Herbs are my daily companions. Every recipe just tastes better with herbs, whether it's Provencal Ratatouille or Forager's Pesto. But what if they help to lose weight as well? Would you consider growing them? If yes, you are in the right place. What follows is a list of herbs you can grow yourself and which (supposedly) help with weight loss. To learn more about growing your own food, sign up for my course From the Garden to the Table.
Ginger - Ginger is a spice made from the rhizome of the flowering ginger plant, Zingiber officinale. It is stimulating, moves energy in the body through increasing circulation and promoting digestion. Ginger can be grown indoors (Northern hemisphere) or outdoors depending on the temperature: find out how.
A simple way how to enjoy ginger is to cut it thinly and let steep in hot water, covered, for 10 minutes. Drink hot.
Oregano - perennial herb that belongs to the same plant family as mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and sage and one of my favorite herbs. Oregano is one of the herbs used in so called Herbes de Provence (provencal spices) mix together with savory, thyme and rosemary. Make your own Herbes de Provence by drying and grinding these herbs.
Garlic - Garlic contains a unique compound called allicin that suppresses hunger and boosts metabolism. Garlic also helps to lower cholesterol, improves heart health, and has anti-cancer properties. Caution: If you don't support eating raw garlic, make your own fermented garlic.
Cayenne Pepper is rich in capsaicin, the compound that gives pepper its heat. As a known thermogenic, capsaicin stimulates the body to burn fat to create heat. It has been known to dissolve fat tissue and decrease the intake of calories. I love to sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on my Tulsi Hot Chocolate.
Dandelions have shown to slow down the digestive process. This ensures that you feel full for a longer time, which in turn ensures that you don’t have too much to eat too often. Dandelions are rich in dietary fiber, antioxidants, minerals and Vitamin K1. They also contain beta-carotene, which attacks free radicals and helps protect your liver. Dandelion leaves can be put in your morning smoothie or enjoyed as a salad. Dandelion roots are often used in preparation of bitters.
Turmeric, a bright yellow pigmented root is native to Southern Asia. Curcumin, a compound responsible for turmeric’s bright color, is also responsible for melting fat. Turmeric helps to lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood and helps to reduce inflammation. You can grow turmeric the same way as you do ginger. It thrives beautifully in a container indoors.
Rosemary: perennial herb and one of my favorite herbs. Rosemary is a rich source of the enzyme lipase. Lipase is responsible for breaking down the fat molecules. Rosemary improves digestion and boosts metabolism. It also helps to flush out the toxins from the colon and prevents bloating. I love using rosemary in a hot drink, called Posset.
Coriander seeds: harvested from the plant when the seeds become brown. It is loaded with antioxidants, healthy fats, and minerals such as copper, potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Coriander seeds are highly beneficial for proper digestion, absorption, and help to maintain proper bowel movement. Grind them and use in Indian dishes.
Fennel Seeds: harvested from the fennel plant, which belongs to the carrot family. It is widely used as a culinary spice and also has medicinal uses. It has a sweet taste, helps with digestion (if you're a mom, you definitely know this herb!), prevents bloating, eases constipation problems, is rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
See? You don't need expensive creams and weight loss pills if you grow some herbs in your garden. Plus, it is said, that rosemary should be planted for protection, or so I've heard :)
Some of the information in this article comes from the book Alchemy of Herbs by Rosalee de la Foret.