Has it ever occurred to you that what we can buy at the supermarket represents only a fraction of what nature has to offer? And why did we pick those plants to cultivate, anyway? Most of them are starchy, carbohydrate rich staples that are not particularly nutrient dense. Yet, they are so easy to farm and harvest! That’s why we chose them. Imagine trying to feed a city on mushrooms and spinach! And how to preserve them! It really wouldn’t work at all. So, we cultivated grains. We tamed animals and made use of their milk. But despite this being the practical way to feed way a large group of people, it leaves us as individuals rather malnourished.
I was fascinated to discover that herbalism is in a way an attempt to make use of the plants that we simply have forgotten about. like stinging nettles, or dandelions. Despite being considered “weeds”, they are actually quite nourishing to the body. Here is a wonderful passage from a website on herbology:
“Strong foods or herbs are really our forgotten foods. Because of their often disagreeable taste or smell and our lack of knowledge concerning their utilization, our forefathers eliminated them as food and later generations ignored them. Our forefathers in their search for food, tasted many plants such as carrots and ginseng. They took the better-tasting carrots back to their farms and then passed the knowledge of farming, eating, and selling carrots on to their progeny. All regular foods sold in markets are chosen according to these criteria: (1) acceptable taste or smell, (2) easily farmed or produced, and (3) easily processed or cooked. As a result regular or familiar foods, such as beef, corn, apples, etc., have in time become a very small part of our total food territory. The plant called ginseng and most other plants, animals, and minerals have been tossed aside and forgotten. Lately, however, the world has taken a greater interest in these forgotten foods.”
To me it seems that the distinction between food and herbs is purely a semantic one. So perhaps wether we add herbs or spices to our food is more than a mere matter of taste? In fact, does adding them not boost the nutritional value of whatever you prepare? In addition to this, many herbs are known as adaptgens, meaning they have properties that allow the body to regenerate itself. Just like our regular foods, they also contain vitamins, protein, and minerals. In fact, we are quite able to ingest all sorts of mineral and vegetable substances as a sort of natural vitamin supplement.
Most of us are aware that most of our modern staples are rather inadequate to sustain us. Herbs are unadulterated, and contain nutrients we can’t find anywhere else.