We are continuing our series on the health benefits of herbs to grow in your garden.
Historically, rosemary has been used for a variety of complaints including alleviating muscle pain, improving memory, boosting the immune and circulatory system, and promoting hair growth. It is part of the mint family and is high in calcium, iron, and vitamin B6. Rosemary is a rich source of antioxidants and an excellent anti-inflammatory. It is commonly used to treat indigestion and heartburn as well as improve overall digestion. Components contained in the oil of rosemary correlate with improvement in memory and concentration, in fact scientists have found that rosemary is good for the brain. Rosemary also may be good for macular degeneration and keeping one’s eyes healthy. When used topically with other herbs, it may possibly prevent hair loss, can relieve joint and muscle pain, and can be used to relieve stress.
Garlic has the ability to treat a wide variety of uses conditions related to the heart and blood system, colon and rectal cancer, stomach cancer, high blood pressure, tick bites, and various fungal infections including ringworm, athlete’s foot, and jock itch. Garlic is another spice that has been used for thousands of years, in fact there are records that it was in use in Giza during the time that the pyramids were being built, over 5,000 years ago. Garlic was even given to Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece as a performance enhancer. Historically, it has been used to treat bronchitis, tuberculosis, rheumatism, dysentery, colic, stomach ailments, diabetes, even intestinal worms.
Sage is yet another spice that has a long history. It is one of the original herbs that made up Four Thieves Vinegar, a medieval remedy that was supposed to protect the wearer from the plague. It has had so many uses, both in cooking and as a medicinal herb that it was considered a remedy for all ailments, everything from the cleansing of wounds, sprains, ulcers, female and menopause complaints, and stomach and digestive issues. Today, not only is it nutritious, but it is used to help improve memory, it is an anti-inflammatory, and has properties that help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
It is approved by the German Commission E for mild gastrointestinal upset, excessive sweating, and inflamed mucous membranes of the mouth and throat. It is an anti-spasmodic and may reduce tension in muscle and it is commonly used to alleviate the side effects associated with menopause, specifically menopausal sweating.
As with garlic, chives are a member of the allium family, thus sharing many of the same properties. The benefits of the allium family have been studied extensively, specifically regarding cancer, and stomach and colorectal cancer especially. Research has shown the inhibition of tumor growth and the prevention of the formation of free radicals. Allium vegetables may also lower the risk of prostate cancer. The high levels of choline and folate in chives may be beneficial to improving sleep and mood. Other benefits may relate to heart health by reducing the stiffness and plaque in arteries, chives are high in vitamin K which is a key mineral in preventing bone demineralization, and chives are high in antioxidants.