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Culinary Herbs: Using Them in Healthy Cooking Recipes

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Christian Food for Thought:



God is the creator of the many wonderful medicinal plants and foods that prevent, treat, and cure so many ailments. To reject God's solutions is to reject spiritual, physical, and mental health.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in HEALTH even as thy soul prospereth" (KJV Christian Bible, 3 John 2).

Many people who don't cook from scratch often consider the proper use of fine culinary herbs restricted to chefs or to healthy cooking recipes. However, people in ancient times had no access to seasoning packets found in soup mixes, bouillon cubes, soup stock or taco meal boxes. These pre-mixed packets of seasonings rarely consist of all natural herbs and spices.

Making use of the medicinal properties of culinary herbs doesn't require a chef's knowledge. Simply adding them to foods and/or preparing infusions or decoctions from them is all that's needed to ingest their health-giving substances. One advantage to using culinary herbs as natural medicines is that they're easily obtained in the average grocery store and some can be grown organically in the home. Let's look at four seasonings: ginger root, marjoram, cayenne, and rosemary herb.

Ginger Root



Ginger root may be purchased fresh and is usually found in the produce section of grocery stores. Dried ginger root may also be used and is normally sold in the baking aisle of food stores. Foods that can be seasoned with this spice include breads, cakes, and other kinds of sweets. This amazing herb is useful internally and externally. Ginger decoction (tea) is prepared by grating approximately one ounce of the fresh root into a pint of water and then simmering for ten minutes. The tea is strained and flavored and sweetened with honey and lemon. Sufferers of a cold or influenza will benefit from the diaphoretic (causing perspiration) properties of Ginger.

An oil of ginger for external use may be made with equal parts of ginger juice and olive oil. This medicinal oil helps to relieve dandruff when applied to the scalp and to relieve minor aches and pains of the muscles when applied to a targeted area (Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., The Way of Herbs [New York, NY: Pocket Books, 1989], 94).

Marjoram



Marjoram tea is made by pouring eight ounces of boiling hot water over at least one heaping teaspoon of the dried herb and allowing the infusion to steep for a minimum of five minutes. The tea may be lightly sweetened with a natural sweetener such as honey or stevia extract and drank while hot. Marjoram is considered an excellent remedy for upset stomach and has offered relief even in the fight against seasickness (Tierra, 94).

Those who suffer frequently from upset stomach may also want to season certain pasta dishes, spaghetti, for example, in order to ingest the herb through food as well. Marjoram adds a wonderful and unique flavor to spaghetti sauces whether homemade or from a jar.

Cayenne



Two of the most basic seasonings are salt and pepper. However, most Americans still use black pepper instead of cayenne, also known as red pepper. Cayenne is known to enhance health in a variety of ways. It is a proven heart stimulant, tonic and cleanser of the circulatory system and, used in conjunction with garlic, helps to lower the Blood Pressure (Penny C. Royal, Herbally Yours [Provo, UT: Sound Nutrition, 1988], 20).

The transition from black pepper to cayenne can be a little difficult at first as most people will not find red pepper to be as flavorful as black. Also, until the taste buds become accustomed to the difference in the two spices, cayenne may also taste unbearably hot. Newbies to the use of red pepper should start with small amounts and work up to larger ones which is usually accomplished in a very short period of time. Cayenne pepper is used in the very same manner as black pepper.

Rosemary Herb



The leaves and flowers are the parts of rosemary herb that are used. Again, this botanical is sold in most well stocked grocery stores. Rosemary herb can be used internally and externally. Strong rosemary tea is known to relieve stress induced headaches and is considered by some herbalists to be one of the available natural substitutes for aspirin.

Externally, a tea prepared with rosemary herb can also be poured over the hair to help fight against premature balding and falling hair and to retard graying. It also enhances dark hair even after it has started to gray, adding shine and luster to it. You can add rosemary herb to soup home-made salad dressings, almost any kind of soup, and to salads if using the fresh herb.

Culinary herbs have much to offer to flavor and season food while also helping to maintain good health. This is only the beginning of the list. Remember, even healthy cooking recipes might not call for these culinary herbs; that doesn't mean, however, that you can't add them to the dishes of your choice. Great cooks are hardly ever strict about following recipes to the letter.






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