Culinary medicine is a concept that has been a practice for thousands of years. Cultural eating is a great way to see how different parts of the world took the medicinal plants that grew in their area and incorporated them into everyday cuisine. Over time I feel like we have forgotten the reasons why these culinary herbs and spices were so prized by the ancient world. In this article we will cover 5 herbs in a culture and see how they work together.
Okay, we all like to think of pasta, cheese, bread and wine when someone says Italian food but what about the flavors behind all the dishes that we love? Do we even know why basil, oregano, thyme, onion and garlic are part of this cultures cuisine? Let’s explore that right now.
It’s not hard at all to guess why basil is a staple for Italians. It is a natural pain reliever. Studies are coming out now that suggest that Basil essential oil rubbed on the skin relieves pain. Well it does the same thing when you eat it too, especially in high concentrations, for instance in pesto. It is a natural anti-inflammatory that soothes the body and helps repair damage from stress. Basil is rich in Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting. Other vitamins and minerals in basil include iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. This food plant works so well in Italian food we couldn’t imagine some dishes without, nor would we want to.
The list of benefits Oregano has on the body continues to grow as scientists delve deeper into this influential little plant. First off it contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and potassium. That alone is impressive but it is also great for gastrointestinal disorders, congestion in the lungs or even asthma and has been used in treating the imbalance of Candida because of its powerful effect on the GI tract. Many people prefer using this medicinally as oil because it is highly concentrated. This is a wonderful way to make use of the benefits of Oregano.
In an earlier article on cultivating tea we talked extensively about the benefits of Thyme. Thyme is a mucous eraser. It busts through thick congestion like a wrecking crew. Thyme is an excellent herb for the lungs, as well as improving digestion of fatty foods. This humble herb has been used for bronchitis, whooping cough, sore throat, colic, arthritis, upset stomach, stomach pain (gastritis), diarrhea, bed wetting, intestinal gas (flatulence), parasitic worm infections and skin disorders. It is a natural diuretic and appetite stimulant.
Onions are a food right? Like we will be covering in this food series on the blog there are A LOT of foods that act like medicine. Consuming onions supplies your body with soluble fiber and flavonoids, antioxidant compounds that fight free radicals. These flavonoids assist in thinning your blood, decreasing inflammation and fighting cancer. The chromium in onions assists in regulating blood sugar. The sulfur in onions helps lower blood sugar by triggering increased insulin production. We could go on and on about the incredible properties that onions have to offer us.
This natural antibiotic is one of the oldest used plants in the known world. Globally, Garlic is renowned for its ability to knock out an infection in the body, for reversing disease, killing cancer, stopping hair loss, lowering cholesterol and contains phosphorus. Garlic when taken during a cold will work its magic very quickly by helping the immune system to fight whatever infection is plaguing it. In World War I medical surgeons used the health benefits of garlic juice as an antiseptic for treating war wounds. As you can see there are many reasons that adding more garlic to your meals is a good idea indeed.
So, after reading about the benefits of these 5 simple herbs that we tend to overlook it’s really no wonder at all why Italians pair them with cheese, meat, bread and tomatoes. They break up mucous, clear the lungs, clean out the intestines, improve digestion and fight infection. What a crew! Aren’t we lucky then to have access to them? Most kitchens you go into will have these 5 ingredients you can add to whatever you are eating. Even better… a broth made from them is not only delicious but incredibly healing when you need strength, cleansing, vitamins, minerals and the power to fight a cold.
I hope this was informative and useful for you. We have been working really hard in the store to steer people back to holistic practices of living through information that reminds all of us that the simplest things in life are the best. We get a lot of inquiries about substances that are toxic, dangerous and even have side effects like death! We would never recommend them to anyone and it is frightening to see that people are leaning towards these potentially dangerous treatments when there are many alternatives that have been proven, some for over 5000 years for their effectiveness on the body and what ails us. We want to guide people back to them. They really do work and we have access to these powerful remedies for a fraction of the cost as some of these hyped “new” plant based products that do not have time and experience behind them to be proven safe and effective.
Please subscribe on the homepage for updates and monthly newsletters. Get the news first right in your inbox!