Introduction and description
In general use, herbs are any plants used for flavouring, food, medicine, or perfume. On this website I want to home in however, on those plants we generally recognise as culinary plants and which are often marketed as herbs:
- Mint - including all the different ypes of mint, spearmint, peppermint, applemint and so on
- Lemon Balm
- Bay leaves
- Rue - which is a medicinal herb and should not be treated as food
- Pennyroyal - another medicinal herb that is not consumed
hyssop and so on. In this context, the plants leaves are used either fresh or dried in cooking or externally and they are distinguished from spices which are usually products from another part of a plant - seeds, berries, bark, roots and fruits.
This general section enables us to list observations that are more generic concerning herbs, but the herbs themselves and their specific chemical content, as well as any observations pertinent to them can be found by following the links.
The term 'Herbs', now has a different meaning to that once in use. A herb of old was a medicine, often one that you could eat. Thus a herb was a healing plant. We have narrowed down the definition so much that we have lost sight of what the ancient healers were trying to achieve.
In effect their objective was to eat for health. The principal objective was to go for the cause of the illness, but failing that a plant was used as a palliative, a means of alleviating the symptoms. It is a sad reflection of medicine today that we have not only abandonned the idea of finding and treating the cause of illness, but have also almost entirely lost the art of eating for health.
As another sad reflection of our 'instant everything' culture, the solution to symptoms is a pill to hide the symptoms. The pharmaceuticals of today do not heal, they hide.
All the ancient revered medical systems, for example -
- traditional Chinese herbal medicine TCM
- In India, the Ayurvedic medicinal system
- the Hippocratic (Greek) elemental healing system
are based on herbs with the wider definition.
Famous herbalists of the Western tradition include Avicenna , Galen , Paracelsus and Culpepper. All these people used the term in its wider sense and also used food to heal, and plants as medicine. Mrs Grieve's Herbal is still in use as a source of reference using this definition.
Herbs can be used in all sorts of ways in cooking, but in the observations you will see that they can also be used effectively in ointments.
Fresh herbs incidentally are wonderful mixed with green or white tea made with warm water.
How it works
see the observations from PubMed to see their uses and how they are perceived to work in this context.
- Alice B Toklas Cookbook - Hashish fudge 010490
- Croll, Oswald - Preface of Signatures – 14 016032
- Dr Duke's list of anti-anxiety activity for Mint 012418
- Dr Duke's list of anti-anxiety activity for Sweet Basil 012414
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for Oregano 012406
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for Rosemary 012402
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for Sage 012407
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for tarragon 012400
- Dr Duke's list of antiparasitic plants 010310
- Dr Duke's list of cystine containing plants to boost the immune system 012486
- Dr Duke's list of plants to counteract heavy metals 010312
- Dr Duke's list of plants with a diuretic activity 012389
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anti-aggregate activity 017520
- Dr Duke's list of plants with hemopoietic effects - 2 All plants with activity 012485
- Dr Duke's list of plants with vasodilatory activity 012388
- Dr Duke's Plants with Antiplatelet activity 017519
- Ebulum Elderberry Ale 016964
- Heartburn, ulcers and plants 006253
- Herbs and herpes 005371
- Herbs and Streptococcus pyogenes 010326
- Mrs Grieve on Mint 005541
- Mrs Grieve on Peppermint 005542
- Mrs Grieve on Thyme 005540
- Nicotine, coffee, cannabis and dopamine 005772
- Omega-3 and omega-6 content of medicinal foods for depressed patients: implications from the Iranian Traditional Medicine 017018
- Oregano and herpes 005381
- Plants for a Future on Coltsfoot 011294
- Plants for use with skin diseases 010325
- Polyphenols and heart disease 005617
- Pregnancy, foods and herbs 006258
- Reasoning for seasoning 005551
- Repellent effectiveness of seven plant essential oils, sunflower oil and natural insecticides against horn flies on pastured dairy cows and heifers 016861
- Rheumatoid arthritis and food 005581
- Rheumatoid arthritis and plants 006778
- Root vegetables and leukemia 005538
- Spices herbs and bacteria 005424
- The Lancet - Theriac in antiquity 012766
- Traditional Iranian medicinal foods for depressed patients 011994