Herbs are plants with leaves, seeds and flowers that are eaten or used to flavor foods. Herbs have been used by people since the beginning of time. Some herbs can also be used as medicine.
Herbs can be grown in the wild, in a garden or flower bed or even in your house. It is important that you know what herbs look like and how to use them. If you don’t you might accidentally use a poisonous plant or use an herb in the wrong way.
How to use herbs
Herbs can be used fresh or dried. Some herbs have a stronger flavor when they are dried, but others have a stronger flavor when fresh.
Herbs are used differently Sometimes you use the root of the herb. Other times you use the…
Herbs like basil and cloves are used to flavor foods, but are not eaten. Other herbs are usually not eaten, but they can be. Dill is one of those herbs. Dill is used to make dill pickles (duh). Most people won’t eat the actual stems or dill flowers, but the dried seeds are used in dips and lots of different foods.
Some herbs need to be used with other things to make them taste good. For example, cinnamon is very bitter by itself. But when you mix cinnamon and sugar…
Herbs as medicine
Let’s look at some herbs that are used as medicine and how they can help you.
- Aloe The juice from the aloe plant soothes burns and sunburns. Some people drink aloe juice for a stomach ache.
- Black walnuts Heals poison ivy and warts
- Cinnamon Kills viruses
- Cloves Helps get rid of a toothache
- Garlic Good for the heart, helps fight infection, kills bacteria, gets rid of toxins in the body
- Ginger Gets rid of a stomach ache and nausea
- Lavender Helps you relax, helps you sleep
- Oregano Fights viruses and bacteria like antibiotics do
- Mint Gets rid of gas and stomach aches and helps you relax and rest
IMPORTANT: Do not use herbs as medicine without your parent’s permission and help.
Now let’s look at how you can use herbs to make your food taste better…
- Mint can be used for making tea. You can also use the leaves in fruit salads
- Cloves are used to give ham, fruit pies and beets a flavor that is very different…in a good way.
- Parsley tastes a little like celery. The tops of parsley are eaten fresh to get rid of bad breath.
- Saffron is one of the most expensive herbs to use. It is a yellow powder that comes from the saffron flower. It is a mild herb people like to use on rice.
- Rosemary is a strong herb used in pasta sauces, lamb and with potatoes. Rosemary tastes like sweet mustard with a minty taste, too. Weird, huh? But it’s not bad.
Because herbs have such strong smells and tastes, people who lived a long time ago thought some herbs had magical powers. They thought herbs could:
- Make people fall in love
- Make you smart
- Cause you to be go crazy
- Make you strong
- Give you the power to heal people
Ask your parents to help you gather all the herbs and spices in your house. Take a little taste of each one. What do you think? Which ones do you like? Which ones taste awful?
Read more about Plant Facts for Kids