If the season chill has invaded your body, you don’t have to wait for the summer sun to take comfort! The common herbs and spices found in your very own spice cabinet can help you cope—as well as increase the quality and quantity of your years.
Cardamom is the spice that gives chai tea its main flavor. Cardamom is full of volatile oils that aid digestion, boost fertility and balance blood sugar. In Asia, cardamom has long been valued medicinally for its ability to increase circulation and improve energy. Cardamom is also thought to help improve asthma and bronchitis–and may even help improve a bad mood!
Ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory, has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese to relieve pain. Ginger helps soothe nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle soreness–all that and it can help spice up your circulation, too! A perfect complement to vegetables, marinades, and sweets, ginger is also tasty as tea.
This tasty, warming spice that has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including low energy, candida yeast infections, stomach flu, tooth decay and arthritis pain, to name a few. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it has been linked to lowered blood sugar. It also helps warm people who are always cold and suffer from poor circulation. Sprinkle in your morning oatmeal, yogurt or tea.
This delicious orange spice appears frequently in curry dishes, and boasts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It also boosts circulatory blood flow throughout your body, which helps you feel warm from the inside out. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, a substance that helps break down and remove plaque–which can reduce cholesterol levels, optimize insulin function, and protect the brain. The anti-inflammatory properties also help you find joint relief, which can be very necessary in cold weather especially. A yogi treat is to warm milk (almond or soy milk are okay too!) with about a teaspoon of turmeric in it.
Spicy cayenne heats things up! It also may soothe aching joints due to its content of capsaicin, which combats inflammation and is thought to help relieve pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis and cluster headaches. Cayenne is a metabolism booster and also a heart helper: It reduces levels of bad cholesterol in the body, helps normalize blood pressure and removes the plaque adhering to arteries.
This immune-enhancing bulb not only warms you up, but also helps keep cold and flu at bay. Garlic has traditionally been used to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes-related conditions. It has also been found to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council, consuming half to one clove of garlic daily may reduce cholesterol by nearly ten percent. Your breath might suffer, but your heart will thank you!
Keep in mind: The properties of these herbs that warm you up may interfere with medications you may be taking, so be sure to discuss with your doctor first. Because of the natural blood-thinning properties in these, individuals about to undergo surgery and those taking blood thinners should take extra precaution.