12 Common Herbs and Spices

New to cooking with herb and spices?  This post will help you create delicious dishes using herbs and spices that you probably have in your cupboard. Not only are herbs and spices tasty, but are rich in vitamins and minerals that you and your family need everyday.  Therefore, to reserve the healthy benefits, add most … Continue reading 12 Common Herbs and Spices

Lemon Balm

Botanical Name Family Labiatae Melissa officinalis Common Names Common balm, Sweet Balm, Balm, Sweet Mary, Honey Plant, Cure-all, Dropsy Plant, Melissa Cautions Because of its sedating effect, it should not be taken before operating machinery or by anyone who must remain alert. The herb may also affect the actions of tranquilizers and sedatives. Because of … Continue reading Lemon Balm

Thyme

Thyme is a tiny-leaved herb that is most often used in French cooking.  Make sure to strip the leaves from the woody stems before adding them to recipes (unless it’s used to flavor a roast or soup and then removed before serving!).  Run your finger and thumb along the stems (the opposite direction of growth) … Continue reading Thyme

Rosemary

Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary is one of the most commonly found herbs in a spice rack, and for good reason – not only does it have a wonderful taste and aroma, but also a wealth of beneficial health effects if regularly added to our diet. The scientific name of this perennial woody herb is Rosmarinus officinalis. Similar to many … Continue reading Rosemary

Uva Ursi

Common Names - Uva Ursi , Bearberry Botanical Name - Arctostaphylos uva-ursi Family - ERICACEAE   Uva Ursi, is a small groundcover shrub distributed throughout northern latitudes and in high altitudes further south. The plant produces small; stiff evergreen leaves that last 1-3 years before falling.  In late spring, white to pink flowers bloom, eventually producing ¼- to … Continue reading Uva Ursi

Elder Flowers

Scientific Name:  Sambucus nigra Common Names:  elder, mother elder, elderberries, elderflowers Family:  Caprifoliaceae-Honeysuckle Family Uses: sweat-inducing for fevers encourage circulation, colds and flu bronchial and upper-respiratory allergy and hay fever eye wash tonsillitis and sore throat mild laxative rheumatism and gout inflammation The Elder, with its flat-topped masses of creamy-white, fragrant blossoms, followed by large dropping … Continue reading Elder Flowers

Cilantro or Coriander

Cilantro is an herb that is never available in dried form, since its pungent flavor and aroma seem to dissipate almost entirely when dried. Sometimes referred to as Spanish or Chinese parsley.  Fresh cilantro is becoming more widely available in produce markets. Cilantro has a unique flavor and aroma that some savor and others dislike. … Continue reading Cilantro or Coriander

Chamomile Flowers

Scientific Name: Matricaria recutita Common Names: German chamomile, Roman chamomile, wild chamomile Family: Asteraceae-Daisy Family Part Used: flower heads Properties:  analgesic , anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-viral, diuretic, sedative Uses:  indigestion, gas, bloating, heartburn, peptic ulcers, to calm nervousness, insomnia, spasms in stomach and muscles, diluted for children (colic, insomnia, upset stomach), hair rinse … Continue reading Chamomile Flowers

Bay Leaves

Common Names:  Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, True Laurel Botanical Name:  Laurus nobilis Family:  Lauraceae Bay Leaves, there are two popular types — Mediterranean and Californian. The Mediterranean is milder in flavor. Bay leaves are usually used dry  to reduce some of their bitterness, but can be used fresh too. Commonly used in classic chicken soup, … Continue reading Bay Leaves