Before the end of 2009, I was assigned to make the 2010 calendar for our institution. The production team suggested that we feature the indigenous herbs and spices in the Philippines, since we support the promotion of these plants as part of the indigenous plant for health and wellness RDE program of the department of agriculture.
In the process, I am instructed to choose twelve (12) most popular herbs and spices in the country. I selected sweet basil, thyme, parsley, peppermint, rosemary, cilantro, tarragon, oregano, and fennel for herbs group and chives, black pepper and turmeric for spices group.
Even they were tag as “most popular” it wasn’t for me. In fact, it was my first encounter to those plants except for oregano. As I search for their uses and functions, I was amazed, that these plants – actually “ignored” plants are indeed very useful. I would like to share to you what I’ve learned in the making of this calendar…
Since I already featured the uses and functions of sweet basil, parsley and peppermint in my previous posts I won’t be discussing it here.
So let’s start with rosemary.
The fresh or dried leaves of rosemary are excellent flavoring in vegetables, meat, sauces, stews, herb butters, cream soups, fruit salads, jams, biscuits, and bread. Together with chopped parsley and sweet butter, rosemary is spread on chicken for roasting. The oil extracted from the flowering tops and leaves is used to season processed foods, but for the most part, it is used in perfumes, in scenting soap, detergents, household sprays, and other related products. Rosemary contains natural antioxidants and is popular in aroma therapy. It is also used as astringent, diuretic and to enhance menstrual flow. Rosemary is high in iron, calcium, and Vitamin B6.
Another herb that makes me amaze was…
Tarragon . It is known to give flavor on fish, poultry, pork and lamb dishes, fresh tarragon leaves are also used in salads and as garnishes. Extracted oil from tarragon contains anti-rheumatic, aperitif (stimulate the appetite before meals), deodorant, emmenagogue (stimulate menstruation), stimulant and vermifuge (medicines that expels intestinal worms) properties. It is also used to give fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Wow, amazing! Don’t you believe that all this expensive medicinal properties can only be found in tarragon. So why don’t you start eating tarragon now, especially those ladies who have difficulty in their monthly period.
The next herb is thyme.
Thyme is used both fresh and dried, and is one of the few herbs that retains its flavor even after drying. It is used in folkloric medicine to ease cough and bronchitis. It contains high level of antioxidants that help fight cancer and other diseases. A thyme infusion has antibacterial properties thus it can be used as a natural rinse for fresh vegetables, particularly those that will be consumed raw. It is also good as a mouth wash, as it freshens breath and kills germs naturally.
See, we usually ignored these plants but unknowingly they are very important. That’s why our grandpa’s and grandma’s have reason to rely on it. With that, some of the research institutions are now making studies on the old medicinal plants to find out what are in there and to validate these folkloric medicines.
Watch for the next part of this article… Thanks for reading.