Pan International and Pan Asian Vegan Cuisine from Chef Danny V.
Thai Herbs and their Healthy Benefits
Lime: Citrusy and full of vitamin C, limes are used to flavor Thai entrees and noodle dishes such as Pad Thai and are a great source of vitamin C.
Lemongrass is used for its zesty and light lemony flavor in many Thai dishes. It also has numerous health benefiting essential oils, chemicals, minerals and vitamins that are known to have anti-oxidant and disease preventing properties. The health benefits of lemongrass include relief from stomach disorders, insomnia, respiratory disorders, fever, aches, infections, rheumatism and edema. The defensive antioxidant activity of the lemongrass herb protects against antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and helps in maintaining optimum cholesterol levels, cellular health, nervous system, healthy skin and immune system. Lemongrass is also effective in treating type 2 diabetes, cancer, and obesity, while also aiding in detoxification. It is extensively used in aromatherapy and helps to combat fatigue, anxiety and body odor. In Ayurvedic medicine a preparation of lemongrass with pepper has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea.
Thai chili contains up to seven times the vitamin C of an orange and commonly helps relieve congestion and increase metabolism and circulation.
Shallots have higher quantities of antioxidant compounds, minerals, and vitamins than onions and garlic.
Tamarind: As most ancient foods do, tamarind has a long history of medicinal uses. Many involve easing stomach discomfort, aiding digestion, and use as a laxative. Tamarind preparations are used for fevers, sore throat, rheumatism, inflammation, and sunstroke.
Ginger is known to have a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as juice.
Mint: Mint is a great appetizer or palate cleanser, and it promotes digestion. It is a soothing herb that has been used for thousands of years to aid upset stomach or digestion.
Basil: Basil leaves compose of several health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The herb is very low in calories and contain no cholesterol.
Galangal: Fresh galangal has a pure and refreshing odor and an mildly spicy ginger-like flavor. The pungent aromatic oil of the galangal root is a flavoring additive for beverages. Galangal root is used in many asian cuisines, and has a stimulating effect on the digestive system, much like ginger does. It is a very popular spice in all Southeast Asia and especially typical of the cuisine of Thailand. Herbalists consider the galangal root antispasmodic and antibacterial, and recommend its use in cases of indigestion and loss of appetite.