In the Pacific Northwest, we tend to have a more mild summer than elsewhere in the country and it also stays warmer further into our Fall season. This means the beautiful fresh herbs we see everywhere are flowering later in the summer and available well into the start of Fall! For this Cook Together live class, we cook with sage, cilantro, basil and marjoram!
Herbs have been used medicinally for thousands of years and for much of our history herbal medicine was our only medicine. still today 25% of the worlds prescription drugs are made from plants.
But after years of over medicating, facing resistant bacteria in the microbiome and treating the illness rather than the root of the problem, people are returning again to utilizing nature as medicine in the form of herbs.,
Culinary herbs which we cook with do not carry the same medicinal value as botanical herbs made into tinctures and used medicinally, but nevertheless they still have highly valuable health benefits.
Since ancient times marjoram has been considered a symbol of love. According to Greek mythology Aphroditie goddess of love was said to bring marjoram to the earth as a symbol of her beauty! Marjoram is a cousin of oregano and oregano is an herb with powerful antimicrobial properties.
As marjoram is somewhat milder and less potent than it’s cousin oregano, it can be used in larger quantities without overpowering or spoiling a dish. Marjoram is rich in a number of minerals and is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium. It also contains very good amounts of Vitamins A and C. In its essential oil form, marjoram is known to reduce pain, promote digestion and improve heart health.
Basil is a very fragrant herb and in ancient cultures thought to be very sacred. In india was considered an icon of hospitality and in Italy another symbol of love. The oils in basil are highly volatile and best added toward the end of the cooking process. Basil is an excellent source of vitamin K and manganese; copper, vitamin A and vitamin C; calcium, iron, folate, magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Basil is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory (because of those omega 3’s) and good for cardio vascular health. It’s easy to grow and great to snip leaves off the plant and make pesto and salads and more!
Sage was once considered a medicinal cure-all. The ancients considered it a very sacred plant. It was often burned in religious ceremonies to chase away evil spirits and still used today in the form of smudge sticks to clear away inharmonious or negative energy. Sage has an earthy, sweet-yet-savory flavor that makes it the perfect addition to heavy, robust dishes like sausage, stuffing, cured meats, and creamy pasta dishes.
Sage contains large amounts of vitamin K and B vitamins, and is also rich in vitamin A, #iron, #calcium, #magnesium, #manganese, vitamin C, vitamin E, and #riboflavin, and is packed with #antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory so is used to treat #inflammatory conditions like #arthritis. Due to the antioxidants and #antibacterial properties it can boost the immune system and rid the body of harmful free radicals.
It can also be used topically to improve the health and appearance of skin, hair, and nails.
Cilantro is definitely an herb that people have a love/hate relationship with. Some people are actually hard-wired genetically to have an aversion to cilantro. This aversion affects around 4-14% of the population and to these folks cilantro tastes like soap. Cilantro is anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, cancer protective and is a natural #chelator so can #detoxify lead and other heavy metals such as Hg.
Go easy if you are using cilantro therapeutically; without the right binders on board to absorb the toxins that are mobilized from the cells, one can experience some pretty nasty detox symptoms like moodiness, headaches and joint pain.
This is not likely to happen unless you are eating a big handful on a salad every day, but a little as a garnish most days wont likely have that affect and is a good way to help eliminate some of the bio-accumulation of heavy metals that all of us have likely been exposed to just from living in the modern world. Cilantro is best eaten raw or added at the very end of the cooking process and also is easy to grow in planter boxes or in the window sill.