Herb Guide

A herbal way of life

May 15, 2021 | Essentials

Whether your kitchen window-sills are garnished with an aromatic wild jungle, or your cupboards are  neatly arranged with tiny pots lying in wait for their chance to add that certain something to your Wednesday night’s ‘spaghetti bolognese’. Whether you sprinkle them generously, or carefully select choice spices, herbs play an active role in our everyday lives, and as we move towards a more climate conscious future, it is inevitable that they will continue to enrich our lives for years to come.

Our love affair with these helpful members of the plant world is one that has endured for centuries, and for good reason, but what exactly are they? How do they differ from vegetables or the grass on the lawn? 

‘In botany, the noun ‘herb’ refers to ‘a plant that does not produce a woody stem.’ ‘Herbs are plants with savoury or aromatic properties that are used for flavouring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes or for fragrances.’ – Wikipedia

Herbs have long been admired for their ability to benefit us nutritionally and medicinally. Herbs can help ease  symptoms of many common ailments and were once widely used in the apothecaries which precede our modern day pharmacies. Unlike pharmacies however, apothecaries specialised in the herbal science and chemistry that we associate with the pharmaceutical companies with today. The oldest complete record of apothecary medicine can be found in Ancient Egypt. Written around 1500 BC, 700 medical recipes and treatments. Today, many people choose the natural approach before turning to pharmaceuticals.

This remedy from the Ebers Papyrus is to be prepared as a mixture of herbs heated on a brick so that the sufferer could inhale their fumes.

Peppermint is known to relieve the symptoms of Irritable bowel syndrome and is great for settling the stomach. Sage, which gets its name from the Latin word ‘Salvere’ meaning ‘to save’ is currently being researched for its ability to improve memory and brain functions, which may be of particular interest to Alzheimer’s sufferers. These are but a few in a long list of helpful herbs which when used daily can potentially prevent a whole host of health problems.

Perhaps the most common use for herbs is in cooking and daily nutrition. A pinch of oregano can enhance the flavour of your salads, pizzas and pasta dishes, and a relatively small amount can boost  flavour. Parsley sauce can add some much needed depth of flavour to your new potatoes. It’s not just food that benefits from a herbal accompaniment, with its predominant flavour derived from juniper berries, gin has grown in popularity over recent years. Mixed with tonic water and garnished with torn mint leaves, you can expect a taste sensation. Also, it makes doing the washing-up a little less daunting.

So how can you ensure you are getting the best quality herbs for your money? Firstly, you should look for organically grown, wild or foraged herbs. This eliminates pesticides or other artificial chemicals which may alter the flavour and nutrient content. Secondly, you should look for herbs which are cultivated and packaged by the same company. This reduces the amount of time from picking to packing and will ensure freshness. Finally, the health of the herbs will depend largely on the type of environment they are grown in. Our herbs are grown in Finland, where there is an abundance of clean water, fresh air, nutritious soil and bright summer nights. As a result we are able to offer some of the highest quality dried herbs in the world.

Why not begin your herbal journey today? Staying healthy has never tasted so good!

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