You're bundled up, wearing more layers than normal, and you're still cold. Most people are unaware that simple household herbs can warm you up from the inside out. Four common household herbs have a diaphoretic effect, or ability to raise body temperature. Try each and every one of them in your next meal or drink to ensure you stay warm while curled up with a good book!
1. Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)
Hailing from South America, the red pepper known as cayenne has several benefits. Known for its spicy kick, the herb contains vitamins and capsaicin, a painkilling compound capable of stimulating nerves and blood flow. Cayenne can be a pleasant addition to just about any meal. Think: hot chocolate with a dash of cayenne pepper - otherwise known as Mexican hot chocolate, or better yet, brush some on your feet and immediately cover them with socks.
2. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)
The super tasty, warming spice known as cinnamon can be added to any and every meal you wish. A member of the Laurel family - which contains many plants that help improve circulation - cinnamon is a healthy addition to your diet and perfect for consuming during the chilly winter months. Sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal or toast, and get your blood pumping! You'll be warmed up in no time.
3. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger promotes perspiration. Boasting many immune system benefits, ginger suppresses production of histamine. Ginger tea can help soothe an upset stomach and ease the symptoms of a cold. Spicy ginger candies are known to get your blood flowing! Ginger's thermogenic quality is perfect for a cold day or in the face of flu season - ginger vapors are excellent against nasal congestion, too.
4. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
The deep-yellow rhizomes of turmeric are a common spice used in Indian cuisine. Grown in the forests of Asia, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant with natural anti-inflammatory effects. It is also widely known as an immunity builder. Also, this spice can be blended with others easily (think home-mixed curry), so it's a suitable and versatile addition to the hot soup you may prepare to stay warm.
In addition to thick clothes and exercise to get your blood flowing, herbs can be a nice addition to promote warmth within your body. With immune-building properties in each, you will be ready to fight off any cold or virus that comes your way. Keep your pantry stocked with each of the above mentioned herbs to stay flu-symptom-free and cozy this winter!
- The Herb Book, pp. 147, 201
- Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, Ginger consumption enhances the thermic effect of food and promotes feelings of satiety without affecting metabolic and hormonal parameters in overweight men: a pilot study