Healthy Living A to Z: H is for Herbs

Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. 1334 copy in A...
Dioscorides’ Materia Medica, c. 1334 copy in Arabic, describes medicinal features of cumin and dill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know the difference between and an herb and a spice? Herbs are leaves and flowers of plants and include basil, rosemary, parsley, thyme, and varieties of mint among others. Spices are seeds, roots, stems or barks of plants and include things like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. They are often used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

One of my favorite uses for herbs is cooking. Two of my favorites are basil and rosemary. Herbs are a good way to increase flavor while reducing the use of salt.

Herbs also have medicinal properties. Herbal medicine (also known as “herbalism”) is the study and use of medicinal properties of plants and may date to before recorded history. The use of plants as medicine has led to the development of many of our modern drugs.

Of course you should always consult your health care provider before using medicinal herbs but be prepared for him or her to not be familiar with herbs or their interactions with drugs. You might want to find some educational materials to direct them to for more information.

5 thoughts on “Healthy Living A to Z: H is for Herbs”

    1. Thank you for the comment! I agree. I use a lot of cinnamon. It’s great with cayenne pepper in savory dishes. I keep trying to figure out more ways to work in turmeric but all I can think of is the time I used it in my corn relish and dyed a part of my counter top, my ladle, funnel and a kitchen towel a nice deep golden yellow. It does not wash out. 🙂 Thinking about a series on individual herbs and spices for next year.

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