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Cooking With Cancer- Herbs

Fresh Herbs can help on our Cancer Journey!

With summertime fast approaching- what better time to start your own herb garden? Not only is gardening a great way to relax and de-stress; growing herbs is easy and can be done anywhere!

Have fun with it! Add small amounts to your daily meals. Nothing packs more flavor or nutrition gram for gram than herbs. There is a growing body of research that shows that many herbs have benefits that can play a positive role in systemic disruptions that contribute to cancer and can help in our Cancer fighting journey. Herbs contain fantastic anticancer phytochemicals that can lower inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and bolster cancer fighting pathways. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be thy medicine.”*

There are a lot of ways to get more herbs into your diet- sprinkle mint, parsley, basil or lemon thyme on your salads. Add oregano, rosemary, marjoram to your sauces. Include chamomile or sage in your smoothies!

Here’s what I have in my Herb Garden:


Mint can act as a digestion aid, as well as an appetite aid. It is rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene. Use it in Smoothies, Salads, Sprinkle of Fish and in your Iced Tea or Lemonade.


Oregano can act as a digestive aid and anti-inflammatory., and contains two antioxidants – thymol and rosmarinic acid. It is also a good source of antibacterial agents which can help immune systems weakened by treatments. Add into any pasta sauce, sprinkle on garlic bread and pizza, add into egg dishes.

Parsley (I like the Italian Parsley)

Parsley is an appetite stimulant, digestion aid and an anti-inflammatory. Parsley has also been noted to neutralize some carcinogens found in cigarette smoke and fried foods. Uses are boundless- sprinkle on almost any dish for that fresh pop at the end or add it to your recipe when cooking anything from meatballs to soups.


Rosemary can improve digestion, circulation, immune function and blood flow to the brain. There are many varieties of Rosemary and it can grow into beautiful bushes sprouting lovely blue-violet flowers. Add it into potatoes, sauces and breads to name a few.


Sage is a member of the Mint family, and it mimics Rosemary in many of its properties. There are a number of types of Sage; I have purple sage in my garden. Sage grows wild in many regions- try taking some and rubbing it between your hands for a burst of magnificent aroma and energy! Sage can be use in many dishes to include soups and sauces- I add it to my smoothie every morning.

Thyme (I grow Lemon Thyme)

Thyme is also available in many varieties- I love Lemon Thyme with its rich and fragrant lemony aroma. Thyme has been called “Nature’s Throat Lozenge” as it soothing in the mouth and throat and helpful with coughs and congestion. Sprinkle on fresh Fish, Salads, In Smoothies and Iced drinks.


Widely used in and for teas for its relaxing and calming effects. I add 3 fresh sprigs to my afternoon tea! Tea is excellent for hydration and can calm the digestive system.

Bee Balm

This is a new Herb I tried this year- it grows very easily and is also from the Mint family. It can help with digestive issues, bloating and nausea. The leaves can be used in vegetable and fruit salads, added to or to make tea, and I found a great recipe to make Herbal Butter.


My favorite. I have 3 varieties of Basil in my garden- Italian, Lemon and Purple. Basil is a digestive aid and an anti-inflammatory. It contains flavonoids (chemicals that are part of the plants metabolism) which have been said to protect human cells from radiation. If your taste buds or off or you have an irritated mouth, basil may have a corrective effect. I use Basil in soups, sauces, on breads, and a few sprigs in my tea and smoothies. It grows beautifully and along with garlic and pine nuts, makes an amazing pesto for your breads, pizza or pasta!


Fennel soothes the stomach and contains a compound called anethole which can lower inflammation that may affect cancer cell development. Fennel has a licorice aroma and is used when making sausages and meats. The leaves grow from the Fennell root- which can also be used as a root vegetable for stews and salads.


And don’t forget to label your herbs so you remember which is which! I use small sticks and wine corks to label them. I drill a small hole in the bottom of the cork and insert the stick. Then I write the herb name in permanent marker on the cork and place it by each herb. It’s a fun project and it looks really good!

So have fun with it this summer and grow as many herbs as you can!


*”The Cancer Fighting Kitchen”, 2nd Edition