We often hear the term “Herbs and Spices”. What is the difference, How can you tell?
When distinguishing the difference between Herbs and Spices is that Herbs come from the leaves of the plant while Spices, come from the rest of the plant such as the roots, seeds, and bark.
Know that herbs or spices are not a cure for the many ailments we may face in life.
However, careful use, either on its own or in combination with other options can certainly assist the body both external and internal.
This can be achieved by helping to improve bodily functions and even help eliminate certain toxins that have created stress within the body.
The greatest care needs to be taken by the individual concerned as not all body types react in the same way when taking anything for the body.
Regardless if it related to health issues, fitness or for general health and sustenance.
This applies to all forms including if it is a natural remedy or a pharmaceutical product that has been manufactured.
The same with cooking not everyone can take certain foods as there may be allergies, certain reactions to the body or some people just do not like the taste of certain foods let along using certain herbs or spices.
If you are unsure about using certain herbs or spices for healthy or healing, then please seek the advice of a trained medical professional.
You are responsible for your body, so common sense prevails in everything you do not just with dealing in Herbs or Spices mentioned here.
Cooking: Dry or Fresh?
When using herbs in cooking, you can use either dried or fresh herbs or both.
This will also depend on your lifestyle, your personal taste along with availability depending on where you are in the world.
When using dried herbs, you will find they work well when added during cooking.
This will allow time for the particular herb to infuse the flavours into your special dish.
It is best not to add them straight away or late in the final stages, as the impact of the flavour will not work its magic to its full capacity.
However when using dried herbs ensure that when you open that bottle or packet that it still has the aroma if not then it may be time to do some shopping.
As for using fresh herbs, the opposite may be the case when cooking.
By adding the fresh herbs towards the end stage will enhance it aromatic flavours to your dish much more favourably than added them during the cooking as you normally would with dried herbs.
Another reason for using fresh herbs towards the end is that dry herbs need time to infuse at a longer rate than fresh herbs.
This is why when making soups, for example, you would use fresh herbs just before the soup is ready.
You will find that dried Herbs are normally more concentrated and the amount needed would be less than that of Fresh Herbs as their flavours and more delicate as compared to the dried variety.
Therefore, when using fresh herbs you would tend to use a bit more than dried.
Growing herbs at home is an even better option as most herbs do not need much space.
From here, you can use the fresh variety as you please and if you have sufficient room to grow many types of herbs you can also even dry your own herbs for later use.
There is also nothing wrong is using both forms, dry and fresh.
Once during the cooking stages the other towards the end to enhance further and tantalise the taste buds to your awesome dish.
Some benefits of using Herbs in cooking are:
• The enhancement in the preparation of soups and sauces it’s is best to use Fresh herb leaves and even better, towards the end process of cooking as the heat can also destroy the health benefits if used too early in the cooking stages.
• They work exceptionally well with various meats both red and white along with blending them with vegetables.
• Rosemary is a great herb that can enhance many forms of cooking. One method I use when cooking baked potatoes wedges is by sprinkling the Rosemary over the potatoes and allowing the aroma to blend with the potatoes during the cooking process.
• You can add herbs to add that special and unique taste to your drinks.
However, did you know that there are also far greater uses for Herbs than just in culinary dishes?
Herbs for Healing
Aside from the wonderful aroma and enhanced flavour, you get when cooking with such wonders of nature.
Right throughout history to today’s world, herbs have other beneficial uses other than just improving and tantalising the taste buds.
There are many Benefits of using herbs and spices for healing not just the physical but spiritual as well.
Smudging Benefits of Herbs
The North American Indians used herbs not only for healing, but they also played an important role in their spiritual healing and practices.
One such method is smudging which they would use various herbs but in particular White Sage to help purify the space around them.
This helped in clearing any negative energy that may intrude on their lifestyle.
Such herbs release negative ions, which helps to enhance a more and relaxed atmosphere along with increasing the positive energy around the area.
Many forms of herbs used back in the Indian Ayurvedic system along with the Ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures helped shape the current practices in today’s times.
The use and knowledge of such healing practices at the time came prior to the use of modern medicine as we known it.
In fact, Allopathic medicine, which we know, now as modern or orthodox medicine began its roots with the use of herbs.
More Health Benefits of Herbs
Not only are Herbs of great benefit when added to recipes, but now we know they are also of great healing benefits not just for the spiritual side but also the physical aspects as well.
Here are some of the health benefits Herbs can provide.
• Within the herbs, lie great powers, which range from containing antioxidants to vitamins, to anti-inflammatory functions where many herbs can help the body to fight against various germs, help to release or breakdown toxins along with helping to boost the body’s immune systems.
• Herbs like Basil can help to lower Blood Sugar.
Like Herbs, there are many benefits when cooking with spices, yet there some groups of spices that would be best for a particular type of dish or food.
• Turmeric and Saffron, for example, is best when used in curry foods and with rice, which can add that yellowish colour to the rice.
• While some sweet spices such as Cinnamon, All Spice, Nutmeg, Vanilla are best for sweet type foods and even in flavoured drinks.
• Garlic, Rosemary, Bay Leaf, for example, works well with Meats.
Health Benefits of Spices
• Cinnamon, for example, helps in lowering Blood Sugar levels
• Sage along with Turmeric assists with the improvement of Brain Function and Memory, in particular, Alzheimer’s disease.
• Turmeric also contains Curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
• Cayenne pepper (such as in Chillies) is very rich in capsaicin, this can help reduce not only appetite but also help with the fat burning. It has also shown some anti-cancer possibilities.
There is so much benefit to the body as a whole in the use of Spices.
One great combination, discussed in another article is the combination of Black Pepper and Turmeric.
You can read about this amazing and vital combination here.
Variety is the Spice of Life
The statement above is certainly true.
When you include spices in your diet, you can benefit not just in the increased taste of your foods.
But you will also benefit with your health as well.
Having the knowledge the many properties spices contain within can help to aid or even help prevent many other ailments that surround us.
Modern testing of the internal components is confirming much of what the Ancient healers have already known.
That the use of certain spices can aid in the increased benefits of healing the body from certain dangers we face in life.
Some components found in spices can aid in the anti-clotting, which can help prevent the clogging of platelets in the blood vessels (vital knowledge to those prone to various heart diseases.
Spices can have a carminative effect as well as an Anti-inflammatory.
It has great antiseptic qualities that can be used as throat gargles to help relieve sore throats, even as a mouthwash with the treatment and care of gingivitis.
As you can see, the use of Herbs and Spices go beyond just being an ingredient for cooking and improving the taste of foods.
Essential Oils have many herbs and spices within them. More details of this within another article.
Below, you will find names of Herbs and Spices, you can select, which will take you to a more detailed description of your selection.
Herb and Spice Chart
|Aloe Vera||Black Pepper|
|Holy Basil||Cayenne Pepper|
Until then, wishing you the greatest of success in all you do and always remember.