Most Common Herbs & Spices

Written by leslie martin
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Most Common Herbs & Spices
The most common herbs and spices turn a boring meal into a dazzling dinner. (spices - spezie image by Rido from Fotolia.com)

Herbs and spices bring a zing to culinary dishes and provide health benefits to people all over the world. You can find the most common herbs and spices in any grocery store, and use them to enhance your meals and boost your health.

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Black Pepper

Perhaps the most common spice in the world, black peppercorns (also known as piper nigrum) are berries that grow on a pepper plant. Sprinkle a bit of ground peppercorns on just about any dish--from meat loaf to salad--to add a bit of spicy flavour. Black pepper also consitutes an excellent source of manganese.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Black pepper is common and versatile. (white pepper image by OMKAR A.V from Fotolia.com)

Basil

Basil belongs to the mint family, but adds a unique and peppery flavour to meals. It plays a prominent role in pesto and pasta sauces, and can also accent meat dishes and soups. Basil contains high amounts of flavonoids, vitamin A and magnesium.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Basil makes an excellent addition to pizzas and pasta sauces. (basil image by aliengel from Fotolia.com)

Cinnamon

One of the oldest spices known to man, cinnamon has flavoured foods and cured illnesses for thousands of years. Over 100 different types of cinnamon exist, but the two most common are Ceylon and cassia. Use cinnamon to add depth and heat to warm drinks and extra flavour to baked goods. Cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar, promote circulation and stop fungal and bacterial growth.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Cinnamon added to muffins and cookies brings out the sweetness. (cinnamon image by bluefern from Fotolia.com)

Garlic

The herb garlic, nicknamed "the stinking rose," has a reputation as a superfood for its anti-cancer properties, its ability to protect the cardiovascular system, its function in regulating metabolism, and its effectiveness as an antibiotic. Add garlic to just about any meat dish or sautéed vegetables for extra taste and health benefits. You can use powdered garlic to spice up dishes, but fresh garlic provides the most flavour.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Garlic is a superfood you can use to enhance myriad dishes. (garlic image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com)

Ginger

The ginger we put in our foods is actually the root of the ginger plant: aromatic and spicy. It goes well with teas, baked goods, rice dishes and sushi. Steeping fresh ginger root in boiling water makes a simple tea that helps with digestion and nausea. Ginger serves as a good source of potassium and magnesium.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Ginger is best known for the spice it brings to Asian-inspired dishes. (ginger hand with minced and sliced ginger image by David Smith from Fotolia.com)

Oregano

Oregano means "mountain joy," and it has definitely brought a lot of joy to cooks around the world for centuries. Oregano's versatility lets it work well in tomato-based sauces, Mexican foods and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. It also contains stellar antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Oil of oregano makes a popular health supplement for treating and staving off colds and flu bugs.

Most Common Herbs & Spices
Oregano works well with tomato-based sauces and Mexican dishes. (oregano on an isolated background image by Andrew Brown from Fotolia.com)

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