Some of these kitchen allies help keep us warm as well. Cinnamon, ginger, and rosemary are all powerful circulatory stimulants and do an excellent job of keeping away the chills in winter. Just think of how nice it is to enjoy a hot mug of cinnamon hot chocolate. Yum! Cardamom is a nice alternative for those who want that earthy flavor but don't want to heat themselves up too much. Instead of stimulating blood flow, cardamom warms up the gastrointestinal tract and can be a big help in soft or loose stools. It also cuts through and breaks up mucus, whether it's in the GI tract or nasal passages. Cardamom is a great gentle warmer for people who are feeling damp or cold. Try it with some fennel, cumin, and ginger for an upset stomach, or with cinnamon and cloves for lung problems.
If you're eating away from home and are worried about gas or indigestion, a small handful of fennel or caraway seeds stashed in your pocket can help with any post meal pain or discomfort. Try chewing on a teaspoon or so of the seeds after you eat to prevent indigestion and to freshen your breath.
Want to make something simple at home that can help stave off or fight colds and flus, indigestion, and relax sore muscles? Make up a batch of Fire Cider!
1/2c Horseradish root, grated
1/2c Onion, chopped
1/2c Ginger, grated
1/8-1/4c Garlic, chopped
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients into a quart jar and cover with raw apple cider vinegar. Let steep at least two weeks, preferably 8 weeks, and as long as three months. No need to refrigerate as vinegar is a natural preservative. This can be sipped daily as a general digestion, circulatory, and immune tonic. At the onset of a cold or flu, try taking up to a tablespoon three times a day until symptoms are gone. It can also be used a compress for sore muscles or on the chest for lung congestion. If the taste is too strong for you, it can be mixed with some raw honey, which also helps to fight cold, flus, and congestion. Fire Cider also makes a delicious salad dressing!
Always remember that if your herbs and spices are more than a year old they should be thrown out. Fresh will have much better and stronger flavors and stronger medicinal properties. They should always be stored in airtight containers away from light and heat. Happy cooking!