cooking with herbsCredit: http://drshamilsmartliving.blogspot.com/2011/06/start-cooking-with-herbs.html

Basil

Basil is great for flavoring sauces, soups, salad, stir fry vegetables, or sprinkled lightly on pizza.  It is better to use fresh basil when cooking.  Basil is also known for soothing and sedative abilities and to be calming for the nervous and digestive system.  It is also believed to be good for migraines, insect bites, anti inflammatory, cold and flu, and other illnesses.  Basil also contains iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.  Basil can be bought dried or fresh.  Fresh basil should be wrapped in a damp paper towel and refrigerated, and will last for a few days. 

Bay Leaves

Bay leaves are great in soups, stews, meat, seafood, and with vegetables.  They help with high blood sugar, migraines, infections, colic, and ulcers.   They also contain vitamin C, A, folic acid, copper, potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium.  Bay leaves are not actually eaten, just used to flavor dishes.

Chives

Chives are best known for adding a bit of flavor to potatoes.  But it can be used to spice up many meals.  Chives contain vitamins A, C, B1, B2, and also calcium, phosphorous, and iron.  It is also beneficial to the respiratory system, aid in digestion, stimulate appetite, and may reduce prostate cancer, obesity, and fluid retention.  Chives are great sprinkled over sandwiches, salads, scrambled eggs, soups, or stew.  It can also be mixed with cottage cheese, mayonnaise, sandwich spreads, yogurt, and hamburgers.  Fresh chives are best to use when cooking.  As with most herbs, a little goes a long way..so be sure to taste test as you go. 

cilantro(91883)Credit: wikipedia

Cilantro

Cilantro is a strong flavored herb and used in salsa, fish, chicken, pinto beans, or vegetables.  It is also used to eliminate toxins from the body, aid the digestive system, anti inflammatory abilities, cholesterol, urinary tract infections, and mood swings.  Cilantro contains iron, magnesium, and vitamin C.  It can be purchased fresh or dried.  Store fresh cilantro in the refrigerator.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is one of the tastiest herbs and used in wine and other beverages, sprinkled on breads, biscuits, cereals, or desserts, and used in marinades.  Cinnamon is soothing to the stomach, and also helps with colds, congestion, fever, infections, blood circulation, digestion, arthritis, muscle pain, anxiety and depression, nausea, freshens breath, prevents blood clots, and regulates blood sugar.  It can be bought in stick form or ground, with ground being the strongest flavor.  Stays fresh in a glass jar for about six months.  Cinnamon contains vitamin C, K, iron, and fiber.

Dill

Dill is easy to grow and is used to flavor fish, vegetables, yogurt, and used in bread.  Health benefits include easing digestion, insomnia, hiccups, diarrhea, menstrual disorders, respiratory problems, oral care, and cancer.  Dill contains vitamin A, C, copper, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium.  It can be bought in small jars in dried form.  You can also buy small packets of fresh dill, which will need to be refrigerated but only lasts for two days.

Mint

Mint is great to use in non alcoholic beverages, yogurt, vegetables, sugar cookies, grains, and fruit.  It is a natural breath freshener, aids in digestion, relieves nausea and headaches, respiratory disorders, cough, asthma, skin care, and cancer.  Mint contains vitamin A, C, and B2.  Peppermint and spearmint are most used.  It can be bought fresh or dried.  Fresh mint should be refrigerated and if stems are placed in water, will stay good for a week if water is changed every couple of days.

oregano(91884)Credit: wikipedia

Oregano

Oregano is a favorite herb than can be sprinkled on pizza, italian dishes, fries, omelets, salads, or beans.  It is said to aid in digestion, release mucous from lungs, relieve migraines and insomnia, and acts as a antioxidant.  Oregano contains iron, vitamin A, C, and K, and calcium.  Fresh oregano will last several days in the refrigerator.  Store it in a plastic bag if chopped and wrap in a damp paper towel. 

Parsley

Parsley is used in Italian recipes, tea, or sprinkled on salads, chicken or other meat, potatoes, or soups.  Parsley is known for its anti cancer abilities, anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, and boosts immune system.  It contains vitamin A, C, and K.  Parsley can be grown all year in or outdoors.  It can also be purchased fresh or dried.  Fresh parsley should be kept in the refrigerator for no more than a week, and tastes better than dried.

Rosemary

rosemary(91886)Credit: wikipediaRosemary can be sprinkled over ice cream and other desserts.  It is also used as a flavor enhancer for fruits, lamb dishes, chicken, pork, potatoes, vegetables, soups, salads, pastas, and breads.  Rosemary works as an anti inflammatory agent, anti allergic, anti fungal, anti septic, vision, and iron.  It is used to help with arthritis, digestion, blood pressure, gout, headaches, depression, and colds.  Rosemary contains vitamin A, C, iron, potassium, and folic acid.  Rosemary can be bought fresh or dried.  If you buy it fresh, leave it in the original packaging and keep in the refrigerator. 

Sage

Sage is great in sausage and other meats.  It is also good with biscuits, potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, beans, and stuffings.  Sage is claimed to improve memory, works as an anti inflammatory, relieves sore throat, menopause, depression, colds, bad breath, and is an antiseptic.  It is a source of vitamin A, calcium, iron, and potassium.  Sage can be bought fresh or dried.  Fresh sage should be refrigerated in a plastic bag and will last around 3 to 4 days.  Dried sage will stay good around 6 months if kept in a airtight container.

Thyme

Thyme is another herb used in cooking.  Thyme is good in mixed with white balsamic vinegar and drizzled over pork, stuff a chicken or fish, add flavor to scrambled eggs, bean soup, or used in marinade for any kind of meat.  One tsp of dried thyme is about the same as one tbsp of fresh.  In my opinion, thyme is strong in flavor, so use sparingly to determine how much you like.  Since not much is typically used there isn't really any vitamin absorption from using it, but it does have some antioxidant qualities.  Keep fresh thyme wrapped in a damp paper towel and refrigerator.  You can also keep dried thyme in airtight jars.