Medicinal values of herbs and spices

Herbs are beautiful small plants, mostly perennials with soft stem and fine flavour. They are comparatively easy to grow, adding beauty to the garden. Spices are herbs with plenty of medicinal value and are added to food for enhancing flavour.

Herbs require little care and are mostly pest free. They can either be grown in the garden, or in container, or indoors or outdoors. They require well drained rich soil, adequate air and sunlight and require less fertilization. Herbs or leaves are used for seasoning in dishes, as medicines, as perfumes for enhancing fragrance, for floral arrangements, and the dried seeds of the herbs are used as spices. A few common herbs are coriander, parsley, thyme, rosemary etc.

While herbs are grown fresh or purchased in the dried forms, spice, on the other hand, come from seeds, bark, stems, or fruit of aromatic plants. Spices include various tropical aromatics, like cinnamon, cloves, pepper, poppy, sesame, mustard etc. Though spices are mainly used as flavouring agents while cooking, they have medicinal properties and are used in cosmetics, pharmaceutical and perfumery industries.

Ayurveda has been long since using herbs and spices for medicinal purposes. However, the medicinal value of herbs and spices are decreasing these days due to deforestation and lack of awareness and pollution. Hence plenty of valuable herbs are becoming rare.

Human health is definitely dependent on herbs. And for good quality herbs, they should be kept free of pollution. Hence preserving the knowledge of herbs and spices which the mankind has received from past generation is essential for posterity.

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  1. I recently went to Lisa Cohn, the dietician at Park Avenue Nutrition and Spa and she gave me a sample packet of 14 various herbs and spices with a pamphlet on how to include them in my diet. I never knew herbs and spices had so many beneficial medicinal values! This sample packet was a great introduction into this underappreciated realm of nutrition.

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