The unique, wonderfully fragrant aroma of food being prepared with aromatic herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme, are just some of those delicious memories that can be stored quietly at the back of our nasal sensory organs to be reminded about out when the mood takes us. Not only do herbs smell and taste great, some of them also have remarkable and effective healing properties.
Making tea and extracts from herbs is a simple procedure. Take a handful of fresh, organically grown herbs and let them steep in a cup of boiling water for five minutes. Strain and sip slowly. Lemon and honey can be added for taste. Most herbs have excellent medicinal qualities in addition to their culinary uses.
In South Africa we have no less than 3,000 known traditional medicinal herbs. More readily known herbs include the beautiful, mineral rich herb Borage which is a natural diuretic, an anti-rheumatic and an expectorant, rich in vitamin C and calcium. Mint, of which there are many species, is a superb digestive that relieves heartburn, cramps and nausea. A cup of mint tea after a heavy meal will help with digestion and leave you full of energy! Another familiar herb, parsley, is an excellent diuretic and is one of the best herbs for rheumatism, gout, arthritis and for flushing toxins from the body.
A guideline when using fresh herbs in a recipe is to use three times as much as you would use of a dried herb. Fresh herbs are usually more successful in a dish and should be purchased close to the time you plan to use them. When growing herbs in your own garden the ideal time to pick them is in the morning after the dew has dried but before the sun gets hot. This helps ensure the best flavor and storage quality.