Cooking is not only a complete sensory experience, but it’s also a healing one. Food brings nourishment and healing when you use the right combinations of ingredients. Many of these foods you can simply eat whole, but you can also turn them into teas, poultices, tinctures, and salves. Before you even need to use them as medicine, you can simply cook with them and enjoy their benefits each and every day. There are plenty of culinary approaches you can take to incorporate these foods. Here are the top 10 medicinal plants to cook with, starting today.
If you’re going to include an herb in your daily meals, basil is the one to add. Chop it up and scramble it in your eggs, enjoy it alongside your favorite fresh mozzarella, or eat a warm Thai curry with fresh basil. These are just a few of the ways to enjoy this potent medicinal plant every single day. When you do use basil, you can expect better mental health, improved cardiovascular health, reduced inflammation, and so much more.
Peppermint tea is well known for being great on the stomach. Women fighting morning sickness often gain relief by using peppermint tea. But did you know that peppermint can also relieve headaches and migraines? You can easily add peppermint to smoothies, dressings, sauces, and even to sweet treats. When you’re getting a cold, this boost of peppermint can even help open up sinuses and make you feel better.
This tasty herb is not only good to use in pretty much any Italian dish, but it’s also excellent for your immune system. People already use oil of oregano in lieu of antibiotics in some cases because it can help fight off some bacteria. But you can also simply cook with oregano to take advantage of its amazing properties. Use it to flavor your sauces, soups, and stews. Add it to crock pot roasts and use a dash of it in your salad dressings. You’ll discover that it gives you a natural immune boost without needing to do much extra.
This root looks a lot like ginger root. Turmeric is well known in Ayurvedic circles for its healing properties, but this knowledge is becoming mainstream only in recent years. While people are now taking capsules with dried turmeric for everything from headaches to arthritis, you can easily add this root to the foods you eat daily. Add it to a healthy smoothie, to soup, or coat your meat with it before you cook it.
Most people know beets for their deep purple color and earthy flavor. Pickled beets, roasted beets, and even beet powder are very popular and have a lot of medicinal goodness packed into them. This heart healthy food is a great way to beat anxiety and lower blood pressure all in one. Eating beets weekly can also improve physical fitness and fight inflammation in your body. Beets are great when they are roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and a dash of salt.
Known for helping with tummy troubles, ginger is all that and more. Ginger helps ease nausea, reduces blood pressure, and may even help people lose a few extra pounds. Additionally, it has immune boosting properties to help you when you’re feeling under the weather. Steep ginger into tea, add it to soups, quick breads, and even use pickled ginger on salads and sandwiches.
Celery is a delicious vegetable that you can enjoy raw, stir fried, and even juiced. This crunchy veggie is known to improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and offers protective antioxidants to your daily diet. Many people don’t realize how healthy celery is and the positive impact it has on your health. You can easily enjoy it alongside your favorite dip and put it in a warm bowl of chicken soup.
When you get a urinary tract infection, the experts are always saying to drink cranberry juice. In addition to aiding your system in flushing out infection, cranberries are also known to have anti-cancer benefits, and can boost your immune system. Make a tangy cranberry compote to dip fruit in. Add these berries to your quick breads and create immune boosting smoothies with them as well.
Have you ever tasted fresh watermelon on a hot summer day? These fruits are refreshing and satisfying. It’s hard to eat only a little bit. If you’re looking for plants to add into your diet daily, start adding watermelon. Watermelon can be added to fruit smoothies, it can be juiced, it can be cut up into a fruit salad and it can be turned into a watermelon sorbet. Some people even love to pickle the rinds of watermelon to enjoy throughout the year. This melon can help improve blood pressure, can help prevent strokes and heart attacks.
Elderberry syrup is all the rage right now. And it’s easy to see why. Elderberries have been used for centuries to help people recover from colds, flus, and many other respiratory viruses. Most of the time the berries are boiled down and served as a tea or syrup. But you can also use elderberries regularly in jams and jellies. Make this one a staple in your household especially during the cold winter months when viruses run rampant.
Other medicinal plants include those that are undergoing a long road to legalization. If you’re interested in cooking with hemp products, for example, scout a few CBD recipes you’d like to try and see how it works for you. Cooking with medicinal plants isn’t a new thing. You’re probably already using many of these plants inadvertently when you make everyday foods.
Be more intentional about adding immune boosting herbs and vegetables to your soups, eating them raw, and making them part of your normal menus and meal plans. You’d be amazed at how much easier it is to fight off infections when they come when your immune system is already in good condition.
You don’t need to make fancy tinctures or poultices to enjoy their numerous benefits. Instead, find ways to cook with them and make natural medicine part of your lifestyle.