Herbs are non-woody, fleshy-stemmed plants with a variety of fragrances and uses, according to The Herb Society of America. The small, seed bearing plants are especially useful in the kitchen.
Parsley. This vitamin-filled herb has a lovely light and fresh taste. It is often the star of Middle Eastern dishes such as the ubiquitous, healthful and delicious tabouli, a salad that combines parsley, lemon, olive oil, chopped onions and tomatoes. Parsley also is abundant in Italian cooking, finding its way into pasta toppings and meatballs, for example. According to “The World’s Healthiest Foods” from the foundation of noted nutritionist and author George Mateljan, parsley is loaded with Vitamin K, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Parsley also may have antioxidant power thanks to its myristicin and flavonoid content.
Basil. This warmth-loving herb is a wonderful addition to any cuisine but is very common in Italian and Asian cooking. Basil is a fragrant, slightly spicy herb often found in pesto. The flavonoids and volatile oils provide antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is considered by some to be a sacred herb bringing peace, success and affection.
Sage. The tender sage leaf is sweet yet savory to the taste, full of Vitamin A, iron and potassium. Flavonoids and phenolic acids give it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A strong herb, it pairs well with fatty meats and is often associated with pork sausage and poultry stuffing. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies by Native American and other cultures to clean away bad feelings and restore positive energy to an area, dwelling or person.
Rosemary. Offering a slightly woody, pine scent, rosemary is found in dishes from all regions but most notably Italian cuisine. It is a good source of fiber, iron and calcium. Rosemary is considered by some to be an anti-inflammatory agent and aid in blood flow. Spiritually speaking, rosemary is a protector against evil, ensures fidelity and gives power to women, according to Herb Magic.
Thyme. The French boquet-garni contains fragrant thyme, and the herb is also used in Italian cooking, among other cuisines. A Vitamin K rich herb, it is a good source of iron, manganese and calcium. The compound thymol, named after the herb, is present in thyme. This volatile oil has strong antibacterial properties and is even used as a natural pesticide to control mites and other pests. Thyme is also burnt to encourage positive feelings, cleanse spaces of negative energy and bring health and courage.