Winter is also a time when most people are hit with colds and flu and just feeling less healthy overall. Feeling good during winter is tricky but it does mean you’ve got to adjust your diet and lifestyle to balance the inner environment of your body with the outer environment around you.
Ginger is slightly warming, pungent, slightly drying, and is an excellent herb to help soothe an upset stomach. Ginger adds gentle warmth into the digestive process and body as a whole. In traditional Chinese medicine it is one of the main herbs used to treat the common cold and warm the lungs. Ginger is also known to increase circulation, help relieve migraine headaches, and reduce chronic inflammation and pain. To use, chop up about 2 inches of fresh ginger root and boil in a small pot of filtered water for 20 minutes. Drink straight or with some honey to cut the spice.
Many people know that rosemary works well in lamb and Mediterranean dishes, but not many know that is has excellent benefits for your health too. Rosemary is warming and drying, and is a great herb to use if you want to boost circulation in cold weather. It’s also known as a potent antioxidant that can soothe the nervous system and help with stomach ache, headaches that are associated with stomach ache, as well as mental and physical exhaustion that comes when we overwork ourselves in the wintertime. And if you feel a cold or flu coming on, rosemary has the ability to dispel cold and mucous from the body. To enjoy rosemary’s benefits, you can either make a tea by infusing a teaspoon of the fresh or dried herb (dried will have a more drying effect on the body) in a cup of hot water, sprinkle generous amounts into your winter soups and stews for added benefit, or soak in a rosemary infused hot bath as soon as you feel yourself getting sick.
Cinnamon has a host of benefits during winter including aiding in digestion, boosting vitality, lowering blood sugar and cholesterol, and having potent antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antioxidant effects. A word of caution though, cinnamon is a lot stronger than it appears and it’s best to drink it only when you need it to treat something, or as a special treat once or twice a week, and avoid using it in large doses over an extended period of time without the supervision of an experienced herbalist.
Turmeric is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antioxidant, and is great for clearing up congestion in the pelvis, liver, and GI tract. It is also excellent at drying phlegm and moving cold out of the system when you’re feeling run down. Recently, enjoying a turmeric latte has become very popular and this is a great way to ingest this powerful herb in winter.