This green jewel of the Mediterranean region was first used as medicinal plant by ancient Greeks. Incredibly nutrient-rich, it can help regulate blood-sugar levels and its various compounds have been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Another native of the Mediterranean, rosemary was used as a ‘cognitive stimulant’ long before the positive effects of rosmarinic acid and other essential oils (cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate) were properly understood. Even now, evidence suggests that rosemary can improve memory and relieve anxiety through mechanisms that doctors are still trying to unravel.
Somewhat secondary to rosemary, in that many of its benefits are rooted in the rosmarinic acid it shares with that other herb. Sage was once used to ward off evil by ancient medicine men, and it still serves that purpose, if you regard the inflammation, degenerative diseases, various skin conditions and blood sugar issues it can alleviate as evil.
Known to science as ‘mentha’, this distinctive-smelling herb has been freshening breath for thousands of years. The aroma activates the salivary glands and releases digestive enzymes that achieve a stomach-soothing effect, thereby working against gastric disorders and related nausea.
Between its seeds and leaves, coriander carries 11 essential oils and six types of acid (including ascorbic acid, or vitamin C), as well as many of the same minerals as the herbs listed above. It has proven effective in treating everything from high cholesterol levels to mouth ulcers, anaemia and conjunctivitis.