Aromatic Herbs Hold Potent Health Benefits

As the primary ingredient in pesto, basil is a staple in Italian cooking. The herb has a refreshing flavor that can complement many culinary styles. The compounds in basil have antibacterial properties that can protect the body against pathogens and free radical damage. According to Natural News, studies have found that basil reduced inflammation and swelling in patients with arthritis by approximately 73 percent. Like many prescription drugs, basil inhibits an enzyme that causes inflammation. Further, researchers noted that the oil in fresh basil leaves can help acne heal faster by clearing pore-clogging bacteria from the skin. Applying fresh basil directly on the face can have immense skin-clearing results.

Parsley has been used as both a medicinal plant and culinary herb for centuries. Like basil, this potent herb has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. According to the Journal of Natural Remedies, a daily dose of 1 to 2 grams of parsley extract per kilogram of body weight significantly reduced inflammation. However, parsley is more commonly known as a medicinal aid for the urinary tract and related organs. The plant has diuretic effects which can aid discomfort related to urinary tract infections, kidney stones, gastrointestinal disorders, constipation, flatulence, indigestion and fluid retention.

Thyme has strong antibacterial properties that can kill harmful substances both in and out of the body. As a natural antiseptic, a thyme derivative called thymol is even used as an germ-killing ingredient in mouthwash. Fragrant thyme oil contains medicinal properties that are known to help with problems in the throat and airways.According to the Teikyo University of Medicinal Mycology, thyme contains the essential oil that works best to eliminate disease-causing germs from these organs, and can be used to for upper respiratory infection, strep throat, the flu, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, tonsillitis and bad breath.

Rosemary is an herb that is commonly used in Mediterranean dishes. With strong antioxidant properties, rosemary helps neutralize harmful free radicals that can affect cell DNA or cell membranes. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, rosemary has many medicinal uses, including improved memory, relieved muscle spasm and pain, and circulatory and nervous system support. Research shows that smelling rosemary oil can help increase memory and concentration and reduce stress and anxiety.