There's nothing quite like the beauty of fall coming on! Vibrantly colored leaves on the trees, that cool air breezing through, the crunch of the leaves, the rush to put the garden to bed for the winter, the first crackling fire in your house, and big warm cozy sweaters!
While the fires, the sweaters, and snuggling up are great ways to keep you warm for the seasonal change, did you know that you can also use herbs to warm you up from the inside?
Here are nine of my favorite herbs to use when the weather begins to cool!
Reduces inflammation, eases digestive upset by eliminating intestinal gas and spasms, stimulates digestion, useful for motion sickness & nausea during pregnancy (though no more than 2 gram of dried ginger daily, is recommended during pregnancy), promotes circulation to the extremities, reduces pain resulting from arthritis. (1)
Incredibly rich in antioxidants to keep you looking younger longer, has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties that help tone and heal gut damage and ease diarrhea, helps to lower blood sugar & cholesterol while strengthening overall health of the heart. (4)
Stimulates blood flow strengthening the heart, arteries, capillaries, and the nerves. Tonifies the circulatory and digestive systems, helps to improve circulation to the periphery parts. Try putting a bit of cayenne in your socks if you're heading out to play in the snow! Topically, it acts as an anti-inflammatory, & pain reliever. (4)
Stimulates release of bile from the gall bladder, which helps to improve digestion. Bile secretion helps digest dietary fats and oils, as well as secrete cholesterol and waste form the body, Helps to break down mucous in the respiratory tract, improves peripheral circulation. (2)
Helps speed sluggish digestion & metabolism, eases flatulence and colic, helps to break up bronchial congestion, works best when taken immediately before meals, can be beneficial in cases of inflammatory bowel diseases. (2)
We all like to forget about this little spice, but did you know that adding some fresh cracked black pepper to your dishes drastically increases the bioavailability of the nutrients in your foods? It also has anti-carcinogenic properties, antioxidants, anti-ulcer, anti-asthmatic, and anti-inflammatory properties to it! Somebody pass the pepper please!
Turmeric is all the rage these days, and with great reason. It's not only good at warming you up from the inside out, it also has incredible anti-inflammatory properties in both acute and chronic conditions, it's high in antioxidants, has liver protecting properties and has been shown to have cancer fighting properties. Whip up some golden milk, or a curry dish, and make sure you include some black pepper and a healthy dose of fats, such as coconut oil to increase the absorption up to 2,000 times! (2) (4)
Contain eugenol, which has been shown to prevent toxicity from environmental pollutants, prevent digestive tract disorders and aid in joint inflammation. It also has antibacterial properties, and can be a nice anesthetic for tooth and mouth pain. (5) The aromatic properties signify benefit to the digestive system.
Can be used as a carminative to relieve gas and flatulence, also tones the bowel, and provides relief from diarrhea. Contains myristicin, which has shown to help protect the liver, also eases inflammation in diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Nutmeg also has also been shown to exhibit antibacterial properties. (5)
Are you warm yet, just from reading this? Are you drooling, and suddenly having the desire to cook? I know I am, and so that is what I shall do! Leave me a comment on some of your favorite warming recipes.
"Let Food Be Thy Medicine, and Medicine Be Thy Food" Hippacrates
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*Always remember to contact your healthcare provider when considering the use of botanical medicine as a possible treatment option and the medical considerations. While the information in this article is absolutely relevant, herbs work differently for each person and each condition.
**I am a trained herbalist and not a licensed or registered healthcare practitioner. I cannot diagnose health conditions, nor prescribe medicines legally; I am not a medical doctor. However, I will recommend or suggest medicinal herbs for various health complaints, as I do believe in the safety and efficacy of botanical medicine.
***The information I’ve provided is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Please consult your medical care provider before using herbal medicine, particularly if you have a known medical condition or if you are pregnant or nursing.
About the Author: Melissa Mutterspaugh
Melissa lives in Oregon, in the foothills of Mount Hood. She's a clinical herbalist, environmental educator, mother, wilderness therapist, nemophilist, music loving maniac, and the founder, of Mountain Mel's Essential Goods. She is passionate about inspiring others to take better care of our planet, through taking better care of themselves, naturally!
- Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts, 2003. Print.
- Mills, Simon, and Kerry Bone. Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy: Modern Herbal Medicine. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2000. Print.
- Tilgner, Sharol. Herbal Medicine: From the Heart of the Earth. Creswell, OR: Wise Acres, 1999. Print.
- Groves, Maria Noël. Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-care. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
- Murray, Michael T., Joseph E. Pizzorno, and Lara Pizzorno. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York: Atria, 2005. Print.