We are officially one month into the winter season. You’ve more than likely increased the amount of warm foods, like soups and stews, you eat. Doing so is wonderful and highly beneficial in the colder months, but one thing often gets overlooked: the use of warming herbs. These herbs are important not only for physical warmth, but for many other health reasons.
What are Warming herbs?
When you hear ‘warming’, you may think of temperature. Herbs can be warmed in the form of tea or in foods, but this is only one kind of ‘warm’ and most herbs can be taken this way.
“Warming” here refers to the property of the herb. Some herbs are warm, or they have a warming effect on the body. Other herbs are cool and have a cooling effect on the body. Think of cayenne pepper and mint. There’s no mistaking cayenne as a warming herb, or mint as one that cools; you can feel the effects of both moments after ingesting them!
Other warming herbs include (but are not limited to):
- Siberian ginseng
- Wild yam
What are the benefits to using Warming herbs?
Warming herbs are not created equal. Each individual herb has an effect on different organ systems and parts of the body. For instance, ginger is a commonly used warm herb known to warm the digestive system, helping nutrients to become more bioavailable.
Broadly speaking, warming herbs can benefit the body in several different ways:
- Dispels cold from the body (cold in temperature and cold that transforms to illness)
- Helps circulation (good for the cardiovascular system, muscles)
- Supports healthy digestion
- Reduces liver congestion
- Improves exhaustion
In the winter months, cold can accumulate in the body. Eating colder foods and cold sweet drinks can increase mucus, slowing down the digestive system and liver detoxification. This is usually the time of year when we eat foods that are denser, sweeter, and richer. These foods can exacerbate inflammation and joint pain as well. It is also the time of year when we are more predisposed to getting a cold or flu. Warming herbs are therefore an essential part of keeping your body in optimal health.
How should I take Warming herbs?Warming herbs can be taken several ways. To receive the best benefit, the method of intake should be personalized to you.
Generally, many of these herbs can easily be incorporated into the foods you eat or things you drink. Some examples include:
- Make a tea (ginger tea or an organic chai tea is nice this time of year)
- Include it in your cooked and raw meals.
- Take the herb as a daily supplement (capsule, tincture, powder, or tea form works well.)
However you choose to take it, adding warming herbs to your diet is a valuable part of staying healthy during the winter months.
If you’d like more guidance on doing so, please reach out for a health consultation. We can provide you with personalized recommendations to suit your diet and lifestyle.