Rosemary keeps your kidneys healthy, sage improves your cholesterol levels, basil contains large amounts of antioxidants: you will find many health claims about herbs online.

Are they really that healthy?

Herbs certainly fit in a healthy diet, says Iris Groenenberg, an expert in the field of nutrition and health at the Netherlands Nutrition Center.

"Herbs are a healthy alternative to salt. But it is not that herbs are necessary for a healthy diet, the way fruits and vegetables are. Normally you eat herbs in such small amounts that they do not contribute to the intake of essential nutrients. "

Nancy te Hoven, dietitian and owner of dietician practice FoodRebel, shares that opinion.

"The health claims surrounding herbs are often based on amounts of 100 grams. But who is going to eat 100 grams of basil daily? The few leaves that you put in your food get little extra nutrients."

“In any case, never take preparations with ephedra or kava kava.

They are very harmful to health. ”

Iris Groenenberg, Nutrition Center expert

Te Hoven continues: "Products such as garlic and cinnamon are also often said to be very healthy because they contain a lot of antioxidants. But to benefit from that, you have to eat five cloves of garlic. Then I prefer a kiwi. also many antioxidants. "

Liters of herbal tea full of toxins

So you can take the intended health effects of herbs with a good grain of salt.

In addition, there are also certain herbs that you should be careful with.

For example, the dried spice mixes - Mexican spices, chicken spices - the main ingredient is often salt, says Te Hoven.

It is also better not to eat too much of an herb, says Groenenberg.

Herbs contain plant toxins.

With normal use, they are harmless.

But if you drink gallons of the same herbal tea every day, you could be ingesting too many of those toxins.

"What we advise against in any case is the consumption of breastfeeding tea with anise or fennel. It may contain too many of these toxins, which is not good for the baby."

Too good to be true

In addition to kitchen herbs from the supermarket, there are also all kinds of herbal preparations available: powders, drinks or pills that contain a high concentration of a certain herb.

These preparations claim specific health effects.

Beware of that, warns Groenenberg: with such a preparation you get a very high concentration of an herb.

Then it may be that you also ingest too many plant toxins.

"We advise pregnant women not to use any preparations at all."

Iris Groenenberg, Nutrition Center expert

In any case, never take preparations with ephedra or kava kava.

These are very harmful to health, says Groenenberg.

"We advise pregnant women not to use any preparations at all. We advise people who use medication to seek advice from their doctor before use, as this may interfere with the effect of your medication."

The claimed health effects of herbal preparations are usually not proven.

But the opposite is often not the case.

And as long as that is the case, producers can promise all kinds of health benefits.

That is why Groenenberg advises as a rule of thumb when purchasing herbal preparations: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.