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Imagine the world without herbs. Your food will taste so bland, right! Herbs add flavor to most dishes, and you can even use them as medicine. The fact is that humans and herbs have a deep connection going back for centuries. Here, we will be going through the different herbs that you can utilize either planted indoor or outdoors.
A History Lesson On Herbs
According to many anthropologists, our ancestors used herbs because of their antibacterial properties. People used them for healing ointments to oils as early as 7000 B.C. In fact, the only medicine used until before 500 B.C. were plants as they had medicinal properties.
During the 1600s and 1700s, when the European colonists settled in North America, they brought beneficial plant seeds with them. Some of the lists of herbs included curly parsley, thyme, chamomile, mint, and so much more.
As time progressed, herbs became a natural, delicious superfood with healing and therapeutic properties. When included to food dishes, it adds a punchy flavor with loads of aroma to make your mouth drool.
So whether you do Italian cooking to French tarragon, adding fresh or dried herbs take the taste and smell to a new level. So today, we will share with you some common herbs you can grow in your kitchen.
25 Common Herbs That You Can Grow In Your Kitchen
For centuries fresh herbs like basil, raw garlic, to other evergreen herbs have been used in French food to fish dishes, and more. So today, we will focus on the culinary herb to create a herb garden in your kitchen.
Flat Leaf Parsley
Scientific Name: Petroselinum crispum
Whether you grow Italian flat-leafed or curly parsley, it is a perennial that keeps growing year after year. The evergreen herb does more than just garnish your plate. You can use it in soup, stock, or stews to give a French bouquet Garni flavoring to dishes.
There is a wide selection of parsley you can grow, including Chinese parsley. Your flat parsley provides a peppery taste while your curly one is on the bland side. Further, the savory is great as palate-cleansers in pasta and egg recipes.
Alternatively, you can substitute basil with it when making pesto. Even growing parsley is easy in partial shade if treated as an outdoor plant on the window cell. All it needs is some slow-release fertilizer or organic compost to help with growth.
Another beneficial thing is that it has vitamin K that helps prevent blood clots, and helps with your bone health. It is also rich in vitamin C which helps avoid severe health conditions like stroke, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Scientific Name: Mentha
The mint family you find is widely distributed across the globe. It is the most aromatic and fragrant herb that adds flavor to food. You will also see it in essential oil, fragrances, and perfumed scents.
If you enjoy drinking mint juleps to mojitos, growing this plant at home is a worthy investment. The fresh taste is warm with a hint of sweetness, making it great for beverages and teas. You can also find two varieties of spice, the mint and spearmint plants.
For preparing food, the herb is used in Thai cuisine such as rolls, while in your Middle Eastern dishes, you find it in tabbouleh a mint tea. Some other food it works with well is chocolate and lamb. Not only does it taste great in food it has medicinal properties as well to cure stomach aches, chest pains, nausea and irritable bowel syndrome.
Scientific Name: Anethum graveolens
Many chefs refer to the dill spice as dill leaf, dill weed, or dillweed. The plant has a thin yet delicate leathery leaf that ranges from dark green to a bluish-greenish color. You find it growing in Eurasia as people use it for the intense flavor and aroma it adds to their food.
The savory is well known and has a tangy yet earthy taste, and is found in dishes from salmon, pickling, sour cream, mayonnaise to corn. Growing it even with a slight bitter taste is has loads of health benefits. It helps relieve insomnia, eases digestion, helps with low cholesterol, eases flatulence and eases diarrhea. So, instead of taking sleeping pills, why not give dill a try?
Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum
The annual herb goes by many names, from Italian basil, Thai basil, purple basil to the Saint Joseph wart. Looking at the purple basil, the leaves are smaller, and the other species all have green foliage.
You can easily confuse the basil plant with the mint family, but remember that mint leaves are tougher and textured when touched. Basil plant is native to Africa and Southeast Asia. Chefs add it to their food for its peppery yet mild anise flavor. Italian basil is sweeter and is used in pesto. In Southeast Asia, it is used in green chicken curry. It also makes a great element for garnishing.
Now, the exciting thing is that many cultures use it in rituals. For example, the French refer to it as a royal herb. In contrast, the Egyptians and Greeks placed the leaves in the mouth of a deceased. The belief is that it opens up the gates to heaven.
Another benefit is that the herb provides medicinal uses with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is abundant in vitamins A, C, and K.
Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare
Oregano belongs to the mint family and is an open perennial plant. Many chefs refer to it as the wild marjoram. The spice is native to Western and Southwestern Eurasia and thrives in the Mediterranean temperature. When grown in colder climates, it is an annual plant.
It is a staple herb found in most American and Italian dishes used as a seasoning for pasta and pizza. When used in food, it has a sweetness combined with spiciness, adding warmth to your meals. However, finding fresh oregano is not easy, but the dried spice has a strong flavor so you can use that instead.
Compared to Mexican oregano, the Greek one is milder to use on pizza, where the forerunner works well in chili dishes. A noticeable thing about the plant is the flat yet oval leaves that can be smooth or fuzzy. Sometimes people mistake it for marjoram, but there is a vast difference in the taste.
The green leaves also release oil that works well for indigestion, skin conditions, respiratory ailments, and fungal infections.
Scientific Name: Melissa officinalis
The herbaceous perennial has light green leaves but is coarse at the same time. The plant belongs to the mint family and looks almost the same. You find it growing in central Asia, Europe, Iran, and the Mediterranean regions.
The herb is a popular flavoring for ice creams. It also tastes great as a flavoring in hot or cold teas. Sometimes chefs pair it with fruit dishes or use it to make lemon balm pesto. But this evergreen herb offers more medicinal uses that date back to 2,000 years.
The Greeks and Romans called it the elixir of life as it helps reduce anxiety, treats gastrointestinal problems, helps cure Alzheimer’s, and alleviates insomnia.
Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis
Now, if there is one expensive herb, it is sage. The perennial plant grows as a shrub, and many gardeners refer to it as garden sage, common sage, or clary sage. The species is of the same family as mint.
In cooking, it makes for a terrific flavoring. especially if you enjoy pasta, sauces, and poultry. You get a robust minty flavor, and it works well in beverages and herbal teas.
This herb plant has a long history that comes for centuries for its healing and cooking properties. For example, in ancient times, people used the plant to ward off evil or used it to treat snakebites. It also helps treat throat and mouth infections, brain disorders, and gastric ailments when infused like tea. Interestingly, the name sage means salvation or to be saved.
Scientific Name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Who does not know the rosemary herb? It has a woody stalk that grows on an evergreen shrub. It is one of the most favorable yet aromatic herbs you can find. The plant is native to the Mediterranean area and also part of the mint family.
The name comes from the Latin word meaning dew of the sea. The herb gas has a gorgeous scent that is strong, and the flavor is astringent. For this reason, it works well for stuffed chicken, lamb, or turkey. Or you can roast it with your meats and veggies. While it tastes great in food, it also has a natural remedy to help sooth indigestion and relieve pain, calm the mind and fight stress and anxiety.
Scientific Name: Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel is another Mediterranean herb that adds loads of flavor to your food. The perennial herb belongs to (not the mint family) but the carrot family. You find it growing on dry soils, near the ocean and river banks.
It is a highly prized spice used for centuries by the Greeks and Romans. People used it in their food and for medicine. The leaves have a sweetish taste, but a mild spice with an earthy scent kicks in. You can use it in meat-based dishes, soups, to salads.
The fascinating thing is that you get a male and female fennel, and the main difference is their shape. The male has a rounder shape while the female is longer. Another benefit is that the herb is rich in vitamins, calcium, protein, iron and magnesium.
You can enjoy eating it to help maintain your blood pressure, boost your metabolism, and fight inflammation.
Scientific Name: Allium schoenoprasum
People prefer using this herb in their food to replace leeks, garlic, or onion. You find the plant spread across Europe, Asia, and North America. You see this perennial growing in clumps and has underground bulbs that grow hollow leaves.
The herb tastes divine in sour cream and is a delicate French cuisine herb. You can add it to eggs, salad, potatoes, soups, and veg dishes. Another interesting fact is that this spice dates back to the Middle Ages. The Romans believed that the herb cured sunburn and helped relieve a sore throat.
Another thing it helps with is controlling your blood pressure and gives you strength.
Scientific Name: Thymus vulgaris
The herb is another Meditteranean perennial dating back to ancient times. It was brought to Europe as time progressed, where the Romans used it to purify rooms.
You find English thyme used in dishes such as French, Italian, and more. You can use it fresh or as a dried spice. It has a powerful scent and is filled with vitamin A to help with nails, skin, and eye health. You can use it to fight colds, allergies, and coughs. Or, just pop the leaves into your bath to relax.
Scientific Name: Mentha × Piperita
Now, do not get confused with the mint herb as this plant is between a watermint and spearmint. So it is a hybrid of the mint variety. You find the plant cultivated worldwide from Europe to the Middle East. When you keep it in a moist habitat with drainage, it grows well.
Many people use it for breath-freshening and also helps with digestion concerns. In addition, you can use it in food dishes to garnish salads or refresh beverages. A well-known use of the herb is peppermint oil used to treat bowel syndrome.
Scientific Name: Cymbopogon citratus
This herb looks like grass, thus its name. Many people refer to it as silky heads or barbed wiregrass. It is a popular spice you find used in Asian cuisines. The citrusy flavor makes it ideal to use in curries, stews, and soups. Still, you can drink it as tea or use it as a cough remedy, digestion problems, or a sore throat.
Scientific Name: Laurus nobilis
The herb is aromatic with an incredible scent smelling like balsam, mint, and cloves. It has a peppery taste and is favored to use in soups and stews. The herb is found in various varieties, including the Indonesian, West Indian, Indian, and California bay leaf. The aroma in all of them is noticeable compared to the taste. Even the Greeks, Europeans, and French use it in their dishes.
Scientific Name: Eryngium foetidum
The herb has serrated leaves looking like lettuce and is a tropical perennial that many people confuse with coriander. In terms of the aroma and flavor, it has a strong taste, and you need to use it sparingly. Whether you want to season meat, marinate, or garnish, it can retain color and flavor. You can use it in tea to help combat constipation and flu.
Scientific Name: Anthriscus cerefolium
The savory is delicate, with green leaves looking like parsley. You find it native to the Caucasus, but it is popular in Europe. The taste is similar to anise and enhances the flavor of salads, veg, fish, eggs, and chicken. It is also classified as a delicate French herb and has medicinal values to help with the digestive system, hiccups, and lower blood pressure.
Scientific Name: Artemisia dracunculus
Tarragon is a perennial savory herb that belongs to the sunflower family. People use it as medicine and in food dishes. It is another spice with a strong anise flavor and a classic for egg dishes, stews, chicken, seafood, and stews.
It is considered another delicate herb by the French as it is the crucial ingredient in Bearnaise sauce. You can brew it for herbal tea as it relieves anxiety and stress, or you chew on it to numb pain in the mouth.
Scientific Name: Coriandrum sativum
While the savory cilantro and coriander come from the same plant, the cilantro is the fresh herbs, while the latter is a seed. Using it in dishes presents a versatile flavor and tastes like lemon yet has a subtle tartness. The seeds are spicy to kick the power of flavor. You can use it in veggies, salads, meat, or salsas. It also has medicinal purposes helps for the digestion system, inflammation, and stress in your liver.
Scientific Name: Satureja montana
The savory has gorgeous summer flowers, and you find it growing on mountain slopes, hills, old walls, and dry banks. It is a delicious spice to add to most recipes. And yes, it belongs to the mint family as it has the same fresh mint flavor. One thing this spice has is multiple health properties like antiseptic, digestive, flatulence, colic, sore throat and diarrhea.
Scientific Name: Stevia rebaudiana
If you want to add natural sweetness to your food, then this savory is what you need. It is also part of the sunflower species and used for sweetening medicines and teas. The best part it contains no calories, and it helps treat stomach ailments, colic, and burns.
Scientific Name: Lavandula
The plant with its striking purple flowers is well known by all. The term lavender comes from an old word in French, “lavandre,” which refers to infusion. The commercial value of this plant is high and used in different products from essential oils, teas to medicine. A well-known cuisine is a lavender jam that is the favorite of Queen Elizabeth. Still, you can use the flowers to decorate drinks or desserts.
Scientific Name: Matricaria chamomilla
As with lavender, chamomile is also well-known and a daisy-like flower used in herbal teas. Since ancient times people have used it to treat an upset tummy, high fever, and inflammation. While it is not used in the food, you can use it in your teat with its health properties to help sleep, digestive system, heart health, and more.
Scientific Name: Myrtus
One historical spice is myrtle, as you find it coming up in the Bible a couple of times. The hardy evergreen shrub has dark green foliage with a strong fragrance. People use it for fever, pain, and skin conditions. You can use it to prepare a soothing herbal tea to lower your blood pressure. You can also use it as a replacement for bay leaves as it has a spicy flavor.
Scientific Name: Myrrhis odorata
The herbaceous perennial is known as sweet chervil or garden myrrh. When you crush the leaves, it releases a powerful smell similar to aniseed. You can use it raw or in cooked food, and it also has a rich history of medicinal use.
Scientific Name: Origanum majorana
Compared to the other savories, this one is an annual plant known as pot marjoram that belongs to the oregano family. People used it in love spells in ancient times, but today you find it used in Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It tastes similar to oregano but is sweeter.
List of Complete Herbs from A-Z
There is nothing more satisfying than growing a garden filled with herbs. Here is a detailed list of seasonings you can find:
- Aloe Vera
- Bee balm
- California bay
- Cuban Oregano
- Dittany of Crete
- Gingko Biloba
- Lemon Balm
- Lemon Verbena
- Licorice Root
- Milk Thistle
- Myrtle Plant
- St Johns Wort
- Sweet bay
- Sweet cicely
- Sweet Grass
- Sweet woodruff
- Tulsi / Holy Basil
- Witch Hazel
Now that you have seen all the different herbs you can grow on your window sill or in your garden, it’s time for you to choose your favorites. Why not check out what Plantly has to offer. You may even find a savory or two available right here with us.