Salute to the Graduates 2011
By: Rabbi Moshe Rafael Seror
Herbs and spices are a great way to liven up a bland dish, and have been used for centuries in cuisines throughout the world. But beyond their enhancement of flavor, research has shown that a little dash of some common spices can promote health and wellbeing.
In his book, Beur Shemot HaRefuot, Rambam discusses in great detail different herbs, spices and medicinal plants, and advises using them as part of a healthy diet.
Essential oil of basil, obtained from its leaves, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit several species of pathogenic bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotic drugs. The plant’s volatile oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and is rich in vitamin K and a good source of iron, calcium, vitamin A, dietary fiber, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
Peppermint, the time honored tummy soother, has been proving itself in the world of health research as having the ability to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including indigestion, dyspepsia, and colonic muscle spasms. Essential oil of peppermint also stops the growth of many different bacteria and has been found to be beneficial in treatment of asthma. In addition, peppermint is a very good source of dietary fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and calcium, vitamin B2, omega-3 fatty acids, potassium and copper.
This humble herb is more than just decorative; it’s an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A. It is also a rich source of anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and folic acid.
Rosemary is known to stimulate the immune system and improve digestion. Components in rosemary enhance a stronger blood flow, and it is thus used to treat disorders characterized by circulatory weakness such as high and low blood pressure, varicose veins, bruises and sprains. In addition, rosemary is a good source of iron, calcium and dietary fiber.
These health-promoting herbs are generally relatively inexpensive and readily available. For those with a green thumb, they can even be grown in small gardens or flower pots.