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The arrival of spring makes me think more about my health. The weather is perfect for exercising outdoors and the world is starting to turn green. The weather is also just right for many herbs that not only have culinary benefits but health benefits as well. Some of these herbs pack more of a healthy punch than more commonly known healthy fruits and vegetables.

Cilantro

Cilantro is high in antioxidants and it’s antimicrobial properties help prevent urinary tract and other infections. Studies show cilantro has helped lower blood sugar and support the liver making it beneficial for people with diabetes. It is high in calcium, potassium, vitamin A and Vitamin K. Did I mention salsa and guacamole? You can’t go wrong.

Chamomile

Known as a calming herb, chamomile is often used to make tea that promotes relaxation and sleep. In addition to calming our nervous system and relieving insomnia, chamomile also calms our digestive system, eases muscle tension and aches that accompany the common cold and influenza. Stress is known to prohibit healing so using chamomile can assist in healing the whole body.

Garlic

Is garlic an herb? There is some debate as to which category garlic fits into, but we know it is closely related to the onion, leek and shallot. We also know it’s a powerhouse of health benefits. Garlic has significant antimicrobial properties and helps fight bad bacteria and viruses while supporting the digestive tract with healthy bacteria. It benefits the respiratory system by fighting common infections like bronchitis, the common cold and influenza. Garlic can even be taken as a daily preventative.

Stinging Nettle

If you don’t have a green thumb you may be able to forage for healthy herbs. Stinging nettle is found all over North America, often in rich, moist soil, nearby streams. You will have to wear gloves to harvest it, but nettle loses its stinging properties when it is dried or cooked. Nettle defends against spring allergies such as hay fever and clears mucus associated with congestion. Nettle is also a digestive aid and reduces water retention. Externally it is used to ease arthritis and is also effective as a gargle for a sore throat. Nettle is commonly used to make tea but the internet is full of other recipes for this healthy wild plant.

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