Mother Nature is the gift that keeps on giving. Everything on this planet serves a purpose, right from the humble ant, to the weeds in your garden, to your pet cat. An integral and huge part of the gifts of nature are unquestionably plants. And not a single one grows without purpose. Some bear fruit, others vegetables, and yet others are fodder in the food chain. And others are our beloved herbs. Herbs are used to flavour foods, heal a host of diseases and in spiritual practices. While most of us are well acquainted with herbs such as turmeric, aloe vera, mint, and chamomile, there is a range of fairly unknown herbs that not only provide bursts of flavour on the palette but hide away many health benefits essential to our wellbeing.
This herb belongs to the carrot family along with dill, parsley and fennel. It is mostly used in French cooking. Its flavour is similar to that of licorice and is usually preferred with salads, soups and poultry. However, this is not the only purpose served by Chervil. It is extremely high in iron, calcium as well as potassium content, lowers bad cholesterol, and regulates blood pressure. In various folk medicine, Chervil was used as an eyewash to refresh the eyes. It also strengthens the immune system.
This herb is more commonly known as starflower and is notable for its vibrant purple flower. It has several medicinal properties and is rich in gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which is an omega-6 acid that can reduce inflammation. In traditional medicine Borage was used to dilate blood vessels, as a sedative and to treat seizures. In modern day, different parts of the plant are used for various other benefits. Tea is made from dried leaves, oil is made from the seeds for the skin and hair. Borage tastes slightly like cucumber and is used is salads for consumption.
Also known as sweet marjoram, this herb is generally grown in the Mediterranean, North African and West Asian regions of the world. This herb belongs to the mint family with a flavour similar to oregano, just slightly milder. Dried or fresh leaves of the marjoram plant are used to make teas which are known to aid in digestion, alleviate infection and reduce menstruation cramps. Regular consumption of marjoram can help in the reduction of free radicals that cause cell damage as it is an anti-inflammatory. The essential oil made from this herb can help to treat fungal infections. All in all, a great herb to try.