Herbs Traditionally Used in English Cooking

Many people associate herbs with Italian cooking, but while it is certainly true that those meals do use a lot of herbs, so too does cooking in England. Herbs traditionally used in British meals include herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme and rosemary. These herbs not only lend a tasty spicy flavor to meals, but they also have benefits for health. For example, sage has been shown to increase brain function and improve memory. Rosemary helps with nasal congestion and allergies. Parsley and thyme also have health benefits, it helps to boost the immune system and helps with diabetes. Thyme is good for the stomach and helps sore throats. This revival of herbs in British food has been largely due to celebrity chefs that have reintroduced the public to the idea that herbs can be used to complement meals.


The use of parsley as part of a British meal actually decreased for a while, with parsley being used purely for decoration. For instance, a person at a restaurant would find a sprig of fresh parsley placed on the plate next to a well- cooked steak. However, there has been renewed interest in actually incorporating the parsley into the meal itself. Such foods as boiled ham and parsley sauce are making a comeback as interest is being revived in traditional British cooking. You can make this by boiling ham along with parsley, onion, bay leaves, carrots, peppercorns and celery.

Bay Leaves

There are many different herbs that are used in traditional British cooking and bay leaves are used to add flavor, but you should remove them from the meal as bay leaves are tough to eat. While parsley provides a slightly pepper flavor to the meal, bay leaves provide a distinct flavor to food that helps to accent the overall meal that is made.

Other Herbs

Other herbs that have been utilized include caraway and coriander. William Shakespeare actually served an acquaintance a meal of apple and caraway. This herb thus has a long history of being used in the England.

Garlic has, in the past, been used when making sauces and meat or tomatoes. Garlic has numerous health benefits, including having anti-fungal and antibacterial properties; it even has the ability to lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Leaves of coriander have been traditionally added to a curry near the end of the cooking process to provide a delicious citrusy and lemony flavor to the dish. Ground coriander seeds provide a nutty aroma to a dish.

Thyme is an herb that has been used since Elizabethan times. It has numerous healing benefits and was often drunk as a healthy tea. Thyme can be used in various dishes, and it goes very well with roast chicken dishes when lemon and garlic are also used. These herbs traditionally used in English cooking not only provide that extra flavor to meals, but they are also very healthy, since they have so many health benefits.