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My Top 5 Herbs and Spices to Survive January

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When the celebrations are over, despite knowing that the days are slowly and surely getting longer, January can feel like a long hard month. The prospect of going back to work, body feeling sluggish and bloated, indigestion is your new best friend, liver ruined by excess partying and all those relatives bringing germs and viruses, along with their gifts, from far flung places, the NHS stretched beyond capacity and imploring us to stay away with minor ailments ....

These are my five favourite herbs and spices that I use to ease the strain of January, in teas or infused with honey, or alcohol to make tinctures, or in cooking. They can be drunk as simple infusions or blended, to make a change.

You can find much more detail online about these herbs and spices, and the information supplied here is by no means exhaustive, nor should it be taken as medical advice (*see note below).

Ginger … a simple cup of ginger tea provides more than just a warming, comforting drink. Considered to be the “universal cure” in Ayurvedic medicine, research has established its credentials as a useful anti-inflammatory, with a calming effect on the digestion, helping to improve circulation and provide relief for blocked sinuses and heartburn.

                                          ginger 

I simply grate or slice about a teaspoon of fresh ginger into a cup, add boiling water and leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then add honey and lemon juice to taste.  

Lemon Balm …. Widely used across Europe to relieve anxiety, stress and insomnia, Lemon Balm is rich in Vitamin C and is an anti-viral legend at dealing with cold sores. Add a cup of boiling water to 2 tsp of dried leaves, cover and leave to cool and apply directly to sores. Drinking Lemon Balm tea may also prevent an outbreak of sores, and has the added bonus of tasting delicious, lifting and soothing my spirits and settling the stomach

Elderflowers … Rich in anti-oxidants and with proven anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties, elderflowers have long been used to treat colds and flu, they are said to “Keep colds at bay and witches away”. Elderflower tea will give the immune system a boost and may help detox the liver, drunk hot or iced. Can be added to ginger tea to add a floral taste and combines well with rosehip tea.

Rosehips … Packed with Vitamin C and A  and anti-oxidants, rosehips are one of the unsung heroes of wartime Britain, when they provided essential vitamins when food supplies were limited. 

 rosehips

Rosehip tea will provide a good immune system boost, vitamin A may help the skin survive the ravages of winter weather, vitamin C to ward off colds and it may have a mild laxative effect to help relieve bloating and constipation. As a bonus, it has anti-inflammatory properties that research has shown helpful to people suffering osteoarthritis. If you are not a tea drinker, use cooled tea to make rosehip ice cubes to add a pretty, healthy flavour boost to your G&T

Fenugreek Seeds …. These tasty little seeds are popular in Indian cuisine, not just for their flavour but also because of their soothing effects on the digestive system. They can help relieve heartburn and indigestion, contain potassium and Vitamin D which is always in short supply in the dark winter days. There is evidence that the may help lower cholesterol, stabilise blood sugar levels and ease painful periods. Use in cooking or to make a tea, they can also be added to ginger tea.

 fenugreek720

And let’s not forget the magical properties ascribed to these herbs and spices; Ginger is associated with love, money and success; Lemon Balm with love and healing; Elderflowers with protection prosperity and peace; Rosehips with luck and positivity and Fenugreek to draw money.

As Roald Dahl said “those who don’t believe in magic will never find it”

 Happy New Year

TTFN Bunny x

*All are considered generally safe to use in food quantities, though fenugreek seeds should be avoided by people with nut allergies. You should seek the advice of a qualified professional practitioner before using any of the above if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a surgical procedure in the near future or recent past or are taking any other medicines, particularly aspirin, blood thinning drugs, antibiotics and sedatives.