Herbs and spices are found in almost every dish people cook. It is what gives food flavor and turns otherwise unpalatable ingredients into something delicious. Each culture has different spices that it favors. Indian foods tend to involve turmeric, cardamom and ginger. Middle Eastern cuisine often contains cinnamon, saffron or cumin. Italians usually cook with oregano, garlic and basil while Mexicans prefer to use chipotles, chili peppers and onions. It is spices that give different cuisines their distinctive tastes. Without spices, chicken piccata, chicken tikka masala and chicken tinga would be almost identical recipes. That said, no one would think of these three dishes as interchangeable. The spices involved are too distinctive.
Herbs and spices do more than simply flavor food. These tasty plants were also some of the earliest medicines. Native Americans realized that willow bark tea could cure headaches and other minor aches and pains. The ancient Norse recognized that dill could soothe an irritable digestive tract. In fact, the name “dill” comes from the Old Norse word “dilla” meaning “lull” or “soothe.” This ancient wisdom was set aside as modern medicine became more and more easily available. While modern medicine is infinitely preferable for moderate to serious illnesses and discomfort, there is no reason to ignore the centuries of wisdom. For mild issues, herbs and spices may be the perfect treatment and come without the nasty chemical taste of pills or capsules. Here are nine herbs that will heal the body while tasting great.