Spice Up the Holidays — Chemical Free
Written for the Cancer Schmancer blog – read more here!
Did you know that the five favorite holiday spices (cinnamon, peppermint, nutmeg, ginger, and clove) can also provide natural health benefits?
captures the essence of the holiday spices. Its spicy flavor and aroma find their way into coffee and tea, sweet potato dishes, pumpkin pie, and other holiday foods. Interestingly, the scent of cinnamon is one of its natural benefits. Studies have shown that just smelling cinnamon helps improve brain function. It also has a warming metabolic effect—especially good for this time of the year. Like other plants in its class, cinnamon has antioxidant properties. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory. So don’t be afraid to add cinnamon to that cup of tea or to sprinkle it on your breakfast dish. Better yet, let it steep in a pan of water on the stove to heighten brain function and infuse the whole house with the smell of the holidays.
is perhaps the most popular of the holiday spices. It too has been used therapeutically for centuries. Its main active agent, menthol, acts as a decongestant to help loosen coughs and stuffy noses. Peppermint can also help reduce headaches and relieve muscle and nerve pain. Studies have concluded that peppermint also improves many symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. It is very soothing when steeped in hot tea—a good thing to remember if you overindulge during the holidays.
has a long history as a health aid. Used as an anti-inflammatory in Chinese medicine, nutmeg helps ease the pain of arthritis. It also has antibacterial properties that make it a natural remedy for toothaches, gum problems and bad breath. The essential oil of the nutmeg can calm the symptoms of excess gas, stomachaches and even asthma. Nutmeg is potent and you can get too much, so keep the doses small and not too much eggnog during the holidays.
has a centuries-old legacy from Chinese medicine. Perhaps best known for quelling nausea, ginger has strong antioxidant benefits and acts as a natural antibiotic. Ginger root tea (just grate it and steep it in hot water) can help reduce a fever, calm an upset stomach and work as a natural decongestant. Ginger’s volatile oils which give ginger its pungent taste, stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and help neutralize stomach acids. It has a warming metabolic effect like cinnamon; they are wonderful used together to warm your body from the inside out.
are known by their distinctive shape. They have antioxidant and antiseptic properties that are used for dental pain and infection. Clove oil is sometimes used in a gargle for winter sore throats. The spice also helps promote healthy digestion. Clove-studded oranges (used during Renaissance as air fresheners) are a spicy sign of the holiday season.
Don’t be afraid to use lots of these healthy spices during the holidays, but remember that most spices are irradiated. This kills many of the natural benefits of these wonderful gifts from Nature. Buy only organic, non-irradiated spices to support healthy digestion, to ease pain, to keep you warm and to infuse your home with extra holiday spirit!
– – – – –
Sharyn Wynters is a naturopath with over 30 years experience in health and wellness. She is author of the book, The Pure Cure: A Guide to Freeing your Life from Dangerous Toxins. She is also Director of Clinical Services for NORI (Nutritional Oncology Research Institute) and host of the TV/Radio show called “Get Healthy the Wynters Way with The Pure Cure!” (Thursdays from 1:30-2:30 p.m. on www.rmconlive.com) Visit her website at www.wyntersway.com.
When you purchase a copy of Sharyn’s book by clicking the link below, a portion of the proceeds benefit Cancer Schmancer.