Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices do more that just add flavor to a dish. Here is a quick guide below that you can use to pair herbs with what your body may be needing. Herbs and spices were the first medicine that we used and still participate in bringing us to optimal health. Mother nature, yet again, being all bad ass. 

Most herbs have been cultivated for their healing and culinary properties. For healing purposes you can find essential oils bottled in the vitamin section of natural foods stores.


Parsley: Bright, Light

health: aids in digestion, “chemoprotective”, excellent lung antioxident, anti-inflamatory, high in Vitamins A, C, and K

use: fresh, add to salads, great for garnish, gremolata, chimmichuri, Italian cooking

Sage: Bold, Warming

health: antioxident, anti-inflamartory, memory enhancer, can help reduce hot flashes

use: warming, fall dishes. great with pork. best when cooked. add at the end of cooking

*commonly burned to cleanse spaces of evil spirits. .

Rosemary: Piney, Strong

health: anti-oxident, estrogen blocker

use: great on potatoes, perfect with lamb. best cooked.

Thyme: Delicate, Versitle

 health: antiseptic, digestive aide, hangover cure, blood clot prevention

 use: most common herb used in French cooking. great to flavor stocks, potatoes

Basil: Abundant, Friendly

health: enhances mood, helps relieve headaches, kidney cleansing, freshens breath

use: raw. add to salads. finish tomato sauce. loves tomatoes and Italian cheese (parmesean and mozarella)

Lavender: Calming, Sweet

health: oil can stop bleeding, tea can relieve stress and congestion, dried lavender in a                                     pillow can help bring sleep.

 use: wonderful in butter cookies, teas, great combined with rosemary for a meat rub

 Oregano: Loud, Distinctive

health: antibacterial, antifungal, antioxident. good for teeth and gums

use: toward the end of cooking. one of the few herbs I will use a dried version of... lemon, feta, tomato...Medeterannean Food!

Cilantro (aka Coriander): Soapy, Cooling

health: Vitamin K, essential for blood coagulation and bone health. Vitamins A and B9 and Manganese

use: Best fresh. Great with spicy dishes, as it has a cooling element to off-set the heat. Very popular in Mexican, Southeast Asian and Indian cuisines.

Mint: Awake, Happy

health: soothing to the stomache, helps with allergies and athsma

use: dried for a tea, fresh addition to drinks, salads, fruit, great to just chew on leaves.

Bay Leaf: Bitter, Medicinal

health: antimicrobial (can fight staph), improved insulin function, aides in digestion

 use: great for long cooking in stews or stocks. remove before serving, they are not fun to eat!

*Storing Herbs-wrap in damp paper towel and put in ziplock bag or if using that day store like flowers, cut stems and submerged in water.


Cinnamon: Warming, Sweet

health: may help with memory, can lower blood sugar, antimicrobial, used to relieve cold symptoms in Chinese medicine

use: baking, five spice blend, holiday food, add to coffee

Nutmeg: Warming, Complex

health: antibacterial, anticonvulsant, memory improvement

use: a little goes a long way, baking, to finish some long cooking sauces (Bolognese), *too much nutmeg powder can cause hallucinations.

Cumin: Toasty, Earthy

health: aides digestion, thought to lower blood sugar

use: start with the whole seed. great to toast and then grind fresh. common in Middle Eastern, Indian food.

Coriander: Sweet, Exotic

health: lowers blood sugar, neuroprotective

use: common in curries, nice to round out spice mixes

Allspice: Jamaican pepper

health: “may help ease digestive problems, reduce pain, fight disease-causing pathogens and improve circulation” livestrong.com

use: beef, Jamaican cuisine, winter squash (think soup)

Mustard: Sharp, Low

health: cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory, increases metabolism “The addition of 3/5 tsp. of mustard seeds to a daily diet may increase the body's metabolic rate by 25 percent, which is comparable to burning an extra 45 calories an hour.” (livestrong)

use: Add to stocks and soups for extra flavor, can be strained out. Ground up can be added to spice rubs for protein.

***Much of the health information has been collected from www.livestrong.com It is a great resource for information on food and health.