Haute Ingredients

I grew up with the aroma of garlic always permeating my nose, and every time I smell it I am reminded of my grandmother. She cooked with the key ingredient found commonly in Italian food, but she also gave my family the gift of a natural cancer-fighting agent. Herbs and spices not only sass up a meal, but they have medicinal purposes, too. Herbalism is a traditional folk medicine and by 2001, more than 120 compounds had been identified in modern medicine. Here are a few of my favorite natural cures:

Parsley is deep green with jagged leaves and has a powerful fragrance; it offers a mild and clean flavor. The oils and flavonoids are what contain the medicinal components. It has been associated in the treatment of urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones. It can be used in salads, soups, tomato sauce, and often times is used to garnish foods.

Tarragon has long stems and thin oblong leaves with a flavor that is sweet and slightly similar to the licorice-like flavor of anise. In folk medicine, tarragon is used to treat toothaches and upset stomach; historically it was often used to fight intestinal parasites in children. This spice is often found in French cuisine and it pairs well with roasted chicken.

Basil can come in a variety of color combinations and forms, but this plant has a strong antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. In Chinese medicine, it is thought to help the kidneys function. In Indian medicine, basil has been used to treat a number of ailments such as itching, malaria, anorexia, and arthritis. Its peppery yet sweet flavor is best when used in fresh salads and classic pasta sauces.

Rosemary is a shrub-like spice with needle-like leaves that resemble a pine. It is extremely aromatic with pine scents and floral undertones. Traditionally it is used in treating headaches and migraines. It is also helpful in the speeding up the recovery time in wounds and eczema. We can often enjoy this herb atop chicken and potatoes.

Peppermint is a bushy plant with fuzzy leaves, and is the fan favorite among mint lovers. We can find it in the form of tea and when mixed with honey can treat a cold, cough and sore throat. When peppermint essential oil is rubbed on the temples it can treat a migraine and ease the tension. Peppermint is a strong scent and has the ability to open the sinuses.

These are just a few of the helpful spices that can solve some complex issues simply. A dash or pinch of some herbs in your daily diet and you are on your way to starting the fight before the battle, naturally. Until next time my friends, visit www.raylenebartolacci.com. To health and wellness, salute.