Food plays a critical role in providing fuel for the body as well as nourishment. It is important that we feed our bodies foods that are free from pesticides and other harsh chemicals that can cause adverse effects to our health. At Govinda Valley, we maintain an organic garden which features vegetables such as kale, spinach, lettuce, pumpkins and also contains a variety of herbs. These vegetables and herbs are incorporated in the meals that we provide here. Organic herbs can be easily grown at home and can provide fresh flavor and add nutrition to our meals. Below are several herbs found right in our organic garden and some of their beneficial properties.
Mint is commonly used in candies, gum, and tea due to its invigorating and refreshing flavor. Mint helps to promote digestion and helps to soothe the stomach in the event of indigestion. The menthol oil derived from mint may also help in soothing nausea and mitigating headaches. The strong aroma of this herb is also effective in clearing up congestion of the nose, throat, bronchi, and throat and is beneficial to those who suffer from asthma.
Coriander/cilantro is a versatile herb which can be used in a variety of dishes to add zest and flavor. It's deep green leaves are packed with antioxidants and vitamins such as Vitamin A which is important for maintaining a healthy vision and immune system. Coriander is a good source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Coriander is also a powerful cleansing agent that helps to rid the body of toxic metals such as aluminum, arsenic, and cadmium. At Govinda Valley we use it in various meals, but you might taste it the most in our famous kitchari.
Parsley is often used fresh on dishes such as salads, soups and is often used as a garnish. Fresh parsley, as well as fresh basic, gives special flavour to Pad Thai, or Laksa soup. Not only does this herb help to enhance the color and flavor of a dish but it also contains nutrients such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and Potassium. Parsley is also a good source of folic acid which plays an important role in cardiovascular health. Parsley and other green herbs also contain flavonoids such as Myricetin and chlorophyll which a shown to be effective in preventing certain types of cancer.
Rosemary is often used to flavor vegetables, pastas or homemade breads. The aroma of rosemary is linked to improving mood and relieving stress which makes this herb useful as an essential oil in aromatherapy. Rosemary also contains antioxidants that serve give this herb anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Rosemary oil can also be used topically and is shown to have beneficial effects on skin and hair.
Written by: Jenny Yoon
Illustration by: Ren'e Hunter