Feature

It's Thyme

February 1998

The food at hugh’s new american bistro is good for you. And not just in a fill-your-belly, recommended-daily-requirements kind of way. Chef Hugh O’Neill says that many of the herbs he includes in his recipes actually possess the power to heal.

Rosemary, for example, is one of his favorites. “It has wonderful flavor, and it has lots of medicinal uses,” including aiding digestion, improving circulation, and supplying the body with valuable antioxidants. Other herbs are thought to fortify the immune system, ease morning sickness, disinfect the sinuses, and strengthen the liver.

When O’Neill first began exploring the curative potential of culinary herbs, the idea seemed outlandish to most of his patrons. “At first people only knew that they liked the food,” he says. “But it’s gotten to the point where more and more of our regular customers recognize that what we’re doing really makes them feel better. They’re asking questions and wanting to learn more.”

Today, a growing number of Denver’s culinary enthusiasts are making similar discoveries. At a time when dissatisfaction with conventional medicine is at an all-time high, the use of common culinary herbs (as opposed to the more exotic herbs used as supplements in Chinese medicine) offers a simple, non-threatening introduction to alternative therapies.