Pesto is good, but that’s not the only thing you can do with basil. Often considered the “King of Herbs,” basil has about 160 varieties and just as many uses. In the kitchen, basil is the main ingredient for fragrant pesto and is usually added to dishes to enhance their flavor. You can make some herb butter with basil for steaks and seared dishes. It can also be added to salads.
Outside the kitchen or pantry, basil is used for a lot of medicinal purposes. It can be steeped and taken as tea to relieve indigestion. You can use the leaves in a steam inhalation to relieve nasal congestion and colds.
Basil also contains a lot of essential oils like camphor, which can be used topically to treat sore muscles and skin problems like itching and irritation. The essential oil also contains citral and anethole, aroma compounds that have excellent antimicrobial properties. These are great for treating bacterial and fungal infections.
Basil is very easy to grow and is ideal for container gardening. You can grow it indoors, so long as it gets a lot of sun. Basil plants hate the cold and will shrivel and die when left outdoors in the colder months.
Parsley is often taken for granted; it’s often used as a garnish on fancy dishes or as toppings on rice, mashed potato, or soup. But don’t count it out just yet.
This herb is more than food decor; it contains a significant amount of flavonoids and antioxidants that are helpful in cell repair and regeneration. It has anti-inflammatory properties so it’s good for people who are suffering from joint pain. Parsley is also rich in Vitamin C, which is good for your immune system, and Vitamin K, which is essential in bone growth and development as well as blood clotting.
And to top all that off, it contains a lot of lutein, beta-carotene, and Vitamin A, which are helpful in maintaining good eyesight.
Parsley is often taken as tea or made into a tincture. Its leaves and roots have also been used in traditional herbal medicine for centuries now.
Another popular herb with lots of flavor, oregano is used in many Italian and tomato-based dishes. It also has a very potent essential oil, which is made up of more than 60 different compounds. This essential oil has antibacterial, antioxidant, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.
In other words, it can treat bacterial and fungal infections, reduce swelling, and help in cell regeneration. Since it is quite potent, the essential oil is diluted first before use. Oregano also improves the immune system and aids in digestion. Like most herbs, it can be consumed as a tea.
Mint’s cool aftertaste can be attributed to large amounts of menthol. This cool aftertaste is the reason why it’s usually used to complement sweet teas, desserts, and salads. But mint doesn’t just keep things fresh; it also has a lot of medicinal uses. Mint tea can be used to ease stomachache, chest pains, and headaches.
Got a bad sunburn from a day in the sun? Use some mint to soothe it.
If you’ve got a bug or pest problem, look no further than your mint plant. It is a natural insect repellent that can ward off fleas and flies. It is also a natural deodorizer.
Mint is very easy to grow. In fact, you might want to keep it in a pot or container by itself as it can spread pretty quickly. You can grow it from cuttings and plant it in nice, moist soil. You can harvest the leaves at any time; simply pluck them and add them to your sweet tea or salad, or simply pop them in your mouth for fresher breath. The leaves can also be stored in plastic bags for later use.
The smell and taste of sage remind us of many holiday dinners. But don’t limit your sage to your Thanksgiving turkey. This common herb can be made into a tea that’s awesome for treating sore throats, coughs, and hoarseness. It’s also got great anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that are useful in combating swelling and infections.
What sets sage apart from its herbal cousins is that it doesn’t only treat wounds; it also improves brain function and concentration. Early studies are looking at tapping this property to fight dementia and other brain disorders. This flavorful herb contains a lot of Vitamin K, which is essential for blood clotting and bone function.
Sage is a hardy plant. While it likes well-draining soil and lots of sun, it can also tolerate cold weather.
Herbs are an asset to any survival garden. Aside from making our food taste so much better, they also have a lot of medicinal properties that can treat a lot of common aches and pains. Plus, you really don’t need acres of land to grow them. Most herbs thrive in small containers, and can even be grown indoors.