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Spices - Winter Warmers

Added 13/04/2013

Spices - Winter Warmers in the kitchen pharmacy cupboard.

This time of the year it’s always a delight to turn to the spices in the kitchen pharmacy cupboard. The pinch of cinnamon or cayenne, some ground fenugreek or fennel seeds and the delights of ginger and nutmeg can aid digestion support the immune system and offer overall benefits to the hormonal and glandular systems of the body. Wow all this in just a pinch of spice added to your suppers or porridge, juicing or baking. Then there is the extra little gift of exciting our taste buds. Most of the time spices offer their well being benefits by supporting and assisting production of sufficient gastric juices and relaxing the whole digestion system. On an individual basis some spices also are anti bacterial, antifungal and anti viral benefits. So what a great way to support your families immune system simply by adding a pinch of spice! All these spices produce the effect of harmonising and nourishing the whole physiology of the body, again how great is that! Mother Nature always giving us so much.

Cinnamon:

Let’s start with cinnamon!

This is a great example of a medicinal/wellbeing remedy that can be used much more efficiently as a food, particularly with children. Cinnamon is a sweet tasting spice with a slight warming effect.

Cinnamon is high in anti-oxidants. This spice is an anti inflammatory. Aids digestion, great for upset stomachs. Cinnamon soothes the lining of the stomach when there are symptoms of irritation in the digestive tract. Add a pinch to homemade barley water to support the kidneys.

Cayenne:

For me this is the queen of spices in the kitchen cupboard as it offers so many wonderful medicinal qualities. This would be powdered cayenne I would keep in the kitchen cupboard.

Fantastic for bringing movement to the physiology of the body, promotes circulation and feeds and nourishes the circulatory system helping the actual structure of the elasticity of the cell structure of arteries and veins. Cayenne powder is great for balancing blood pressure. Also soothes, sustains and repairs the lining of the stomach if used raw, once cooked this is not an effect of cayenne. So how do I use it raw, use a little like a condiment, sprinkle on jacket potatoes or baked root vegetables after cooking. Add a little to olive oil or sprinkle on rice dishes. In terms of using cayenne in my herbal practice I would place it in capsules with other powdered herbs. Cayenne provides natural warmth for the body, so wonderful if circulation is a little sluggish in the winter months particularly if you experience very cold hands and feet. Cayenne is known by herbalist as one of the safest stimulants as it brings an increased flow of blood to all areas of the body which promotes healthy tissue and assists in the oxygenation of cells. Cayenne is helpful when there is loss of appetite and a feeling of low spirits, just the tinniest pinch can initiate a change.

Fenugreek:

These little seeds are packed with nourishing and tonic effects, work best when crushed as is the case with a lot of seeds so a pestle and mortar can be useful. So nourishing are these seeds, so can be used when a child has lost some weight due to illness. Fenugreek is fantastic for breastfeeding mothers as it supports lactation. Soothes and heals the lining of the stomach aiding weak digestion. I also consider fenugreek to be a great blood sugar balancer, so for any family member who experiences blood sugar lows or highs make a tea from the seeds or add to foods. Fenugreek would combine beautifully with slippery elm powder for anyone who is finding it difficult to eat due to illness, also breastfeeding mothers could add to their diet if their baby’s weight is struggling to increase.

Fennel:

Yet another fantastic jar of seeds to keep in the cupboard. A sweet gentle warming seed which has a great taste, so children enjoy the addition of fennel. One of fennels functions is a calming effect; on the digestive system, I see it as sweetening the stomach. These crushed seeds are just lovely for any children’s upset tummies or cramping.  It is antispasmodic, anti- inflammatory and anti-microbial. Just like fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds support lactation, in fact fennel is one of the ingredients in Welcome Worlds Mamas Nursing Support Tea. Do visit the shop and use the discount voucher code WWP to receive 10% off when you buy 2 packets of tea. What often isn’t known about fennel is that it assists fats and mucus to dissolve so is very supportive for the lungs during the winter months.

Ginger:

Again anti inflammatory properties are in this fantastic spice. Improves circulation and supports movement in terms of flow of blood around the body. Ginger is great for coughs and colds; also for any kind of nausea sensations, it has a nice warming effect as well as moving mucus from the body. Not a root that I would recommend using if you know you have high blood pressure. I have also noticed if women experience a short gap between cycles of menstruation this is not a herb to use in large quantities. Raw root ginger is one of the ingredients I suggest in my blender liver support drink. Recipe as follows; About a quarter of an inch of root ginger, a clove of garlic, juice of half a lemon , a tablespoon of olive oil and apple juice. Place all ingredients in the blender and whiz. Then drink preferably first thing in the morning. I suggest using this drink if there are feelings of the liver being a little sluggish. I usually describe it as, very gently, cleansing the liver.

So just a few spices that I hope I have inspired you to keep in your kitchen cupboard pharmacy, or maybe there all ready are in the cupboard and a new enthusiasm to use more. There are of course lots more we will look at in future newsletters.

I WOULD LOVE IT IF YOU POSTED ANY SPICE WISDOM YOU KNOW OF AND HOW YOU USE THEM ON THE WELCOME WORLD HERBAL TEAS FACEBOOK PAGE.

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