Do you know the difference between aromatic and medicinal plants? Do not worry, it is a fairly frequent question since, despite the different definitions of medicinal and aromatic plants, many times the same plant can fit into the two categories.
What is the difference between aromatic and medicinal plants?
Both medicinal and aromatic plants have been present in our culture since ancient times. First, let’s review the definition of aromatic and medicinal plants:
Aromatic plants, also known as aromatic herbs or fine herbs, are characterized by their perfume and flavor. Its green leaves are usually the edible and nutrient-rich part and for this reason they are used for cooking.
Medicinal plants are those that contain in one or more parts active compounds that are beneficial for the health of humans and animals. If you want to know more about this topic, you can read the post “Medicinal plants: history, types, uses”.
The difference between the two concepts is in the plant’s use. While the former are used above all for culinary use, so they are edible; the latter have healing properties, but not all of them can be ingested.
Here are some examples of aromatic plants with medicinal properties.
1. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
It is a very aromatic and common herb of Mediterranean cuisine that is also curative.
Its active principles promote digestion and stimulate the appetite.
2. Rosemary (Rosmarinus)
It is another herb very commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine.
Its essential oils and chemical compounds have a carminative (reduces gas) and hepatoprotective effect. Scientific studies are also investigating the antioxidant properties of this aromatic and medicinal plant.
A plant with a delicate and unique aroma, ideal for flavoring all kinds of dishes. It is also traditionally used for its antifungal and antibacterial properties to relieve and prevent inflammation of the oral cavity.
It is a plant with a very intense and balsamic aroma. The European Medicines Agency validates the use of this plant for the relief of flu states and coughs based on the traditional use of this plant. Find out more about thyme here.
The fresh and intense aroma of this plant is unmistakable and that is why it is used in many sectors, from the pharmaceutical industry, to perfumery and food. The leaves of this aromatic herb are rich in essential oils and other compounds that alleviate disorders related to poor digestion.
Do you take advantage of the medicinal properties of any aromatic plant? Let me know in the comments below.