Winter can be a challenging time for us. The temperature drops, the cold sets in and the days grow shorter. This time of year is when we need to call in the reinforcements to help support the immune system and keep us warm during the winter months. Herbs and spices do more than bring flavour to our foods - they also do a great job at keeping us healthy and can warm us up from the inside. So today we're taking a look at herbs and spices to warm you up this winter, plus how we can incorporate them in to our food choices.
Herbs and Spices to Warm You Up This Winter
We love cosying up during the winter months and these warming herbs and spices will do a great job at heating you up during the chilly weather. Here's our pick of the best herbs and spices to warm you up this winter.
Cinnamon can stimulate the circulation and has traditionally been taken as a 'warming' herb, sometimes in combination with ginger. Research shows that cinnamon can be used to relieve aching muscles and other symptoms of the common cold.
The volatile oils found in cinnamon possess both antiviral and carminative properties; therefore is a classic remedy for digestive issues. Cinnamon is a great booster for a smoothie and is delicious in porridge, baked goods or sprinkled on sweet potato or butternut squash. It can also help lower blood sugar levels and reduce heart disease risk factors.
Cloves first arrived in Europe around the fourth century however Chinese medicine has used cloves for hundreds of years to help with indigestion, diarrhoea, athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. In traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine, cloves are used to treat respiratory and digestive problems.
Clove bud oil can be used to help with a toothache. It contains a chemical compound, called eugenol, which has both analgesic and antiseptic qualities. A bruised clove or some clove bud oil on cotton wool is held in the mouth near the tooth and can help reduce pain and infection.
Cloves are a great addition to marinades, sauces, meat rubs and warm drinks.
Another of our favourite herbs and spices to warm you up this winter has to be ginger. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent digestive aid and immune tonic - give Lemon & Ginger Tea a go or add it to your smoothies this winter.
Studies also suggest that it has anti-inflammatory effects and supports increased circulation. This is key at this time of year to keep our hands and feet warm.
Why not try to include this spice daily in juices, smoothies, herbal teas or add to soups and stews.
Maca is a Peruvian root which is praised for its energising properties. The indigenous population in Peru has utilised it for thousands of years to boost energy and promote feeling of overall wellness.
This nutty flavoured spice can be great for this time of year to keep our energy levels up during the shorter days. It is sold in powder form and can be added to many recipes such as smoothies, porridge, energy bars or any baked goodies.
Turmeric is part of the ginger family. Turmeric has received considerable and favourable publicity of late thanks to its many health benefits. In traditional Indian ayurvedic medicine, the herb is considered a natural antibiotic that can also strengthen digestion and improve intestinal flora.
Some herbalists recommend using turmeric’s antibacterial constituent, curcumin, topically to fight certain skin conditions such as psoriasis and athlete’s foot.
This flowery flavourful spice is a true superfood. Add it to smoothies, curries, stews, roast vegetables and turmeric lattes - check out a tasty Turmeric Latte recipe we swear by!
Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.
It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.
Checked and updated: 12 August 2021