Herbs and spices have been used by cultures worldwide throughout history, not only as flavor and color enhancers but also for the many health benefits found in them. The standard American diet is lacking greatly in this very important food group. For example, I read an article many years ago that stated the only time that the very beneficial herb turmeric was included in the American diet was as a coloring agent in yellow cake!
Herbal food practices have been around for centuries, and one of my favorite examples is Masala Chai. Chai tea, as it is most commonly known, originated from India and Siam. The folklore surrounding Chai dates back to about 5000-9000 years ago to an ancient royal court. It was said that the reigning king created the recipe as a healing Ayurvedic beverage. Chai has been prepared in many different ways with various ingredients, and it wasn’t until the 1930’s that black tea was added to the drink. It was served hot or cold and before or after meals for minor ailments. Today’s science and research on herbs show that herbs with bitter qualities aid in digestion, can you guess what kind of herbs are in Chai!?
We can add more herbs to our diets by using fresh and dried herbs. We can add them to salads, drinks, sweets, and main dishes. We can make teas, elixirs, and bitters. We can infuse oils and vinegar. We can take tinctures and supplements.
One of the easiest and my favorite ways are cookies! This is a great way to introduce herbs to your diet. Get creative with flavor combinations. I love lavender, rosemary and cinnamon, rose and hibiscus, basil and lime, lemon and lemon balm, tulsi and honey, mint, and raw cacao. I also love rosemary and cinnamon, rose and hibiscus, basil and lime, lemon and lemon balm, tulsi and honey, mint, and raw cacao.
Shae’s Herbal Shortbread Cookies
It can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.