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Winter spice remedies

by Alia T (follow)
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Wintery days may be synonymous with colds, coughs and fevers for most of us, but we don't need to rush to the nearest health centre or call on the doctor each time we might feel a cold coming. There are some natural ingredients, right from our kitchen, that will do the job quickly and effectively.



winter spices
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/ arthur84


Apart from their culinary appeal, black or cayenne pepper, mustards, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger are some of those spices which have an impressive list of health promoting properties that are used to treat a wide variety of ailments.

Black/CayennePepper

With its anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, black/cayenne pepper has been used throughout the world during ancient times to treat numerous infections including nose congestion, common colds and flus, runny nose and blocked sinuses.

A cup of boiling water mixed with a pinch of black pepper and honey to taste, will rapidly clear nose, chest and sinus congestion.

Mix black pepper with warm water and gargle to relieve a sore throat, or make a mixture of 1/8 teaspoon of pepper with 2 tablespoons of honey and take 1 teaspoonful at regular intervals.

Mustards

According to ancient Indian therapies, a warm mustard oil massage ten minutes before taking a warm bath is effective in breaking down mucous deposits, clearing congestion, and improving blood circulation. It also acts as a moisturiser for the skin in winter, making it smooth and silky.



warm oil massage
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/ marin


Cinnamon

Cinnamon sticks are both warming and stimulating, and help heating up the body. It's anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties are used to treat respiratory infections.

Cinnamon apple cider is a traditional beverage that is often prepared in winter. Besides being a delicious beverage, it is used as a natural tonic to warm up the body.

Place a cinnamon stick, a few cloves and apple cider in a saucepan.

Heat gently for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and leave to stand for a few minutes.

Remove whole spices before consuming when still warm.

Turmeric and ginger

Turmeric milk is a well-known beverage in India. Both warm and comforting, it helps clear sinus and congestion, relieves sore throats, and combat colds and flus, while ginger acts as a natural cough suppressant.

1 cup fresh whole milk
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 whole black peppercorns
2 whole cardamom pods, cracked
1/2 inch ginger, roughly chopped


Mix everything and bring to boil.
Leave to stand for a few minutes before straining.
Serve warm.
If you do not like the bitter taste of turmeric milk, you may sweeten the drink with a little raw honey.
To add up flavours, you may sprinkle a few saffron strands over the top.

Another miraculous winter tonic is ginger tea. Considered as a virtual medicine chest in Ayurveda, ginger tea is India's best antidote of choice for battling cold and flu.

Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/ marin


Peel and slice ginger and boil in water for 10-20 minutes. The longer you leave it to simmer, the stronger and tangier is the tea.
Add in some spices like cinnamon stick, mint leaves, and juice of half a lime for a flavour and leave to infuse.
Sweeten with honey and consume when still warm.

Related articles:
* How turmeric could save your life
* 10 Ways to use cinnamon

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