The Healthy Variety Of Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are one of the affordable luxuries of life. If you've never tried fresh herbs, treat yourself. They seem to wake up your taste buds and open your mouth up to a whole new level of taste that could be dulled by too much processed foods. Fresh herbs are great in salads, sauces, soups, entrées, sandwiches and your medicine cabinet.
Native American legend teaches that the Bear showed mankind the medicinal benefits of the plants and trees that were all around them. One of the theories of herbal medicine's beginnings was that people observed the plants their animals ate when they were ill. Making medicinal teas, salves, tinctures, essential oils, compresses and powders from dried and fresh herbs were recorded in Sumerian tablets which are over 5,000 years old. Herbal healing is prominently mentioned in the Ayurveda, India's oldest written work which is arguably much older than the Sumerian tablets, as the written Ayurveda was preceded by an oral tradition.
Modern medicines are derived from plants and herbs. The main ingredient in aspirin was found in white willow bark. The medicine digitalis, used for heart trouble, was derived from the plant foxglove. Author, pharmacist and chartered herbalist Earl Mindell estimates in Earl Mindell's Herb Bible that as much as 80% of the world's population rely on herbal medicine.
Advantages Of Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs have more of the "goodness" in them. If used for cooking, they really can add a lot more flavor than dried herbs. You need to use at least twice as much fresh herbs as dried in a recipe or herbal healing concoction. Fresh herbs go off very quickly, like other fresh produce, so you might want to either by very small amounts at the grocery store or grow your own in flowerpots for your personal use. Fresh herbs have a wonderful smell that can wake up all of your senses.
If you choose to harvest fresh herbs from the great outdoors, be very careful. You should absolutely know why plant it is you are picking. If in doubt, leave it alone. Don't harvest herbs by roadsides or sidewalks, as they are usually contaminated with pesticides and toxins from car exhaust fumes. Choose quiet patches in woodlands or by rivers where you know haven't been sprayed with pesticides. It is traditional to ask the fresh herb's permission to harvest it before you do, and then an offering at the site, such a s breadcrumbs, milk, coins or a stick of plant food.