppermint stimulates the flow of bile to the stomach and hence digestion.

Oregano - Leaf infusions are used to treat indigestion, cough, headache and to promote menstruation. Oregano oil is used as a toothache remedy.

Parsley, Chopped

Parsley - A good source of vitamins A, B, C, E, K, calcium and iron.

Rosemary - Stimulates circulation of blood, increasing memory and concentration. Eases migraines and headaches. Rosemary oil is applied externally on sores, bruises and wounds.

Sage - Sage oil has astringent, antiseptic and irritant properties; hence used for treating sore throats, mouth sores and mouth ulcers.

Thyme - Has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Used in cough medicines and mouthwashes. Soothes gastrointestinal discomforts.
Mint Tea

Herbs have other uses in a household.
  • Aromatic herb infused oils can be prepared at home effortlessly.
  • Herbal teas, known as tisanes, can provide a helpful supplement to the daily diet.
  • Treasured for their fragrance, herbs like lavender, lemon verbena and rosemary are used in room sprays, potpourri and fabric fresheners.
  • A warm bath with herbs like lavender, chamomile, mint and rosemary has soothing effects.
  • Wild animals turn to herbs if they are feeling unwell. Likewise, domesticated animals can also be benefited from herbs for simple ailments.
Rosemary - Infused Oil

So next time you look at a herb, take a moment to appreciate its goodness. There is more to it than meets the eye.
Note: This post is intended as a reference only. Consult with your physician before attempting self-treatment.

Reference: Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

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This Post was written by Suganya from Tasty Palettes.


A great overview! I'm now thinking about the herbs in my garden in a different way. Thank you.

May 14, 2008 at 2:47:00 PM GMT+2  

I have a little herb guide that I bought years ago. This article brought up many of the points I had read there but had slipped my mind.

Sug, I really enjoyed this article and the lovely pictures.

Meeta K. Wolff said...
May 14, 2008 at 9:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Great information - some of it I already was aware of but there was alot of learning there for me too. Sometimes when the body craves these herbs in our food, it's really telling us something is missing or out of sync.

giz said...
May 15, 2008 at 7:06:00 AM GMT+2  

lovely pictures suganya..very beautiful..

Srivalli said...
May 15, 2008 at 10:02:00 AM GMT+2  

Lovely post Sug, and even lovelier pictures :-)

sunita said...
May 15, 2008 at 11:05:00 AM GMT+2  

Nice overview and lovely photos!

Anonymous said...
May 15, 2008 at 4:24:00 PM GMT+2  

very informative post. thanks.

bee said...
May 16, 2008 at 2:32:00 AM GMT+2  

Lydia, Herbs don't look the same to me anymore. I learnt a lot while researching for this article.

Meeta, Thank 'you' for inviting me to DT :)

Giz, Natural remedy and no strange terms on the label.

Thank you, Sri.

Sunita, I clicked whatever I had on hand :D

Thank you, Ann.

You are welcome, Bee.

Suganya said...
May 16, 2008 at 4:25:00 AM GMT+2  

mesmerizing pics and very informative post..

Rachel said...
May 16, 2008 at 5:54:00 PM GMT+2  

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