I am sometimes asked about the difference between herbs for cooking and taking herbs for specific health benefits.
From the Ayurvedic perspective food is medicine, so whether you are cooking with herbs or taking them as a formula, they can be beneficial to your health.
Summer is governed by the elements of Fire and Water (Pitta) so using the Ayurvedic wisdom of opposites, including cooling herbs in food is very beneficial. The earth knows what we need, so these foods are in season. What a gift!
Here are a few culinary herbs that can be very helpful in the summertime:
Cilantro/Coriander - a cooling digestive aid, both the dried powder from the seed of cilantro (coriander) and fresh leaves and stems from the cilantro plant have many uses in the kitchen. Add the powder to cooked dishes like beans, grains, and vegetables. The fresh leaves of cilantro can be used in salsas, guacamole, salads, juiced, or as a garnish for almost any meal, It is also a great liver cleanser.
Hibiscus - used in many tropical countries to cool and nourish during hot weather. High in vitamin C, fruity and lovely with mint. Use the dried flower or powder to make tea or add to cooked fruit.
Mint - cooling, calming, digestive aid. Mint can be made into a refreshing tea or added to salads, sauces, chutneys, or cooked dishes to add a refreshing element.
Turmeric - widely known for its anti-inflammatory benefits as well as a digestive aid. Fresh turmeric, or turmeric powder, can be added to a variety of cooked dishes as well as used in tea or an evening cup of golden milk (it's what makes it gold).
I encourage you to cook more at home, from scratch, if at all possible. Notice how food affects how you feel.
What medicinal/culinary herbs have you enjoyed using in your kitchen this summer?