Culinary Herbs and their Remarkable Health Benefits

13 August 2016

How much do you know about the herbs you use in the kitchen daily? Herbs have the ability to turn bland and uninteresting meals to gourmet and delicious dishes. In addition, herbs have medicinal value that when used well it eases pains,aches and also protects against diseases.

As part of Amaica’s healthy eating philosophy, herbs are part and parcel of our culinary process, we simply cannot do without them, these are such as thyme, garlic, basil, rosemary, ginger and mint among others.

Let’s look at a number of herbs and learn more about them.


Basil is a healthy herb that has been credited with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil is also known for increased cardiovascular health, decreased blood sugar in diabetes cases and swelling from arthritis. If you have asthma or suffer from chronic respiratory infections, the anti-inflammatory properties of basil can really help you.

How to Use: Basil can pretty much be used in anything. Add a few leaves into any pasta sauce, soup, or curry for a burst of flavor. Incorporate some into an omelet or layer it with tomato and fresh mozzarella for a creamy, fresh, Caprese Salad. If you’re feeling up to it, try making your own fresh pesto with plenty of basil for a full, robust flavor and equally potent health benefits.


Whether or not it’s a coincidence, whoever connoted sage with wisdom could have been on to something. Sage tea can be used for nausea and other stomach issues, but new research shows that sage really shines when it comes to neural health. It has always had a reputation for healing things such as the plague, however research suggests it can improve brain function, memory, and cognition- especially for those with Alzheimer’s. If someone has Alzheimer’s, their brain has a deficit of acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter. Sage stops the breaking down of acetylcholine, and in studies has shown to produce significant improvements in brain function of Alzheimer’s patients.

In healthy people however, other studies have shown memory improvement no matter the age. So if you find you need just a little extra memory boost before your next exam, maybe try adding a little sage to your diet.

How to Use: Sage goes very well in different stuffing, which is why it’s fairly common during thanksgiving. However, if you really want the benefits, try to eat it more than once a year. Sage pairs very well with squashes and walnuts, as well as enhancing a baked chicken or fish. If you’re looking for something a little fancier, try buying or making your own sage butter to use for different recipes.


If you haven’t incorporated thyme into your diet, then it’s about time you do so. Thyme has an impressive resume. People use it to treat cough, sore throats, arthritis, diarrhea, yeast infections, parasites, types of cancer, bronchitis, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and is especially high in iron. An essential compound of thyme is thymol, which can destroy harmful bacteria and makes thyme a great disinfectant. If you are sick of constantly seeing a dermatologist and buying expensive acne medications, thyme may be exactly what you’re looking for. Its antibacterial properties make it a better pimple popper than most anti-acne products.

How to Use: If you’re looking to control your high blood pressure or cholesterol, substituting thyme for salt will surely do the trick. If you have a frog in your throat or a cold try making a thyme tea. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper way to clear skin, try making a tincture. Steep thyme in alcohol for days or even weeks and you will have the cheapest acne remedy you can find.


Capsaicin is the main ingredient in hot sauce, cayenne, and other chilies that are responsible for its amazing health benefits. It has great anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that has made it an active ingredient in over-the-counter pain creams. Capsaicin also reduces your appetite and bolsters your metabolism-making it a key ingredient if you’re trying to lose some weight.

By stimulating circulation and sweating, it also is great for your next total body detox. And, just like most of the other spices in this list, animal studies have shown that capsaicin can combat certain types of cancer such as lung and liver cancers. No matter what way you’re trying to whip your body into shape, cayenne will help do the trick

How to Use: You don’t need hot sauce in your bag, but you could stand to add a dash in any savory meat or vegetable dish. Throw in some cayenne powder into popcorn to give it a little extra pop, or add some to pasta sauce for a fiery kick. Be warned though, the more you get used to the spice the more you have to use to get the beneficial effects. If cayenne is too tame for you go with another pepper that has capsaicin like a hot habeñero. If you aren’t used to the spice, no worries! Try a pimento or other non-spicy pepper that can give you similar effects.


You’ve probably had rosemary with lamb or chicken, but you most likely didn’t know that it is a great source of calcium, vitamin B6 and iron. Some of the explored health benefits of rosemary have been its abundant antioxidants and anti-inflammatory chemicals that help the immune system and blood circulation.

Rosemary also has some extremely important active ingredients such as carnosic acid that has shown to protect against neural degeneration, especially in the hippocampus. Your hippocampus is responsible for consolidating short term memory into long term memory, and is often the first place to get hit with degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Recent studies in oncology have also shown that it seems to have anti-inflammatory properties and slows propagation of leukemia and breast cancer cells. All in all, rosemary is one of the most potent herbs you could possibly have in your kitchen- and costs next to nothing compared to modern medicine.

How to use: Using it as a lamb or chicken rub for dinner is all well and good (especially if you combine it with a little thyme), but try branching out into fish, soups, and sauces. Also, infusing it in olive oil can be a great way to increase your usage and add a little extra flavor to all your savory dishes. Boiling water with rosemary can also serve as a home-made antiseptic. However, if you are feeling really adventurous, try incorporating rosemary into soap. It can relieve nasal congestion and fight aging by stimulating capillaries beneath the skin.
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