Posted date: Feb 24, 2023
by: Admin My Local Life
By Fred Wedel,
retired NRCS District Conservationist

To a Botanist, a herb is a leafy plant that doesn't grow a woody stem and usually dies back at the end of each growing season. Both grasses and forbs are herbs. To a chef, a herb is any of a vast number of aromatic or savory plants used to add flavor and character to foods. To a gardener, an herb is a delightful, easy-to-grow addition to the landscape, perennial border, or terrace urn. To anyone who uses plants medicinally, an herb is a plant that helps promote health and healing when it’s either taken internally or applied externally.

The difference between herbs and spices is that a herb is the leaf of the plant. Any other element of a plant is a spice. Spices come from dried bark, roots, a berry, seeds, twigs, or other plant matter used to season or flavor a dish of food. Herbs, the leaf part of a plant used for cooking, can be used fresh or dried. Dried herbs are often added during the cooking process to add flavor while cooking. Common dried herbs include oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Fresh herbs are often added as the last step once cooking is completed. Fresh herbs bring brightness and fresh flavor to many recipes. Common fresh herbs are mint, cilantro, and parsley.

Dried herbs should be stored in sealed jars in a cool, dark, and dry spice cabinet. Fresh herbs will last the longest if they are washed, carefully dried, gently wrapped in a paper towel, sealed into a zip-top bag, and stored in the refrigerator.

Common herbs include:

  • Bay leaves

  • Sorrel

  • Epazote

  • Cilantro

  • Italian parsley

  • Thyme

  • Oregano

  • Shiso leaves

  • Rosemary

  • Black pepper

  • Caraway seed

  • Basil

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Cinnamon

  • Dill

  • Echinacea

  • Eucalyptus

  • Fennel seed

  • Garlic

  • Ginger root

  • Horseradish

  • Mint

  • Turmeric

There are many ways to use herbs in cooking. Dried herbs are more strongly flavored than fresh herbs. As a rule, one teaspoon of dried herbs equals 4 teaspoons of fresh herbs. Some herbs are used only to flavor a dish, but not eaten. Bay leaves are an example.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated over 70% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines as part of their primary health care. Some health benefits of herbs include a strengthened immune system, reduced blood sugar and cholesterol, helps treat arthritis, and maintains healthy skin and hair. There are some side effects. Never assume that because herbs are "natural" they are safe. Some herbs may be inappropriate for people with certain medical conditions. Some herbs may cause allergic reactions or interact with conventional drugs. Kavakava has been linked to liver toxicity. Garlic, ginkgo, and ginger may increase the risk of bleeding.

For additional information or to locate an experienced herbalist in your area, contact the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) at

The use of herbal supplements has increased over the past 30 years. Herbal supplements are classified as "dietary supplements" by the U.S. Dietary Supplemental Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994. That means herbal supplements, unlike prescription drugs, can be sold without being tested to prove they are safe and effective. However, herbal supplements must be made according to good manufacturing practices.

Herbs healthful value as a food ingredient has been realized. For one, herbs add a burst of flavor to food, allowing you to cut back on salt without sacrificing taste. Several herbs including parsley, have significant amounts of the essential vitamins A, C, and K. Some herbs easy to grow are mint, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives, parsley, basil, and dill.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 70% to 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicine for part of their primary health care. In Germany, 600 to 700 plant-based medicines are available and prescribed by General Physicians.

Plants have been used for medicinal purposes long before recorded history. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian Papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for plants as early as 3000 B.C. Indigenous cultures (such as African and Native American) used herbs in healing rituals. Researchers found that people in different parts of the world tended to use the same or similar plants for the same purposes.

In summary, culinary herbs are herbaceous plants used to add flavor and color to meals. Herbs are also used as medicine and as a preservative. If you find that low-fat or low-salt foods taste bland, herbs will enhance the flavor of virtually any dish including desserts. Fresh herbs are generally delicately flavored, so add them to your cooking in the last few minutes.
Other Articles You Might Be Interested In
Truly high speed internet in St Francis
We in St Francis have an opportunity to have truly high speed internet. To clarify, by high speed I mean speeds that most cities have not achieved, and are currently fighting to get. A physical, hard line, fiber-optic connection to every customer, business and residential. The max bandwidth being offered to any individual customer is 1 gigabyte per second (1000 mb/s), which is honestly more than many of our systems can handle. With bandwidth options starting at 25 mb/s (which is 10x more than I
Conservation on Farmland & Rangeland since the 1980’s
By Fred Wedel,
retired NRCS District Conservationist

Have you heard of the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s? Because of extreme drought and farming methods, a huge dust cloud made it to Washington D.C. Franklin D. Roosevelt was newly elected President. The United States was recovering from the Great Depression. The drought in the great plains caused the Dust Bowl and was made worse by the tillage methods used then.

Hugh Hammond Bennett was on Presidents Roosevelt"s staff. He
A stopped moment in time reveals just how bad our children are in the classroom
Wandering the halls of St. Francis Elementary with a video camera, because what else would I be doing @ 3pm on a Tuesday, I happened upon Ms. Moree's 4th grade classroom. In which everyone seemed to be frozen in time. Unable to move and hide what they were doing, I was able to briefly glimpse the true nature of craziness, of disregard of order, of chaos.

You must just see for yourself the destruction and the mayhem in the video.

I will not use this video as a platform to talk about how bad
Highlights from the Alumni Weekend
A gorgeous weekend, and our beautiful town of St. Francis made for the perfect setting for this year's Alumni weekend. Events were happening all around town including a photography show at the Art Center, the Motorcycle Museum, a special movie at the theater, a brat feed and the Genealogy Center at the Museum, Dragging Main, Night swimming, 9ine Foot Squirrel playing live at Cheyenne Bowl, Celebrate St. Francis 5K Run & 2 mile Walk, and the Celebrate St. Francis 2016 Golf Tournament.

Photography show at Quincy St
It's always a joy and a learning experience to be able to see through someone else's eyes. Cheyenne Center for Creativity has given us the opportunity to to just that with the menagerie of images at the Quincy Street Gallery.

St Francis photographers represented are Jennifer Padgett, Allison Grice, and Jordan Zweygardt.

Jennifer is exploring the interplay of black and white photos with a splash of color. The result has the same feeling as that moment just before sleep, going through that
Weber Family of Barbers Honored
Four Weber brothers were honored with certificates recognizing their 50+ years of Barbering. Combined, these four brothers have 217 years of cutting hair.

A very nice speech from his son celebrating Bennie's life which included entertaining stories about playing cards, skunks, greyhounds, a pumpkin patch, polka, and of course cutting hair in our town for over a half of a century.

A large crowd of family, friends, and customers gathered to honor this staple of this community which has made
Rangeland Fencing
Written By Fred Wedel, retired NRCS District Conservationist
Photos By Cale Rieger, NRCS Natural Resource Specialist

Proper fence is needed for grazing livestock in a rotational grazing system. As mentioned before, a rest-rotation grazing system is essential for properly managing grazing systems in the western Kansas area of short grass and mid-grass prairie.

Many perimeter fences are 3 or 4 strands of barbed wire. Interior cross-fences are usually a single smooth wire. The interior fe