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Ask the Herbalist - Cooking With Herbs

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ANSWERS FROM LORYHL:
QUESTION: Is there any herb that can provide salt for human consumption?

ANSWER: Although I could not find clinical data on actual sodium content, on shakers of dulse and other seaweeds, it is on the label as the guaranteed analysis. I suggest you try Nori, and Dulse, Bull Kelp, and there are many others as well, for you to try. I personally like the Dulse best as a salt substitute, it is tasty, and not fishy as some are. You can purchase many of these at a local health store, or in Japanese specialty foods places, they are considered the "gurus" of seaweed, with a long history of usage both for food and cosmetic uses.
         Seaweeds are  the healthiest plants on the planet. They have huge amounts of A, E, C all the Bs including B12. One of the single most important sources of B12, period. Seaweed has E, K, all the trace minerals. Zinc, Iron, protein, complete fiber. Itís got no fat. Itís the perfect food. Itís disgustingly rich with vitamins. Seaweeds take in fabulous stuff from the ocean and nutrients, but they donít differentiate the good from the bad. So be careful where you get your seaweed from. 
        Sodium is very much a part of seaweed, but when you work with it fresh, scientifically, when you eat it fresh, the sodium and the iodine, the minerals, the vitamins are all organically balanced in the plant. But when you dry them Ė you get two spikes Ė one in salt and another in iodine. It changes the chemistry of the seaweed. Compare a dried apple to a fresh oneÖsame difference with seaweed.

HERBES DE PROVENCE
QUESTION: I am trying to locate a herb but am not sure of the name...it is something
like this Herb de Provlenca.  Used in cooking.

ANSWER: Herbes de Provence are a combination of herbs used in French cooking. It is made up of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, fennel, savory, basil and lavender or a combination of at least three of those herbs.  You can buy them at the grocery, but I like to blend my own from organic herbs. You can purchase Organic Herbes de Provence from me on my website at www.allgoodegifts.com. in the Food Products section. Select French from the drop down under Salt Free Spice Mixtures.


COOKING WITH HERBS
QUESTION: 
Can you tell me if herbs lose nutritional value when used in cooking and baking?

ANSWER:  It depends if the constituents are water soluble and the waters are not used after cooking such as when you make pasta and throw the water out, or cook vegetables and send the waters down the drain after cooking.  Or if the constituents are heat sensitive and heat destroys them or changes their chemical structure such as Vitamin C which is extremely sensitive to heat and a water soluble constituent.  For some constituents such as the red colored fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes the more you cook the tomato the more Lycopene is available and easier for the body to consume.  Lycopene is the red colors in pink grapefruit, watermelon and tomatoes to name a few and has been associated with decrease risk for certain cancers.  For the flavonoids in fruits such as the blue and purple/red proanthocyanidines, cooking helps to get them more available for the body to consume.  These blue/purple/red colors indicate health and help the body increase or maintain vascular integrity decreasing problems associated with leaky vessels of the eyes or spider and varicose veins in the legs or reducing bruising for those prone to it.  Additionally, For some constituents such as the minerals the more the herbs are in the water when making tea the more minerals are extracted, then when the tea is consumed you are getting much more of the minerals and this is a good thing.  Herbs in this class are Horsetail and Nettles to name a few.

Not very specific but I hope it helps.