As Christmas season approaches, were all busy on our individual schedules – processing documents for payments before the year-end book closes. Hurry in getting the trip schedule going home to provinces, busy shopping to find for the very best gifts for nephews and visiting seasonal destinations as part of the family bonding or a treat for your kiddies, and many more.
I almost can’t find time to seat back in front of my computer. However, as I promised I must continue the article about the most popular herbs and spices in the Philippines, its uses and functions for culinary and medicine.
We have discussed lately the uses and functions of rosemary, tarragon and thyme. This time around let’s put on the spot the benefits of oregano, fennel and cilantro.
Oregano is a very popular in the provinces to treat cough and colds especially for the babies. I think this is the most popular among herbs in the country, in fact this plant can be found anywhere even in the cities of manila hanging on the garage, in the veranda and even on sidewalks planted in an improvise pot – the empty infant-milk-can.
Oregano leaves for cooking is not popular in the country, however, it can be use for that purpose to give a strong flavor. It is use as an excellent addition to stuffings for meat and poultry. When finely chopped, they are used to flavor meat dishes, especially beef, lamb, and game.
A good source of plant oxygen, vitamins B and C, calcium, and iron. According to studies, oregano improves digestion, metabolism, and blood circulation. It cures dyspepsia (kabag), flatulence, asthma, chronic and dry coughs, bronchitis, and effectively removes phlegm. It eases rheumatism and chronic fatigue. It is a natural antibiotic; has antiviral, antiparasitic and antioxidant properties and is a good dietary supplement.
Fennel. Though this herb is included in the most popular I personally don’t know about this herb. But according to some culinary experts, the bulbs, leaves, and seeds of fennel are all used in cooking. The taste of fresh fennel is aromatic and sweet, similar to dill.
The fennel bulb is a crisp root vegetable that may be eaten raw, sauteed, grilled, or added to soups and stews. It is traditionally used in medicine to treat chills and stomach problems. Making strong tea with fennel seeds is very effective in relieving bloating and gas.
The leaves can be boiled, steam inhaled to relieve croup, asthma, and bronchitis. It contains anethole, an antiseptic, alongside other pharmacologically active substances. Meanwhile, fennel oil is used in the manufacture of soaps and perfumes.
Cilantro. Yes, I know this stuff. One time I saw my colleague eating this when we have gathering in exclusive restaurants in manila. Cilantro leaves are usually used as topping in some dishes of beefs.
Some people find the taste overwhelming, but many love the fresh green zing of cilantro. The seeds, dried and ground, lend a warm, nutty, and orangey flavor to dishes, and are often used to flavor curries and stews. Its seeds are also added to German sausages.