Reaching for something warm and potent to stave off sniffles? Herbs and spices are your allies, flavor is your friend, and I have some wonderful options for you to experiment with!
The star players
Here are your star frontline herbs and spices to protect you from winter (and many lifelong) ailments:
Mint. Mint is anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. It’s an appetite suppressant, breath freshener, and digestive aide. It’s great for heart health and brain health. A little chopped mint (or even a sniff!) goes a long way toward enhancing well-being. Peppermint has antimicrobial qualities that destroy germs in the food it contacts. It’s abundant limonene and luteolin show promise for cancer prevention, and its rosmarinic acid inhibits the formation of coronary plaques. It’s been shown to soothe the tummy by decreasing gas and relaxing stomach muscles, and it can also help combat H pylori, a cause of stomach ulcers. Mint is one of your best friends!
Cardamom. Another powerful anti-inflammatory. Long a staple of both traditional Chinese and ayurvedic medicines, cardamom is legendary for aiding digestion. This may be due to cineole, a phytochemical that helps break down mucus. In the gut, cardamom lessens the gas produced as a result of consuming mucus-producing foods, notably dairy products. Cardamom also freshens the breath, which is why it is often offered at the end of a meal or at the checkout counter in Indian and Chinese restaurants.
Cinnamon. It tastes SO delicious, but did you also know how good it is for you? Anti-inflammatory, it provides digestive support and pain relief. Cinnamon stimulates the production of digestive enzymes and works wonders in the pancreas. In animals, cinnamon has been shown to make the body more receptive to insulin and decrease other risk factors for diabetes, such as high triglycerides. One compound in cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde, reduces inflammation. In addition, cinnamon contains salicylates (also found in aspirin), which can reduce pain and promote heart health by preventing blood clots.
Ginger. Anticancer, anti-inflammatory, ginger is also know to help provide arthritis relief and digestive support. Mothers have long turned to ginger to soothe their children’s tummy aches, but that just touches the surface of this rhizome’s healing properties. To mention just a few, clinical studies show that ginger consumption can decrease pain related to arthritis, and animal studies indicate that it protects against liver damage and possibly colorectal cancer.
Turmeric. Also anticancer and anti-inflammatory, turmeric has researchers excited about the potential healing properties of its curcumin, and especially its anti-inflammatory abilities. Curcumin may limit the impact of GI diseases such irritable bowel syndrome. In vitro studies have shown that curcumin fights cancer in several ways, including preventing cancer cells from growing new blood vessels to feed themselves and inducing the death of existing cancer cells. Investigations found that curcumin broke up accumulated amyloid plaque, considered a prime marker of Alzheimer’s when it occurs in the brain.
All 5 of these belong in your Culinary Rx cabinet!
A great way to feature the healing power and flavor of spices is infusing them in healing broths and teas.
Let’s dive right into delicious, healing options. This time of year, you’ll serve your body well by keeping it warm. No shock and awe this time of year! Here are some wonderful choices.
May I introduce you, or perhaps re-acquaint you, with Magic Mineral Broth? Honestly, this is my most famous recipe and with good reason. You can read it’s long, mysterious and illustrious history here, but our purposes this moment, suffice it to say that all the rumors are true! It IS the most marvelous restorative broth I know of, and has helped people from toddlers to seniors revive and recover from illnesses great and small. Making a pot full on a Sunday infuses the house with intoxicatingly delicious aroma and gives you plenty to sip on, make soup with, and freeze for the future. This is one wonderful broth.
Am I allowed to say I love this broth? This is like taking your taste buds on a trip to Thailand — infusing Magic Mineral Broth or, if you prefer, chicken broth with lemongrass, ginger, shallots, kaffir lime leaves, and coconut milk. There are nutrients galore, notably in the coconut milk, which contains good fats and the same immune-boosting, antiviral lauric acid that’s found in breast milk. The taste is both bright and remarkably comforting.
Delicious, Restorative Tea
You may have heard the slogan “You’ve tried the rest; now try the best.” That’s the way I feel about this tea recipe. It was developed ages ago by the fantastic folk at the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, a renowned retreat for patients and caregivers, and they’ve been very kind in allowing me to share their recipe with you. The blend of ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom is like a backrub in a cup. Get more spices into your life! #warming #immuneboosting #yum