Herbs as our Foods and our Supplements


Herbs in a culinary sense typically refer to the leafy parts of plants, but in the context of herbalism, “herbs” encompass leaves, berries, roots, outer and inner barks, rhizomes, twigs, flowers, seeds, mushrooms, and fruits.  Herbs support a wide scope of wellness for humans, and can reestablish balance through the action of their many chemical constituents, vitamins, minerals, and energetic qualities. Herbalism is a practice found in every culture worldwide that uses plants to help people as an effective part of a holistic approach to mind-body-spirit care.

Wherever there are people, there are herbal traditions-each of them blossoming independently around the globe, each uniquely influenced the indigenous plants and climate of their own bioregions as well as cultural traditions and family perspectives.  It is noteworthy to say that the first written records of herbal medicine appear on Sumerian clay tablets dated over 5,000 years old, and archaeological evidence suggests that medicinal plants were used as far back as 60,000 years ago.

Did you know that a significant percentage of our genes are shared with plants?  Thus, indicating that we’ve evolved together over eons.  Plants and herbs have sustained the health and well being of humankind for many tens of thousand of years.  Plants are our food, medicine, shelter, clothing, jewelry, and our creative inspiration.  We are their caretakers and cultivators.  Together we are part of the beautiful and mysterious cycle of life.

There are many different herbs to help support digestion, immunity, addressing fungal, bacterial, or viral infections, bed wetting, angina, burns, etc. Many herbs have a crossover effect, meaning they help aid in more than one area of the body.  For example, the plant Rosemary is a wonderful anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, astringent, circulatory stimulant and nervine.  Ginger is an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, circulatory stimulant, expectorant, carminative (eases gas and cramping), and a diaphoretic (aiding body in elimination of waste).  It is one of the best herbs known for nausea. They both help with some of the same symptoms, but, for example, upon asking more questions in regards to digestion, you may pick one over the other.

Along with hands-on healing, using plants to nourish the body and support healing was one of humanity’s first form of medicine.  Al plants synthesize and use chemical compounds to promote growth, protect themselves from insects, attract pollinators, heal themselves, and communicate.  They constantly manufacture and emit chemical compounds that interact with their plant communities and with those that consume.

Many herbs have been used successfully for centuries to treat a multitude of health problems.  Other herbs offer benefits in the context of conventional, modern medical treatment.  Herbs may extend the effects of medication, enabling lower dosages.  However, changes in your medications should always be under the supervision o f the prescribing doctor.  In some cases, herbs may gradually replace manufactured medicine altogether.  As herbs and conventional treatments gradually relieve symptoms and their causes, complementary healing techniques may accelerate recover.  Diet, nutritional supplements, massage, meditation, exercise and other modalities can round out a treatment plan.  When you prepare your next meal, add some flavor and great health by adding a new herb or spice.

“Let Thy Food Be Thy Medicine, and Thy Medicine Be Thy Food”. 

Hippocrates –The father of medicine  460 BC –370 BC

RECIPE- Fresh Mediterranean Chopped Herbs and Greens Salad

Prep time: 10 minutes Makes 3-4 servings Ingredients:

4 cups fresh arugula greens, chopped

½ cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped

½ cup fresh basil leaves, chopped

½ cup fresh dill leaves, chopped

¼ cup fresh red onion, chopped

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

For the Dressing: 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or any combination of dried basil, parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and marjoram)

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: 1. Chop all ingredients (arugula greens, parsley, basil, dill, red onion, tomatoes) and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix greens and vegetables together. 2. In a smaller bowl, combine extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, Italian seasoning, salt and black pepper. Mix well. 3. Pour dressing over greens and vegetables and mix well to coat. 4. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Optional: Add grilled/baked chicken or fish, olives, Parmesan cheese and different vegetables for a more filling dish.