to help prevent tumours
Some herbs contain phytochemicals called terpenoids which are potent antioxidants, thought to inhibit the growth of tumours.
What to use: Caraway, spearmint, dill, coriander, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, lemongrass, chamomile, basil, rosemary, mint, cardamom, celery seed, fennel and peppermint.
As natural antiseptics
There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that some herbs have antiseptic qualities.
Jekka McVicar says: “Before refrigerators were invented, large households stored cold meats in their cellars, covered in salt and wrapped in fresh sage leaves to preserve it. After shooting, fresh game was left to hang to tenderise along with bunches of fresh thyme, not only to add flavour, but also because thyme’s antiseptic properties helped prevent stomach upsets when the game was eaten.”
What to use: Thyme, sage, rosemary and bay leaves
Herbs with anti-cancer properties
Many herbs contain flavonoids; nutrients widely available in fruits and vegetables and thought to help prevent cancer and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. According to Dr Winston Craig, Professor of Nutrition at Andrews University in the United States, flavonoids help vitamin C work more efficiently as an antioxidant, mopping up the free radicals that cause cancer.
What to use: Onions, rosemary, sage, thyme, chamomile, dandelion, ginkgo, green tea, milk thistle.