Stories from Healthy Cooking

The 4 plants that an herbalist wants everyone to keep in their kitchen for healthier bodies and minds

Kells McPhillips

Kells McPhillipsApril 1, 2020

Want to learn all about the four plants an herbalist always keeps on hand? Watch the full video

TBH, you could stock your pantry with hundreds of spices and not even come close to covering all the world’s flavor bases. But when it comes to the best herbs for cooking, there’s a clear and present hierarchy for what you’ll use every day (and what you’ll end up using, like, one teaspoon of in ten years’ time). When it comes to choosing seasonings to elevate even the most boring of dinners, Supernatural founder Rachelle Robinett, says that four plants stand out amongst the other flora and fauna.

Host of Well+Good’s video series Plant-BasedRobinett is well-versed in the things that grow out in nature. And in the most recent episode, she names two green leaves—rosemary and parsley—as two of her MVPs (that’s most valuable plants, folks). Up until now, it’s possible you’ve used the two as mere garnishes, but Robinett says that both of them deserve the healthy spotlight you’d give, say, kale or spinach.

Rosemary, the spice you’ve seen on focaccia and roasted potatoes, is a nootropic, explains Robinett. “Nootropics are another way of describing herbs, supplements, foods, compounds, or things that are great for our brain,” she says. “Rosemary is my personal favorite herb for use in the afternoon when I want a pick-me-up, when I’m not going to have caffeine. When I just need a hit of clairty, I go to rosemary.” A little fun fact to bring up at the dinner table tonight: Robinett says that Ancient Greek scholars used to wear rosemary while they studied to make them smarter… so a nice sprig of rosemary for your computer would be a power move.

As for parsley, Robinett says you can eat it up in its two varieties: curly (which is used for garnish) and flat-leaf (which we use for cooking). “Parsley, like most plants, is high in antioxidants. It’s high in vitamins, particularly A, C, K, and some of the B vitamins,” she says. It also encourages the kidneys, urinary tract, and liver to “release whatever they may be retaining,” adds Robinett. Also, this isn’t really a “health” benefit per se, but parsley does make a bomb base for pesto. And the tea! My gosh!

In short, both of these greens will deliver in nutrition while making your meals taste flavorful and fresh. But to see the other two plants Robinett always keeps in her kitchen, I guess you’ll just have to watch the full video. Won’t you?

Check out Robinett’s two-ingredient face mask and her go-to herbs for producing collagen

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