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Herbs for health

Most people recognize that herbs add flavor to recipes, and maybe some of you know they have nutritional values, too. While not new to many, herbs are now becoming popular for their health and beauty benefits.

Linda Strader

For example, basil has long accompanied tomato based soups and sauces, but did you know it is a mood uplifter? Chives, with their mild onion flavor, are a powerhouse of nutrients, but also reduce cholesterol.

Cilantro, standard in many Mexican dishes, aids in digestion. Remember that the next time you enjoy a spicy burrito. The parsley decoration on your plate when you eat out is usually tossed, but you should eat it! Not only does it aid digestion, but it is high in Vitamin C.

The common Rosemary, which loves the desert climate, is also a powerhouse for not only nutritional benefits, but its oils are good for hair and skin.

All of these plants do quite well in the Tucson area. Basil should be planted in the spring. Chives can be planted spring or fall. Cilantro is a winter herb, so plant in November and December to pick in the spring. Rosemary species abound, but only two are considered good for eating. The Trailing and Tuscan Blue varieties taste the best. These are long lived plants, and are hard to start from seed, so purchase a plant to ensure success.

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