The holidays are upon us! You might have already started buying presents, planning meals, and putting up decorations, but have you made a list and checked it twice when it comes to herbs and spices? Now is the perfect time to use holiday herbs and spices in cooking and baking. Guess what? Many common holiday herbs and spices also double as natural medicine! Everyone knows the holidays are a stressful time, and a little extra boost of wellness is always welcome – especially when it can be found right in your pantry.
Here are a few herbs and spices you need to stock up on before tackling the holiday season:
When it comes to holiday baking, cinnamon is usually the first thing that comes to mind. From baked goods, to warm holiday drinks, to sweet side dishes (like applesauce and sweet potatoes), cinnamon is a must-have in your pantry. Cinnamon is also a natural way to relieve indigestion and nausea, and let’s face it – after holiday parties and celebrations, our stomachs need all the help they can get. A simple cinnamon tea can remedy tummy woes. Simmer three or four sticks of cinnamon in two cups water and enjoy after a large meal.
Joined at the hip, you often can’t find cinnamon without nutmeg. Much like cinnamon, nutmeg is a delicious addition to a long list of holiday treats, and it works as a digestive aid as well! A small pinch of nutmeg added to a cup of ginger tea will settle an upset stomach. For a soothing kid-friendly drink, a sprinkle of nutmeg in a glass of warm milk can help settle little minds down after crazy holiday events.
Nothing screams the holiday season like the scent of cloves. Cloves are often found studding a ham, an orange, or mixed into warm cider. Chew on a clove to cure bad breath (especially helpful for close-proximity celebrations).
Ginger is a medicinal powerhouse. It can be used to relieve gas, nausea, chills, congestion, inflammation, and increase circulation. A cup of ginger tea is a holiday essential to combat stress as well. Steep one or two tablespoons freshly grated ginger root (or ½ teaspoon powdered ginger) in one cup boiling water for about ten minutes. If this tea is too spicy for you, adding a dollop of honey can sweeten things up!
Candy canes and Christmas go hand in hand; luckily, peppermint has many healing properties and can stimulate digestion, relieve heartburn, and eliminate headaches, all common concerns during the holidays. A cup of peppermint tea, a mint made with real peppermint extract, or a few drops of peppermint essential oil rubbed on the temples should due the trick.
Rosemary is ideal for roasts, stews, soups, chicken, and more. Not only is is a tasty, fragrant addition to food, it can also be used to relieve headaches, enliven hair and skin, and act as a mild diuretic.
Sage, while delicious in many recipes, is well-known for it’s natural healing properties. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, memory booster, sore throat reliever, and is helpful in reducing stomach or intestine irritations.