The Benefit: Basil is rich in antioxidants that mop up cell-damaging free radicals inside the body. This can help prevent a host of unwanted conditions, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and high cholesterol. Basil also contains oils that prevent bacteria growth and inflammation.
The Benefit: Thank the menthol in peppermint for the plant's ability to clear phlegm and mucus from the bronchial tract to facilitate easy breathing. And also for soothing indigestion, gas, menstrual cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome.
The Benefit: Like rosemary, sage is known to strengthen memory. The rosemerinic acid in these plants also works to preserve your body by protecting your cells from oxidative damage and alleviating the effects of asthma and arthritis.
The Benefit: Call it the smart spice. Many people swear by rosemary's ability to increase cognitive functioning, and researchers in California have identified carnosic acid as an active ingredient in rosemary that can offset cognitive degeneration, protect against Alzheimer's, and prevent stroke.
The Benefit: This tiny herb is extremely rich in iron, which is crucial to your body's ability to transport oxygen. Just 2 teaspoons contain 20 percent of your daily intake. Plus, seasoning with thyme helps protect food from bacterial contamination.
The Benefit: In mice studies, coriander seeds, from the cilantro plant, encouraged the pancreas to produce more insulin-the hormone that helps shuttle glucose into the cells to be burned as energy. This prevents excess blood sugars from being stored as fat. Cilantro leaves have the same benefits.
The Benefit: By increasing the secretion of bile and acids into the stomach, tarragon improves gastric efficiency and whets the appetite. Because of this, it's best used early in the meal as an appetizer.
The Benefit: A USDA study found that when adjusted for weight, it had four times the antioxidant activity of blueberries. That means big cancer-fighting potential for your next pizza or pasta sauce.
The Benefit: These dainty leaves are highly concentrated with luteolin, a powerful flavonoid with anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers at the University of Illinios found that luteolin decreased inflammation in the brain, which helps prevent decline in cognitive functions.