There is a quote that is attributed to Hippocrates the 5th-century father of herbal medicine that goes "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food", although some people believe that its a misquotation, whether it is or not, there is a lot of truth in the quote today with all that science continues to show us about the medicinal properties of herbs. Yet when most people step into the kitchen to prepare the mint sauce that they will have with their Sunday lunch, they are doing it for flavour and not because they are aware of any medicinal benefits that mint in the mint sauce can provide.
When cooking, most of us know that a little basil will enhance the flavour of tomatoes and that sage can be a perfect partner for poultry dishes, and in kitchens across the world herbs are used to create flavour sensations and bring out the flavours of so many dishes, but what about the health-boosting benefits of these herbs? Like spices, a topic we’ll visit soon, culinary herbs aren’t just flavour enhancers they have powerful health benefits such as antioxidant, anti-bacterial, digestive, diuretic and carminative properties, they can help to keep the memory sharp and calm an upset stomach, choosing the right combinations of herbs to add to your meals, really can result in food being your medicine.
There are some good article regarding your gut health at the end of the article
Basil contains compounds which help the stomach to digest food, gas - sometimes referred to as wind - is caused by undigested or poorly digested food, basil can help reduce intestinal gas and aid digestion. Scientists believe that the eugenol found in basil, that is also found in cloves is partly responsible for the digestive effect of basil, eugenol helps to ease muscle spasms.
As well as aiding the stomach to digest food basil also has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antidepressant, antioxidant, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, emmenagogue, galactagogue, ophthalmic, stomachic and tonic properties. Basil oil mixed with Sweet Orange oil was subject to a study in 2012 on the effectiveness of anti-microbial formulations for acne, with improvements to the skin of up to 75% in those taking part.
The herb contains volatile oils including linalool which has insect repelling properties and methyl chavicol which is being studied for its hepatotoxic properties. Flavonoids including cineole and methyl cinnamate help to generate the balsamic, cinnamon-like aroma of basil. Organic compounds present include rosmarinic acid which is being studied worldwide for its antiviral, antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Fennel Seeds have an aperitif, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactogogue, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge properties. Fennel seeds contain around 50-60% volatile oils including anethole, fenchone, limonene and methyl-chavicol, the latter is highly antiseptic and stimulating to the nervous system and also the immune system.
Fennel also contains anisic aldehyde a compound that is very similar in composition to the vanillin found in vanilla, both chemicals are disliked by insects such as mosquitos. The seeds also contain antioxidants, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory flavonoids including glucuronide, quercetin and rutin. The seeds also contain polysaccharides, tannins, resin, minerals including calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and vitamins including A, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C.
The seeds and extract are used by herbalists to relieve intestinal spasms or cramps due to its carminative properties, more recent studies have linked fennel with the ability to reduce pain, cramps, and duration of dysmenorrhea and give a reduction in symptoms. The carminative properties of fennel help it to ease bloating, wind, and digestive spasms in the small and large intestines, sipping a mug of fennel tea may prove beneficial to people with digestive upsets. Fennel has also been used to help eradicate bad breath, especially if the problem causing the bad breath is coming from the intestines.
Garlic has anthelmintic, anti-asthmatic, anti-bacterial, anti-cholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicide, hypoglycaemic, repellent, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator properties