During the summer months I love to chop up fresh herbs and sprinkle them on pretty much any dish. In some dishes I will put the basil or parsley in the pot at the very end of cooking, stir it in, and serve it! Fresh herbs put into hot dishes retain their flavor and essence better if they are not overly cooked. Here are a few herbs that I consume on a very regular basis.
Basil: It has antibacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties. Basil’s volatile oils block an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase. This is the same enzyme that is blocked by ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drugs. Basil is a good source of vitamin A through its concentration of carotenoids such as beta-carotene. This carotenoid converts to vitamin A in the body. In addition, basil is a good source of magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamin C.
Parsley: Has a lot of vitamin C and iron. Great source for vitamin K, A, and folate. Like basil, parsley contains volatile oils which have been shown to fight tumor formations in animal studies. Full of antioxidants. Traditionally used to treat inflammation of kidneys and bladder. Chew and swallow a few leaves for bad breath, especially garlic breath! Good for blood vessel rejuvenation, diuretic, good for the kidneys and liver.
Rosemary: Detoxes harmful toxins from the body, is a diuretic, good for the skin, helps with memory, contains antioxidants. You can add a bag of rosemary to a hot bath to help relieve sore muscles. Rosemary oil is often used by aroma therapists to help with depression. Helps relieve pain of arthritis. This fresh herb goes in the pot for the duration of the cooking time.
Sauté a bunch of vegetables with garlic and olive oil. Chop up a handful of basil and mix in at the very end of cooking.
Sprinkle chopped up parsley on boiled or mashed potatoes, or on meat dishes. Adds nutrition and flavor!
Rosemary can go into any roast dish with beef, lamb, or chicken. Just put a few sprigs in the pot and let the flavor penetrate the whole dish.