Brr! During the cold winter months, it’s not always enough to wrap yourself in a blanket. You need to warm your body from the inside out. Warming herbs and spices can help beat the chill by getting your circulation moving along with promoting good digestion, supporting the immune system, and more.
Warm up with these common and delicious herbs – you probably have some of them in your kitchen already…
1. Black Pepper
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) isn’t just useful for seasoning your food. This indispensable spice stimulates circulation, promotes digestion, increases the bioavailability of other foods and herbs, and has antioxidant properties. For the best flavor and most potent benefits, buy whole peppercorns and grind them as needed.
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is known as the “Queen of Spices” and this fragrant herb can help calm indigestion, support the respiratory system, and even freshen the breath. Add a couple of cracked cardamom pods to a pot of coffee or rice, or a pinch of ground cardamom in baked goods, pancakes, and rice or chia pudding.
Cayenne (Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens) is a powerfully stimulating herb that can help relieve pain, drain sinus congestion, support heart health, and move stagnant digestion. Try cayenne in soups and stews, pasta sauces, salad dressings, and eggs. A little goes a long way, so start with a sprinkle and gradually work your way up.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) has warming properties that make it helpful for stimulating circulation (especially for people with chronically cold hands and feet), relieving digestive gas and cramping, and alleviating arthritis pain. This aromatic spice goes well with baked goods, oatmeal, winter squash, curries, and mixed in with nut butter.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is often used for inflammatory pain, upper respiratory infections, and to improve stagnant blood and digestion. If you’re feeling cold, drink a cup of ginger tea to get your circulation moving. Also try fresh or dried ginger in dishes like carrot-ginger soup, roasted sweet potatoes, stir-fries, and marinades.
Bonus: Putting It All Together
Chai is a GREAT way to combine many warming herbs into one delicious beverage! This caffeine-free tea warms you up and supports your immune system, helping your body ward off colds and flus. Plus, it smells wonderful simmering on the stove.