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5 herbs to stock up on this autumn

That is why it is important to stock up on herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and lavender. Picture: Unsplash

That is why it is important to stock up on herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and lavender. Picture: Unsplash

Published Apr 12, 2022

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By Thandeka Mthimkulu

Are you a food enthusiast, calorie counter and health-conscious? A beauty fanatic? Well, worry no more as herbs will come to your rescue.

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Now that autumn is upon us, and the weather changes, it requires us to also make sure that our bodies are ready to handle the colder months. That is why it is important to stock up on herbs like thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and lavender. These herbs will not only elevate your dishes by adding great flavour, but they will also improve your health.

Did you know that natural herbs can be brewed to make medicinal teas and for beauty purposes? If not, then this article is for you.

We have chosen five of the most popular herbs that are used for both medicinal and beauty regimens.

Thyme

Thyme is used to treat an array of health conditions such as colds, hair loss, blood clotting, inflammation and many more. Picture: Unsplash

Whether you prefer stripping its leaves from the stem or chopping the sprig, the earthy and woody herb is a great kitchen aid that can be paired in dishes like stews, soups, roasts and delicious casseroles.

Apart from its culinary uses, the herb is quite a winner in other areas too. According to MedicalNewsToday, thyme is high in antioxidants, vitamin C and A, iron, potassium, and manganese.

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Thyme is used to treat an array of health conditions such as colds, hair loss, blood clotting, inflammation and many more.

The aesthetic use of thyme is usually in essential oils that are great for skincare treatment for acne and blemishes.

Rosemary

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Rosemary is known for pairing well with animal protein and with a squeeze of lemon juice that is a match made in the culinary heavens. Picture: Unsplash

What is lamb without rosemary? Have you really roasted your chicken or beef without adding a spring of rosemary in the roasting pan? Rosemary is known for pairing well with animal protein and with a squeeze of lemon juice that is a match made in the culinary heavens.

It is a great source of folate, is high in micronutrient such as vitamins A and C, manganese and phytochemicals which help fight diseases and reduces the risk of cancer. It is also a memory booster according to Healthline.

So, the next you want to memorize a long list of things just reach for this aromatic herb and sniff it for a few minutes you will see improved levels of concentration and memory.

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Women’s interest magazine, Femina reports, that rosemary essential oils is also known as “magical oil” in the cosmetic industry which amazing for your skin.

Oregano

Oregano can also be added to roasts, grills, and pesto. But what about its nutritional goodness? Picture: Steve Lawrence/ANA Pics

A sprinkle here and a sprinkle there, seasoning food with oregano herb can bring out its natural yummy flavour. Popular for its common use in pizza hence, the culinary nickname “the pizza herb”. Oregano can also be added to roasts, grills, and pesto. But what about its nutritional goodness?

Medical News Today outlines that, oregano is an excellent source of vitamin K and E, manganese, calcium, and iron.

It is also high in antioxidants that help to neutralize disease-causing free radicals. Among other amazing health benefits, the herb is a great antibacterial agent that helps fight infections such as yeast and oral thrush.

Other health conditions that can be treated by drinking oregano in the form of tea includes constipation and diarrhoea.

Oregano essential oils are highly praised for their contribution to the skin and beauty industry, helping to treat acne, athlete’s foot, and ringworms. The herb is also used to make special toothpastes that can help treat gum disease.

Sage

By simply brewing your own sage tea, adding the herb while cooking or rubbing in essential oils on your skin, there are vast health benefits one is yet to explore with sage. Picture: Unsplash

This aromatic and flavourful herb is a kitchen essential with a versatile cooking application ranging from making sauces and marinades, pastries, stuffing meat, right through to brewing medicinal teas and refreshing cocktails.

Incorporating sage into one’s diet has been shown to regulate and control blood sugar levels. The herb was traditionally used for diabetes and lowering cholesterol as reported in the article published by Healthline.

In a scientific paper published by Sciencedirect, researchers have found that sage is proclaimed to be a woman’s best friend, helping in the fight against skin ageing, and fertility issues, and also reducing menstrual cramps.

By simply brewing your own sage tea, adding the herb while cooking or rubbing in essential oils on your skin, there are vast health benefits one is yet to explore with sage.

Lavender

Earl Grey and lavender ice cream. Picture: Shayne Robinson

Whether you are using the herb as an elegant garnish or in bakes, lavender is an all-rounded herb that could be blended and paired together with a variety of foods.

Here is a herb hack, the next time you are cooking fatty foods or protein like fatty fish, turkey or lamb, add in some lavender as it will really bring out and improve the overall flavour according to Bon Appetit. Your tastebuds will be dancing around with excitement.

Are you suffering from dry or irritated skin? Do you have eczema? Are you trying to minimize wrinkles? Brew away your health problems and have yourself a cup of lavender tea. According to Everyday Health, lavender has helped lower stress levels, detoxify the body, boost immune health, and relieve respiratory and digestive issues like indigestion, bloating, asthma, and bronchitis. The herb is also known to be a natural pain reliever so goodbye to over-the-counter pills!

The next time you pass by a bouquet of these herbs at the grocery store know that they are not just lousy herbs but, are an ancient aid used for teas, holistic health remedies and beauty products.

Thandeka Mthimkulu, is a final year Food and Nutrition student at the Durban University of Technology.

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