When you think of cooking, what herbs come to mind? Rosemary, Basil, Oregano, Peppermint, and Sage? Perhaps Lavender, Thyme, and Tarragon make your list as well. We grow them for their medicinal properties or to use as flavouring in our favourite dishes. But there is much more to the world of herbs than just these everyday constituents. A wealth of lesser-known botanicals with incredible health benefits, interesting flavours, beautiful foliage, and intriguing aromas exist in the world, just waiting for the avid herbalist to cultivate and appreciate them. Here is a list of the most underrated healing herbs you need to know about:
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is one seriously under-rated herb. Parsley is so incredibly healthy that using it as nothing more than a pretty garnish then tossing it in the trash bin afterward is almost criminal! Parsley is one of the riches sources of vitamin K which is great for improving skin health and promotes faster healing of skin ailments. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin C and iron which strengthen the immune and circulatory systems. Parsley is powerfully antioxidant, helps to detoxify all of the body’s systems, and improves digestion and nutrient absorption.
While some consider this delightful little flower to be a weed and others use it only as fodder for livestock, red clover is also an extremely useful herb. Red clover blossom tea makes an effective herbal remedy for cold symptoms like cough and congestion. Red clover is also great for detoxifying the body and the blood.
Coriander seeds are known to stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin which results in more balanced blood-sugar. Coriander seeds have a similar effect on blood-lipid levels, aiding the liver in balancing and improving overall cholesterol levels. Coriander seeds are also naturally antibiotic against some food-borne pathogens.
As an herbal remedy, cardamom helps to protect the gastrointestinal tract, cleanse the blood of bad cholesterol, improve circulation, and even prevent the development some forms of cancer. Cardamom is antimicrobial, making it effective against periodontal disease and urinary tract infections. The herb is a natural anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic. Cardamom is also known to improve the health and function of the male sexual organs.
A close relative of peppermint, spearmint, and lemon balm, Catmint is best known for the stimulating effect which the herb has on felines. However, this “cat cannabis” has more to offer to us humans than it does to felines. Catmint tea can help to relieve cold symptoms like sore throat, sinus pressure, and headache. It is also effective for reduction of fever, as the herb induces sweating. Drink catmint tea as a digestive aid to help to calm gastrointestinal upset, reduce flatulence, and ease stomach aches. Catnip may also be applied to wounds to help stop bleeding or reduce swelling.
Feverfew is a powerful anti-inflammatory, able to reduce pain and swelling associated with arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and headaches. Feverfew is one of only a small handful of effective natural remedies for migraine headaches. The herb is also useful for reducing general pain and body aches, as well as for calming tension and anxiety.
These are 6 of the most under-rated healing herbs which might just feel right at home in your garden!