For thousands of years, civilizations in every corner of the world have been using herbs to heal, to energize, to prolong life, and improve their overall good health and well being.

Today as we analyze herbs active components and examine them with the objective experiments that define modern science, we are finding that they indeed have the power to energize you and to help you lead a longer, healthier life.

According to researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, herbs are among the richest sources of antioxidants.

Herbs have higher antioxidant activity than fruits, vegetables and some spices, the researchers say. Oregano ranked highest among the more familiar herbs, but dill, thyme, rosemary and peppermint also had a very high antioxidant capacity. One tablespoon of fresh oregano contains the same antioxidant activity as one medium-sized apple says Shiow Y. Wang, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher and a biochemist with the USDA’s Beltsville Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, Md.

Their findings appear in the November, 2006 print issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society.

The science community believes that consumption of antioxidant-rich foods reduces damage to cells and biochemicals from free radicals - charged molecules that are generated by a variety of sources including pollution, UV sunlight, and environmental toxins.This may slow down, prevent, or even reverse certain diseases that result from cellular damage including cancer, heart disease and stroke, and perhaps even slow down the natural aging process.

Fruits, vegetables and whole grains have long been considered as a rich source of antioxidants. Now, herbs have emerged as a quick and easy way to get a concentrated source of antioxidants — without all the extra calories of whole foods, Wang says.

So go ahead and enjoy a little dash and sprinkle of the familiar leafy or powdered versions of herbs to add flavor to your favorite meats and vegetables. Have a sip of some potent antioxidant herbal tea. Even better, try supplementation with botanical solid or fluid extracts. This is your best defense against illness and premature aging.

However herbs, whatever form they take, should never be a substitute for a balanced diet and pregnant women in particular should consult their physicians before taking herbal supplements.

Author's Bio: 

Eric is the owner and editor of