The tendency can be to view food and medicine as two completely different things, however this should not be the case. Medicinal herbs can and should be considered to be of the same therapeutic order as foods.

When using herbs the focus is primarily on the eliminative function of the body and the regeneration of tissues, known for their cleansing & tonifying properties. Herbalists continue to assert that herbs are foods that build up the health of various body systems, rather than just being medicines that correct specific problems. Many of the plants sold as medicinal herbs have been used as food and/or cultivated for food by various peoples throughout history.

Plant substances can be classified into 3 main categories: nutrient, medicinal-nutrient, and medicinal. In other words, while some plants may be considered to be foods for normal consumption, there are other plants that are strictly medicinal, and often must be used with caution because they can be toxic. Culinary herbs & spices deserve special mention for their medicinal value in cooking. They are foods consumed for health reasons, though not in the same quantities as regular foods. In other words they are considered medicinal foods.

Because of modern nutritional science, we tend to think of foods as substances contain just fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, but in the truth all natural foods are complex mixtures of chemical substances or phytonutrients. All natural foods contain substances that affect the structure or function of the body. In fact the only foods that do not contain these substances are refined foods (like white sugar & flour). The herbs we call foods have an abundance of functional and structural components while medicinal herbs have a greater abundance of those other chemicals (phytonutrients) that alter cellular structure and/or function.

An example of this is fiber. Fiber is a material in plants that cannot be broken down the by the digestives process, however we know that as a food it imparts important health benefits.

How to use Herbs as Food: 

  • Soups
  • Smoothies
  • Compotes
  • Spices
  • Infused oils

Examples of Herbs to use as Food:

  • Leafy Dandelion greens can be added to salads
  • Roots such as ginger and turmeric can be grated and added to dressings, soups and sauces
  • Garlic & Blueberries can be consumed whole
  • Rosemary & Thyme can be infused into oils

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