5 Health Benefits of Herbs

Herbs are delicious, and they make our dishes come alive with flavor and variety. Throughout history, herbs have been used not only in recipes and teas, but also medical treatments. Today, most of us have entire cupboards full of dried herbs. We often drink them in the form of caffeine-free teas, cook with them and use them for zesty natural home fragrances. A few of us may even harken back to our ancestors’ beliefs in herbs as treatments for illnesses and maladies.

These fragrant and delicious plants may be varied in their uses, but one thing is for sure: They’re really good for us! Here are just a few of the proven health benefits of herbs.

They’re Anti-Microbial

Herbs are anti-microbial, which means they help fight bacteria and harmful germs. The key to this property is herbs’ high concentration of polyphenols, a class of organic chemical micronutrients found in a variety of plants. We’ll hear about some of polyphenols’ other nutritional benefits later, but one of their well-known properties is their ability to fight bacteria. Oregano and dill are two herbs that are particularly chock-full of anti-microbial polyphenols.

They Help You Eat Better

This particular attribute isn’t related to a healthful nutrient within herbs, but rather the eating patterns that these plants help us adhere to. When we flavor our dishes with delicious and fragrant herbs, we make them more flavorful and appealing, encouraging us to eat healthy, whole foods. We are also able to reduce the amount of salt we add to our foods because we are adding so much flavor in the form of herbs. While salt isn’t necessarily a bad thing in moderation, herbs are a welcome substitute!

They’re Full of Antioxidants

Don’t think of berries and other fruits as the sole proprietors of antioxidants—these healthy foods get many of their antioxidant properties from polyphenols, just like herbs! Herbs provide a stunning number of antioxidants, making them a super nutritious addition to your dishes. Antioxidants bind to free radicals in the body, helping to fight their presence and potentially decrease your risk of certain cancers and chronic diseases.

They’re Low-Calorie

Just like vegetables and other leafy plants, herbs are extremely low in calories. Calories aren’t the only important thing to consider when you’re trying to eat healthy, of course, but the fact that using these plants as seasonings won’t impact the caloric count of your dish makes them far superior to dressings, sauces and rubs. If you’re watching your waistline or trying to balance your diet, herbs will be your best bet in terms of flavor additions.

They’re Anti-Inflammatory

Finally, just like many spices, herbs are anti-inflammatory. Chronic inflammation wreaks havoc in the body. In fact, according to the Washington Post, it’s suspected to be linked to arthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer and heart disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of herbs are attributed to—you guessed it—polyphenols. Add some herbs to whole food dishes such as vegetables and fresh meats, and you’ll be on your way toward reducing inflammation in your body.

86 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus18 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 months ago

Not a whole lot of information. - I have been having issues with viewing my profile page. I have contacted them twice about it with no success.

Mona Pietsch
Mona P.2 months ago

Thank you

Helen K.
Helen K.2 months ago

Hey Chris B, it's not your thumb it's because Basil is an annual, parsley is a biennial and your OK with rosemary that's a perennial (I.e. it will come back every year). Now, if you are lucky, annuals can be self seeding annuals like Californian poppies, they grow, they flower, cast seeds for next year and then they die - but not if Monsanto got a hold of them first and made them sterile so that you have to buy new seeds every year!

federico bortoletto

Grazie dell'articolo.

chris b.
chris b.2 months ago

The Rosemary plant goes on and on. The basil, parsley, etc., however, have bit the dust. I have a purple thumb.

chris b.
chris b.2 months ago

Buy an Herb Book. LOTS of information there. Like essential oils. Go to the earth for help. Not synthetic drugs, unless totally and completely necessary.

Ba H.
Ba H.2 months ago

thanks

Helen K.
Helen K.2 months ago

Well, my blood pressure (BP) went up for a while (I won't bore you with the reason) and I managed to get it down with an herb - Hawthorn Berry extract - 600mg per day, one in the morning and one at about 2:00pm. I sort out a natural remedy because I didn't want to go on BP medication because what I heard about the side effects terrified me, made my hair curl!

Carole R.
Carole R.2 months ago

Good to know. Pretty pic.