In Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine, warming herbs are used to improve blood circulation, promote digestion, and bring warmth within the body. The author of The One Earth Herbal Sourcebook, Dr. Alan Tillotson, Ph.D. states “Herbs that are warming help to disperse and counteract pathogenic agents present when the body has excess mucus. Warming herbs also reduce disturbances to the nervous system.”
Here are some spices you can incorporate into your diet this autumn and winter:
- Anise – Warming, used for colds, coughs, congestion, digestion, IBS, rheumatism
- Black pepper – Increase blood flow to provide relief and decrease stiffness in muscles and joints. It also has antiseptic antioxidant properties.
- Cardamom – warming effect, promotes sweating, and is an expectorant, thus helping to open the respiratory passages from mucus congestion.
- Cayenne – increase core body temperature and helps relieve chills, coughs and congestion.
- Cinnamon – It helps dry dampness in the body and warms people that are always cold and suffering from poor circulation. Cinnamon is antiseptic and an excellent digestive tonic.
- Nutmeg – warming, remedy for chest congestion, flatulence and diarrhea. Has antiviral properties
- Garlic – strong vasodilator(opens up the blood vessels) and improves circulation by helping to prevent the blood from clumping together. Has antiviral properties
- Ginger – Improves blood circulation to all parts of the body, promotes muscle relaxation and is cold and flu relieving. It is a natural antioxidant and antiseptic.
- Horseradish – has antiseptic and is a strong decongestant (helps to open congested respiratory passages).
- Myrrh – resin; warming properties, good choice for some types of cold ailments & to promote circulation
Try adding these herbs more to your food or sipping them as teas throughout the day.
Sarson Ka Saag (Mustard Greens with Spinach)
Aloo Methi (Potatoes with Fenugreek Leaves)
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) light coconut milk (canned is best, but carton works too)
- 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) unsweetened plain almond milk
- 1 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon | I prefer the stick!)
- 1 Tbsp (15 g) coconut oil
- Pinch ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
- Sweetener of choice (i.e. maple syrup, coconut sugar, or stevia to taste)
- To a small saucepan, add coconut milk, almond milk, ground turmeric, ground ginger, cinnamon stick, coconut oil, black pepper, and sweetener of choice (I usually add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup).
- Whisk to combine and warm over medium heat. Heat until hot to the touch but not boiling – about 4 minutes – whisking frequently.
- Turn off heat and taste to adjust flavor. Add more sweetener to taste or more turmeric or ginger for intense spice + flavor.
- Serve immediately, dividing between two glasses and leaving the cinnamon stick behind. Best when fresh, though leftovers can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat on the stovetop or microwave until hot.
Spiced Hot Chocolate
- 3 cups milk (cow’s, almond, rice, soy)
- 2 Tablespoons cocoa or cacao powder
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup or brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence or extract
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground chili or cayenne pepper
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 star anise
- In a medium pot over low heat, whisk together milk, cocoa, maple syrup/brown sugar, vanilla, nutmeg and chilli/cayenne. Stir in cinnamon sticks and star anise and bring to a simmer.
- Remove pot from heat. Cover and leave to steep for at least 1 hour (when it has cooled, place in the fridge). Just before going on your picnic, warm the spiced hot chocolate over a low heat – adding more sweetness to taste, if you like – and pour into a Thermos.
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice (almond, coconut, whole, nonfat)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 2 teaspoons black tea, such as Darjeeling
- ¼ teaspoon spice mix (equal parts ground ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, star anise)
- Place milk, water, and sugar in a medium pot.
- Boil for 30 seconds, and add black tea and spice mix. Turn off heat.
- Steep for 5 minutes and strain.
Lemon Ginger Tea
- Juice from 4 lemons
- 1 6-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 6 tablespoons honey, or to taste
- 6 cups boiling water
- Dash of cayenne
- In a heatproof pitcher or pan, combine lemon juice, ginger, honey, and boiling water.
- Steep for 6 minutes. Enjoy