Herbs have been widely used for thousands of years as a natural remedy for a host of diseases and health conditions. Herbs are not only effective remedies but also typically come with fewer side effects making them a desirable much safer than prescription medications and therefore a desirable alternative.
In this article, we will look at the potential benefits of a delightful herb called chervil and give you some ideas how to use it.
What is Chervil?
Chervil, known scientifically as Anthriscus cerefolium, is an an annual herb belonging to the genus Apiaceae. The herb is commonly used in cooking as a garnish and looks a lot like parsley and is often referred to as ‘gourmet’s parsley’. Other common names for the herb include French parsley, garden chervil and sweet cicely.
Chervil is a native of the Caucusus region bordering Asia and Europe, but it quickly spread and these days is widely cultivated around the world. While it looks a lot like parsley, the taste is quite different with a flavor reminiscent of licorice or anise but quite a lot milder. The herb also loses its flavor when cooked and is typically added to a dish at the very end of the meal’s preparation.
The herb has also been widely used in medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. It is densely packed with nutrients. It can be used in cooking but the leaves are also used to make supplements including powders, capsules and tinctures.
Nutritional Information and Composition
Chervil contains high levels of various minerals including potassium, zinc, manganese, calcium, magnesium and iron. The herb is also a great source of various antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E as well as riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and pyridoxine.
According to research, the herb also contains various flavonoids, essential oil and coumarins. it also contains eugenol, estragole (methyl chavicol) and hendecane. (1)
Chervil is an annual herb that grows to a height of about 15 inches. It has smooth, light green leaves very similar to parsley. The leaves, which are used medicinally have an anise fragrance. The plant thrives in well drained, fertile soil and produces white umbels when it blooms in early summer,
There are actually four main varieties of chervil :
- Garden chervil
- Root chervil
- Wild chervil
- Bur chervil
Health Benefits of Chervil
Chervil has been used for medicinal purposes for a very long time. Its leaves and its stems are a great source of antioxidants as well as various healthy minerals and vitamins. The herb is extremely low in calories but a great source of dietary fiber making it an ideal cooking ingredient for your health.
Chervil has been used traditionally to treat a very wide range of conditions including:
- Digestive upset
- Inflammatory skin conditions
- High blood pressure
Unfortunately, scientific evidence for the effects of chervil are lacking. Nevertheless, we know that chervil is a wonderful source of antioxidants and comes packed with vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy.
The following are some of the main potential health benefits of chervil :
Chervil leaves are a great source of important minerals including potassium, manganese, iron, zinc and magnesium. Potassium plays a number of important roles in the body. It helps to regulate a person’s heart rate as well as blood pressure by neutralizing the effects of sodium.
Chervil is also a good source of antioxidants that can help protect the body from serious disease, including heart disease. It is also a good source of heart-healthy dietary fiber.
Helps Boost Circulation
Chervil may also help improve the circulation of blood around the body. It has been used in traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda to treat conditions like varicose veins and hemorrhoids.
Chervil leaves can benefit your digestive health. People have used chervil to treat a range of common digestive conditions including dyspepsia, bloating, gas and stomach upset.
One effective way of treating a stomach upset is to use the fresh or dried leaves to make an infusion.
Chervil is an excellent source of antioxidants that can help protect the body against oxidative stress. Free radicals that we encounter on a daily basis cause a great deal of harm to the cells and it is important that we consume as many antioxidants as possible to neutralize their damaging effects
Antioxidants like those found in the herb can protect us from disease including serious illnesses like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. They also have an anti-aging effect on the skin meaning they will help you to look younger and healthier.
If you are looking to lose a few pounds, then chervil can be used as part of your diet, Despite being low in calories, it is packed with nutrition and is a good source of dietary fiber that can bolster digestion. Dietary fiber can also make you feel more full meaning you are less likely to snack on unhealthy food during the day.
Chervil is certainly no miracle, weight loss remedy but as part of a considered weight loss plan, it can definitely help you achieve your goals.
Detoxification and Diuretic Uses
Chervil may contain mild diuretic properties and has been used traditionally to help promote urination and expel waste and toxins from the system.
The herb has been used to detoxify the body as well as for treating kidney infections and urinary tract infections. It has also been used to treat gout by helping get rid of the build up of uric acid that causes the painful condition.
How to Use Chervil
Fresh chervil has a mild anise or peppery flavor which has been compared to tarragon. It plays a big role in French cuisine as well as other national dishes around the world. In French cuisine, it is often used as an ingredient in bearnaise sauce and also in various egg dishes.
Fresh chervil is not always easy to find at your local market. The herb is usually only available fresh when it is in season during the spring months. However, you can usually find the herb in dried form in the spice sections of your local markets and certain supermarkets. unfortunately, the dried variety lacks the distinctive flavor and aroma of fresh chervil.
Fresh chervil is a delicate herb and does not keep very well when stored in the fridge. To help make the herb last longer, you can try wrapping it in a paper towel before storing it in the fridge. This way, it can remain fresh for up to a week. You can also try freezing the herb if you have no plans to use it immediately.
Dried chervil should be stored in a cool place away from the sunlight. As long as you keep the herb in an airtight container, it should be good to use for several years.
Try adding fresh chervil to your egg dishes. it goes very well with scrambled eggs or omelettes. You can also add it to your salads, soups and stews or sprinkle it on top of your lasagna. Basically, you can use it as a garnish in the same way you would use similar herbs like parsley.
Remember that the herb will lose its flavor during if it is cooked so it is better to add it at the very last stage of the meal’s preparation.
Chervil leaves can also be used to make a healthy tea. The juice can be applied to the skin to treat inflammatory skin conditions like eczema or acne.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does chervil taste like?
Fresh chervil has a distinctive flavor. It has a mild anise or licorice taste that some people compare to tarragon while it has also been compared to parsley.
How do you use chervil in cooking?
Chervil is a popular ingredient in french cuisine. It is a great accompaniment to egg dishes like omelet or scrambled eggs and can also be sprinkled into soups, stews and various other meat or vegetable dishes. You can basically use it as a garnish in the same way you would use parsley.
What is chervil good for?
Chervil is very rich in antioxidant vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. these minerals confer a number of potential health benefits. It has been used to improve digestive health and heart health and to combat disease. The juice of the leaves are also applied topically to treat various skin conditions.
Precautions and Side Effects
Chervil is likely to be safe for the majority of people when used in food quantities. There is not enough information to know whether chervil taken as a supplement is safe in very high doses.
Because of the lack of safety data, pregnant women and those who are breast feeding should avoid using chervil in high doses.
Some sensitive people may be allergic to chervil but sensitivity to the herb is considered rare.
There is no information regarding possible interactions between chervil and medications or other herbs.
- Chervil is an herb with a great taste and an excellent nutritional profile.
- It is packed with nutrition including a range if vitamins and minerals.
- Chervil is an excellent source of antioxidants that can protect the body form disease.
- Try experimenting with it as an ingredient in your favorite recipes or as a garnish for a variety of meals.