As the weather cools and the mercury dips down, we naturally begin craving more warming foods. That includes hot liquids, drinks, soups, and teas too.
Our kidneys, which are responsible for the water element in the body, work a little harder to heat up our system during the cold winter months. It’s a good idea to help those hard working organs by adding more “warming” ingredients into your diet.
Many folks reach out for a pumpkin spiced latte with whipped cream and caramel on top. Which is not a terrible choice: it’s creamy and comforting and loaded with extra calories to help keep you warm. Plus, it contains specific herbs and spices that have traditionally been used to heat the body.
But, a heavily sugared, calorie-laden pumpkin spiced latte may not be the smartest choice for your health, and over time, the stimulating effects of caffeine can actually weaken the kidneys.
However, using some warming herbs and spices at this time of year is a very smart choice. They can be added to any type of fruit juice or tea to make a great tasting drink with some powerful healing (and heating) properties.
For example, a traditional warming winter drink made with herbs and spices is a mulled cider. It contains cloves, star anise and cinnamon. Let’s take a closer look at these specific herbs and spices:
- Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum): contains a high concentration of eugenol, which has pain-relieving and antiseptic properties. It fights bacteria, viruses and fungi (such as Candida albicans). Clove was also traditionally used to treat toothaches.
- Star Anise (Illicium verum): this herb has gas-releiving properties and is an expectorant. Traditionally, it was used as a tea to treat colic and arthritis. Star anise contains shikimic acid, that has anti-viral properties and has been successfully used to treat cold and influenza.
- Cinnamon (Cinnamomum velum): Cinnamon bark contains volatile oils and tannins effective in treating gastrointestinal disorders. Cinnamon is used to warm the body, clear mucous congestion due to colds and flus, and also improves circulation to cold fingers and toes.
The next time you’re feeling the chill of winter, warm up with some spiced cider, and let it work it’s healing magic on you.
Here’s a quick recipe for you:
Spiced Pear Cider (makes 2-3 servings)
Bring all ingredients to a boil. Cover and lower heat to simmer. Cook 7-10 minutes. Pour into your favorite mug. Grab a cozy blanket, cuddle up on the couch, and start sipping!