When dealing with illness, personally, my first attempt is always at prevention. Knowing that there are so many healing and nourishing qualities to our food is one of the best reasons I know to eat seasonal food. I believe you can heal a great deal of what ails you by taking a look at what you eat day in and day out and when something isn’t working you can easily adjust. This is why when I hear my child with a sore throat or wet cough I immediately cut dairy from their diet and increase the warm grounding seasonal foods such as squash, soups and cooked greens into their diet.
If I need to go beyond using food as prevention, I turn to herbs and spices. I thought I’d share some of my favorites herbs for healing remedies that you likely have in your kitchen right now.
Established as an anti-viral herb, many homes in India will grow basil plants around their entryway not only to help keep sicknesses at bay but as a sign of hospitality.
Some known benefits; Basil is effective at breaking down triglycerides, it is high in beta carotene, proactive for those with high blood pressure and low blood pressure, it’s a natural defense against stress hormones affecting the body.
To get the best results drink a cup of basil tea or nosh on some fresh basil leaves. All of this goodness from one little herb and the most interesting benefit of basil is its ability to aid in respiratory issues and act as a decongestant. To eliminate the nagging/gagging post nasal discharge and sinus congestion mix a few drops basil oil in water and gargle or for a sore throat boil basil leaves with water, cool and use to gargle. Of course, adding basil to your salads, soups and other recipes this cold and flu season could prove to be very beneficial.
It may surprise you to learn that this very popular herb is anti-bacterial as well as anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon is also able to help regulate blood sugar levels which can keep cravings at bay. A war
m grounding herb,cinnamon was an automatic addition to my morning oatmeal as soon as the cooler weather hit. It may not seem effective but warming from the inside out can have a lasting effect.
If you feel a cold coming on try having tea made with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. It will also be great for your digestion.
Known to benefit heart disease, lower high blood pressure and cholesterol. What some may not know is that garlic is also a natural antibiotic. It will prevent the spread of bacteria while also boosting immunity. I understand this concept all too well; you see when I was a child I have vivid memories of a warm bath, garlic between my toes, footy pajamas and then being bundled into bed. My mother claims I woke healthy and cold-free the next morning, but goodness, what did I smell like?
Good for warming the body on rainy damp or wintery days, sinus headache pain, toothaches and even ear problems, there are other ways to reap the benefits of garlic. Probably the most effective for ingestion is to simply use cooked and raw garlic in your meals, salad dressings and soups. If you’re not up for garlic between the toes you can try a simple garlic broth; two quarts of water, one bunch of garlic cut into quarters, boil on low flame for 1 hour, strain and sip slowly. Of course, swallowing or munching on raw garlic cloves would work as well.
Fresh or in powdered form this spice is a powerhouse. Known primarily as a digestive aide ginger is also veryeffective with nausea; it is able to reduce inflammation and arthritic pain and boosts our digestive juices. A warming herb by nature, a little goes a long way especially if using it in powdered form. For a cough, runny nose and congestion OR to soothe digestion enjoy a cup of ginger tea with honey (wait for the tea to cool so it is ok to sip before adding the honey). A remedy I’ve used several times with my daughter is to make a paste for her out of a tablespoon of raw honey, a sprinkle or two of powdered ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. Mix it all together and eat off a spoon slowly, allowing the honey and spices to linger and slide down the throat for optimal results. Of course, this is only recommended for children over the age of one and the honey should be raw organic and local whenever possible.
And if it is a thick head cold ailing you, a ginger foot soak will help warm the entire body while clearing mucous from the head. Add warm-hot water to a foot bath with a handful or two fresh ginger (peeled and cut into chunks) and soak your feet until the water cools and your feet are a pinkish hue. Dry off, put on some socks or slippers and begin to feel your head drain.
I hope you I’ve helped you discover some new uses for those spices in your kitchen!
Amber, a certified holistic health and nutrition consultant and creator of Truly Thriving, a health and wellness practice, has been a lifelong student of nutrition and its impact on our health. You can find her conducting seasonal workshops, offering one on one high level nutrition and lifestyle counseling, sharing valuable information on her site and creating more ways to help you thrive.
The instructions and advice presented are in no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical consulting. The information offered is based on my study and experience and meant to share what I’ve found success with. It is your responsibility to ascertain that there are not medical reasons that prevent your participation.