• Bonni Wildesen Hise

Cooking with Herbs: Cayenne, Chives, & Oregano

Over the years, I have created a tradition of making a new recipe every Sunday. In my early years, there was a lot of smoke and fussing happening in my kitchen. Now that I have had time to practice and hone my culinary skills, we still maintain one long-standing rule: if a recipe turns out badly – we order pizza! No matter what creation pops into my head, I tend to lean towards recipes which include cayenne pepper, garlic, chives, and oregano. I prefer authentic Mediterranean cuisine specifically Greek recipes. Generally, I prefer fresh herbs, however, I prefer using ground cayenne pepper.

We have family histories involving both cancer and high blood pressure in our house. Therefore, we strive to include garlic in our meals often. (Healing Plants, pg. 170). Garlic is known for its ability to improve circulation, act as an antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-fungal, and for the treatment of arthritis. When the amino acids found within garlic are digested they are converted into allicin. Allicin “exerts an antibacterial effect estimated to be the equivalent of 1 percent of that of penicillin.” (Prescription for Nutritional Healing, pg. 71) What that means for us is a lower risk of catching a cold or whatever virus is going around.

Oregano is an antioxidant containing the ability to control flatulence and diabetes, and aide insomnia. Oregano calms the nerves and stimulates healthy circulation. Which decreases our stress levels and helps us maintain healthy blood pressure. Excessive amounts of oregano should be avoided by those who are pregnant, as it may cause a miscarriage. In addition, oregano can trigger a reaction to those allergic to the Lamiaceae family, and increase the risk of bleeding. Therefore, those scheduled for surgery should avoid oregano at least two weeks prior to surgery. (WebMD)

There are a few benefits we enjoy by eating cayenne on a regular basis. For instance, cayenne promotes healthy digestive processes. It improves circulation and can slow blood clotting, promote lower cholesterol, and prevent heart disease. Those who are pregnant, and children, should avoid medicinal levels of cayenne pepper as it can cause severe allergic reactions. Cayenne promotes slower blood clotting, therefore those on anticoagulants should avoid excessive amounts. (WebMD)

Chives are rather harmless and are generally used for flavoring dishes. (WebMD) Their flavor does not have the "bite" that onions do, which is why they are one of my top herb choices. Onions as a whole can overwhelm a dish. Chives provide a subtle onion accent to our dishes. Throughout the years I have recognized the benefits of these specific herbs and welcomed their use. While I do enjoy using these specific herbs often, there are many I use in collaboration with these to maintain a variety of flavors and dishes in our meal choices. No matter what, we prefer fresh herbs over dried.


Balch, CNC, P. A. (2000). Prescription for Nutritional Healing (pp. 71-72). New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, Inc.

Cayenne Pepper. (2000). In WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitaminssupplements/ingredientmono-945Cayenne%20Pepper%20%28CAPSICUM%29.aspx?activeIngredientId=945&activeIngredientName=Cayenne%20Pepper%20%28CAPSICUM%29

Oregano. (2000). In WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/vitaminssupplements/ingredientmono-644OREGANO.aspx?activeIngredientId=644&activeIngredientName=OREGANO

Chives. (n.d.). In University of Illinois Herb Gardening. Retrieved from http://urbanext.illinois.edu/herbs/chives.cfm

Petersen, BA, Dip-NT, Dip-Acu, RH, D. (2015). NAT 101: Nutrition, Bodycare, & Herbalism. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

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