Holiday spices and herbs, like ginger and cinnamon, are used to flavor herbs but also have medicinal properties. Spices add health benefits to food dishes as well with adding good taste. Used for centuries and valued in ancient societies, ginger, cloves and cinnamon bring flavor and good health to the dinner table.
Ginger Can Act as an Anti-Viral and Help Digestion
The ginger used in baking ginger cookies and gingersnaps comes from the root of the Zingiber officinale plant. In the same plant family as turmeric, ginger is useful to treat indigestion from holiday meals, as well as to help relieve congestion from a cold. Used to boost immunity because of its anti-viral abilities, ginger can also help relieve diarrhea, nausea and morning sickness. Motion sickness may be relieved by ginger also, a good note for those traveling over the holidays. Recent research with ginger has shown it to be efficacious in treating the pain of osteoarthritis as well.
Cinnamon May Relieve Diabetes or Toothache
The cinnamon used in apple pie originates as the bark of a tree. Used in varied cultures around the world from Greece to Persia, Turkey, Indonesia, India and France, cinnamon was even mentioned in the Old Testament in Proverbs and the Song of Solomon. Research has shown that cinnamon may help reduce symptoms of insulin resistance and diabetes. Even the American Diabetes Association recommends the use of cinnamon to diabetics. Cinnamon has been used in traditional medical systems around the world including Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese medicine. Folk uses for cinnamon include use to aid digestion, to treat colds and flu, diarrhea and difficult menses, and to soothe the nervous system.
Cloves Reduce Tooth Pain
Cloves used in pumpkin pie and mulled cider or to dress a ham come from the unopened and dried buds of the clove plant. Originally from Indonesia, the plant is used in cooking around the world as a spice and a pickling agent. Cloves are combined with other herbs to create Garam Masala in India, Chinese Five Spice in China, Worcester Sauce in Great Britain, and curry powder in India. They can be used as a painkiller or to relieve muscle spasms. Used for centuries to treat tooth pain, cloves may also help relieve stomach problems, such as vomiting. The oils are also used in perfume. Cloves inserted into oranges create a natural air purifier. This can be a fun project for children.