Besides making nutritious food choices, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and keeping stress in check, consider turning to Mother Nature for a little help with your immune health.Oregano: Used since ancient times as a spice and to give Italian dishes extra flavor, this herb provides several essential vitamins and minerals and also has antioxidant properties.* It can be enjoyed fresh or dried, and it can be brewed into a healthful tea for times when you feel a sore throat coming on.Often used in Indian and Asian cooking for its peppery, almost citrusy flavor, cardamom contains essential minerals and antioxidant compounds.You can also add cardamom to food, such as curry dishes, for warming effects during the winter months.* Use this special spice in your morning oatmeal, add it to your smoothies or stir a pinch into your favorite tea.The root of the ginger plant is used in many traditional Chinese medicinal formulas for its “warming” properties and ability to strengthen a person’s Wei Qi.Western medicine has found that ginger root supports a healthy inflammatory response and acts as a free radical scavenger. .

Oregano (Niu Zhi)

Beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP), Rosmarinic acid, Fiber, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Potassium, Vitamin A, B6, C, E and K, Tannins, Resin, Sterols, Flavonoids.Another study conducted by the University of the West England, Bristol, won an award from the United Nations in 2008 for confirming that the essential oil made from oregano kills MRSA (a potentially deadly hospital superbug) at a dilution of 1 to 1,000.The tests confirmed that the oil killed MRSA both as a liquid and as a vapor and its antimicrobial activity did not diminished by heating it in boiling water.Adding oregano to water, soap, and disinfectants is another great way to take advantage of this herbs powerful antimicrobial and antiseptic properties.The constituents thymol and rosmarinic acid, found in oregano, are thought to be effective against Heliobacter pylori, the stomach bacteria that causes ulcers.A boiled oregano leaf solution can be used to effectively wash wounds and burns, helping to prevent infection, relieve pain, and promote healing.High in fiber, oregano helps bind bile salts and cancer-causing toxins in the colon so they can be easily and safely eliminated from the body.Oregano was not really known in the U.S. until after WWII when returning soldiers from Italy brought back stories of this delicious herb and it began to be introduced as part of the growing popularity for Italian foods and pizza.

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The Energetics of Kitchen Herbs & Spices

Used wisely, spices and kitchen herbs help us digest meals, get back on track from common ailments, and open our senses.Spices, as a very dynamic part of diet, either help or hinder our efforts at healing, including cultivation practices, herbal or acupuncture strategies, and Western drugs or procedures.The macro and micronutrients necessary for complete nutrition are provided through grains, vegetables, fruits and protein foods (beans, nuts, seeds, dairy, fish or meats).Warming spices and kitchen herbs are also very important for long-time vegetarians whose digestive tracts can tend to cool down (meat requires—and therefore calls up—more stomach fire).For this reason, spices and kitchen herbs are usually classified by cooks according to the cuisines where they are prominent or foods they traditionally accompany: rosemary with lamb or cinnamon in apple pie.Chinese medicine dietary tradition treats spices and kitchen herbs with the same methodical systematizing it uses for medicinal herbs: assessing by taste, qi (thermostatic influence), law of signature based on part of plant, directionality, humor effected, zang fu and channel affinity or influence.The use of rosemary, for example, is excellent in the morning to uplift qi—perhaps with a pinch of tarragon on eggs with three spears of asparagus—but inappropriate in the evening if aiming for a restful sleep.Similarly, if trying to use garlic to cleanse digestion, it is necessary to counteract its strong ascending quality with a dietary envoy—as in herbal medicine practice—such as carrots and sesame seeds.People with complaints of reflux or urgent hunger (excess stomach fire), signs of dehydration on their tongue or blood/fluid/hormonal deficiency in their pulses should avoid hot spices.Spicy refers mostly to the basic kitchen herbs (e.g., oregano, rosemary, basil), and classic spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seed, etc.Salty is also a taste category in Chinese Medicine, including not only salt itself (of various types) but also spices or vegetables that leave a mineral-like sensation on the tongue.The well-known property of salt to retain water can be used skillfully as in herbal medicine to provide hydration to soften hardnesses that resist clearing.There may be days when an emotional focus is foremost, for example serving a hearty meal with rosemary and mustard seed to invigorate conversation at a dinner party, using cumin and saffron to encourage sharing of feelings in a smaller setting, or yogurt with vanilla and a splash of rosewater to calm the spirit after a period of high pressure or being too busy.Too often, ‘spicy’ only means hot, and dishes stress our systems instead of making skillful use of the wide spectrum of spices (and their functions) available to us today.It’s here that we can fine tune the energetics of the meals we offer, using insights from the masters of Chinese medicine along with our awareness of our current needs, cultural backgrounds, and evolving skills. .

12 Warming Herbs & Spices for Fall and Winter

For most people, fall and winter bring colder temperatures and some dreary weather.You might find yourself staying indoors more, fending off the chill, and maybe feeling more sluggish than usual.Of course, herbs and spices also bring health-boosting benefits with them and can be a key part of wellness during cold and flu season.Most warming herbs and spices stimulate circulation, which is generally good during cooler weather, since you may be doing more sitting and need to get your blood moving.You recognize its warming quality immediately when you taste it, and it can be used to flavor all kinds of foods and drinks.Cinnamon improves circulation, stimulates a sluggish digestion, and gives a boost to your immune system.It also supports heart health and contains plenty of antioxidants that help you keep feeling younger for longer.It also promotes liver, digestive, and skin health and is good for your heart as well.Well-known for calming nausea and indigestion, ginger can also help ease cramps associated with PMS and boost immune function.Or use ginger root to make tea (add lemon, honey, and cinnamon if desired).It may surprise you to learn that cloves are at the top of the spice list for antioxidant content with over 60 times the amount found in blueberries!Thyme is often thought of as a common culinary herb, but it's a treasured part of many herbalists' inventories.Thyme has long been used to ease coughing and a sore throat, relieve congestion, and support the respiratory system.Cardamom isn't as popular as cinnamon and cloves, but it shares some similar properties and has been used since ancient times.This warming spices aids digestion, relieves stress, and even helps to freshen your breath.It can help to clear your chest- especially if rubbed on as an oil or breathed in as an herbal steam- and is soothing for sore throats.Just adding some to your food can bring warmth to your body, and it also helps to kickstart a sluggish digestion.Garlic is filled with antioxidants as well that support heart and brain health.It won't knock you out with heat, but it does add a lot of warm, citrus flavor with just a tiny amount of the peel.It has natural pain-relieving properties and also stimulates circulation when massaged in, making it helpful for stiff or "cold" muscles and joints.It supports digestion and can help relieve gas, all while giving a sweet, spicy flavor to food.It's very easy to make your own herbal chai tea at home, and it's the perfect warming drink for fall and winter.Add all of your spices (not the black tea) to a small saucepan and pour in 8-10 ounces of water.If you use too many warming spices without anything to balance them, they can have a drying effect on your body and possibly aggravate an inflamed digestion.Please consult your health care provider, herbalist, midwife, or naturopathic physician before taking herbs, supplements, etc. .

Comfort the Body and Mind with Warming Essential Oils This Winter

Many who live in cold countries look forward to the bright, white, cooling comfort of winter and to the warmth and coziness that await them indoors, while for many others, the bleak unease associated with this season is not limited to the weather pattern; it extends to their states of mind.Around the world, on the dark side of Winter, many suffer in restless silence as the days shorten, which can negatively impact one’s emotions, energy levels, and even outlook on life.This biological process is in control of the sleep cycle, hormones, and metabolism, among various other essential bodily functions, and disruptions to them can lead many to feel sluggish, sad, and stuck.Essential Oils are valuable during the colder months not only for their scents, especially those with bright, cheerful, invigorating, and warming fragrances, but also for the anti-bacterial property that many are reputed to exhibit, which helps to facilitate recovery from seasonal illnesses.Furthermore, many of them are known to help ease stiffness and body aches that may arise from shoveling snow or simply from long-term exposure to cold air.Its warm, subtly woodsy and earthy scent has a brightening and uplifting effect on the mood and is reputed to ease feelings of stress.It exudes a warm and woodsy but fresh aroma that has a lively yet calming quality, which helps to balance the emotions as well as clear and energize the mind, making it especially ideal for use during spiritual practices.Its stimulating property helps to increase focus, emotional strength, determination, courage, and a positive outlook by encouraging an uplifting sense of relaxation and serenity.By helping to release strong negative feelings of emotional tenseness, whether it is caused by sadness, fear, panic, irritability, or grief, Marjoram Oil is reputed to encourage both physical and mental rest.Ginger Oil is said to be helpful for managing mood fluctuations that are sudden and volatile, making it beneficial for those who suffer from emotional imbalance.Furthermore, it is believed to function as a “truth serum” of sorts, as its aroma is said to promote the ability to reflect on thoughts, feelings, experiences, and behaviour patterns with sincerity, fairness, and conscientiousness.The calming effect of its sensual and seductive aroma helps to uplift the mood, boost energy levels, improve attentiveness, reduce fatigue, anxiety, and stress, and promote emotional stability.Pillager's Potion Synergy Blend: Made up of Clove Bud, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Tea Tree oils.Breathe Easy Synergy Blend: Made up of Ravensara, Eucalyptus, Lemon, Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, and Cardamom oils.Several, if not all, of the oils in these lists are known to help the body produce sweat, clear congestion, and to have stimulating properties that make them ideal for addressing poor circulation and for revitalizing skin that appears dry, flat, and colorless.They can be diffused, diluted in a warm bath, used to make a room freshener, incorporated into a candle formulation, applied as a roll-on personal scent or body spray, or be added to a massage oil blend, among various other applications.To use it, simply stamp or roll a small amount of the blend onto the preferred area of skin, such as the wrist, and allow the fragrance to naturally waft.Additionally, snow and ice on the ground reflect the sun back onto our skin, increasing our exposure to harmful UV rays and further establishing the necessity of SPF during these months.Read on to discover Essential Oil-based skincare practices and recipes that can help to repair and revive skin that has been weathered, stripped, or damaged by austere weather….To combat the effects of decreased humidity, it is recommended that a stronger, longer-lasting, and more potent skincare routine substitute the practices that are in place during warmer months.The following Body Butters are luxurious, skin-health-enhancing emollients that are known to be rich in vitamins and to exhibit hydrating, soothing, smoothing, and softening properties, making them NDA’s most popular moisturizers:.Essential Oils may be blended into any of these butters to create personalized moisturizers that are better suited to individual needs, preferred scents and properties, and to the desired effects.Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.Potential side effects of Essential Oils include redness, rash, hives, burning, bleeding disorders, decreased speed of healing, low blood pressure, dizziness, headache, nausea, diarrhea, convulsions, and rapid heartbeat.In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the products and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. .

The Ayurvedic Principle of Foods That Heat Up and Cool Your Body

Often referred to as the "science of life", Ayurveda aims to achieve holistic development of the mind , body and soul of any individual who abides by this age old practice.Optimistic thinking, regular exercise and the yogic techniques of meditation and breathing may take you places and keep your body calm and balanced.Simply put, Ayurveda tries to assess whether a particular food item has a cooling or a heating effect inside our body which in turn has an impact on our metabolism and digestion.During the winter season, in order to keep the body warm, root vegetables like carrots, radish, turnips and so on which are innately hot, are highly recommended.Spices like ajwain, mustard and hing (asafetida) help provide relief from common ailments like colds and flu in the winter season.Vegetables like mushrooms, tomato, asparagus, lettuce and egg plants are easy to digest in the summer months due to their inherently cold nature.According to BN Sinha, Ayurvedic Expert, "The nature of the body type plays a major role in guiding us about the kind of food we should be eating.In case one consumes excess of hot foods, the amount of heat the body produces increases."Delayed digestion and frequent bouts of flu, cough and fever may be caused due to excess consumption of cold foods," he shares.Simply put, Ayurveda tries to assess whether a particular food item has a cooling or a heating effect on our body which in turn has an impact on our metabolism and digestion.It is essential to note that consuming foods without considering one's body type and ignoring this distinction between hot and cold could have adverse effects on our health and make us more susceptible to diseases, according to the science of Ayurveda. .

Essential Oils for Your Dosha — Purusha Ayurveda

Because the vata dosha is light, dry, mobile, and cold, an imbalance of this energy is treated with oils that are wet, heavy, calming, and warming.Among the best remedies for both types of vata imbalance are the following botanical oils: ginger, oregano, orange, eucalyptus, cumin, cinnamon, clove, celery seed, black pepper, bergamot, bay, calamus, camphor, marjoram, arnica, ajwain, caraway, thyme, sage, rosewood, lemon, and nutmeg.Oils extracted from cooling carminatives, such as aromatic spices, help relieve burning diarrhea and digestive complaints caused by accumulations of excess pitta in the small intestine.Cooling essential oils that purify the blood, fight infections, reduce fevers, and promote healing include aloe vera, coriander, cumin, dill, jasmine, neem, sandalwood, spearmint, tagetes, turmeric, yarrow, and blue chamomile.To nourish the tissues of the body, reduce inflammation, restore secretions that have dried up from pitta’s excessive heat, and build the blood and lymph system, choose oils made from angelica, carrot seed, cedar wood, neem, neroli, and spikenard.When pitta aggravation leads to energy burnout, angelica, brahmi, carrot seed, cedar wood, rose, and jatamansi oils help rejuvenate the body and mind, increasing awareness and promoting behavioral changes and more dynamic and expansive thinking.To reduce pitta’s heat and cool the liver, use oils from diuretic herbs such as coriander, fennel, lavender, lemongrass, sandalwood, and spearmint.Composed of earth and water, kapha is predominantly cold, moist, slow, and heavy in nature and can be balanced with substances that are warming, drying, lightening, and stimulating, such as oils made from plants that taste pungent, bitter, and astringent.By strengthening digestive fire, stimulant and carminative essential oils help reverse the mental and physical sluggishness associated with a kapha imbalance.These oils include ajwain, anise, basil, bay, black pepper, calamus, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, juniper berry, mustard, nutmeg, orange peel, oregano, parsley, pennyroyal, saffron, thyme, turmeric, and valerian.To reduce the fluid buildup associated with kapha aggravation, use oils from diuretic herbs, such ajwain, cinnamon, coriander, fennel, garlic, juniper berry, lemongrass, parsley, and spearmint.Diaphoretic oils, which induce sweating—such as ajwain, angelica, basil, camphor, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, eucalyptus, ginger, juniper berry, lemongrass, mugwort, oregano, sage, and thyme—are good for this purpose, too. .

Herbs

Valerian, licorice, burdock, camomile, and cleavers are examples of the herbs typically included in this category.Third-degree heating herbs, such as angelica and ginger, will cut through tough obstructions and cause abundant sweating.The fourth degree is so hot that the herbs can burn the body, cause inflammation, or even raise blisters externally, if inappropriately consumed or applied.Garlic, mustard, onions, cayenne, and black pepper were included here, and these are the herbs we most often associate with heat today.Plantain, dandelion, purslane, lettuce, cucumber, citrus fruits, and apples are all considered cold in the second or third degree.Galen was careful to point out that applying a herb of the wrong degree might heal the original problem, but would certainly lead to another. .

11 cooling foods, 5 easy recipes to beat the heat

By making some smart food and beverage choices, we can minimize the sun’s toll on our bodies and enjoy every minute of every carefree day.Fresh fruits and vegetables provide loads of water, with vitamins and minerals to boot.Nibble on cucumber slices, dipped in cool ranch or hummus, for a great snack.Combine cucumber, lemon and spinach in a blender (with ice if desired) and puree until smooth and drinkable, adding a little water if necessary.If you want to try cucumbers in ways you’ve never tried before, whip up my Indian Raita with Naan and Watermelon Salsa recipes.Sweet, juicy and crunchy, the fruit reduces body heat immediately — perhaps that’s why watermelon slices are such a welcome addition to every summer soiree.But don’t relegate the melon to hand-held slices and “balls.” The flesh is excellent when pureed into a juice; I like to add a splash of lemon or lime.At just 35-50 calories each, fresh peaches are crammed with vitamins A and C, riboflavin and potassium, essential nutrients for maintaining healthy skin and body.And take note: Dried peaches help regulate the body’s production of heat.When it comes to healthy food options, leafy green vegetables seem to find a spot on every list.Ve ggies that are brimming with water not only cool the body, they’re easier to digest.That means your body doesn’t have to work as hard, which saves you energy and keeps you cool.Opt for large green salads mixed with other water-rich vegetables, such as celery, iceberg lettuce and tomato.Just like leafy greens and cucumbers, fresh pineapple is crammed with water and nutrients.You also can place fresh pineapple slices on burgers and grilled chicken for extra flavor and texture.Check out my recipe for Hawaiian Chicken with Grilled Pineapple and Zucchini , which incorporates two cooling foods.The true squash of summer, zucchini ranges in color from yellow to dark green.All varieties are water-packed and high in vitamin C, phytonutrients and manganese, a mineral that helps protect your body from free-radical damage (especially important when we spend long summer days in the blazing sun).Manganese also promotes collagen production and the growth of healthy bone tissue.Chock-full of antioxidants, mint has been used as a home remedy for lowering body heat for centuries.A quick science primer will explain: Our nervous system is built to sense changes in temperature.The receptor protein that senses those temp changes is TRPM8 and it’s found in all cold-sensing nerve cells.Once activated by TRPM8, our nerve cells send a message to the brain that “things are cooling down.”.Apart from being water-rich, radishes are packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that lowers body heat.All citrus fruits have incredible cooling effects on the body, and they promote detoxification (thanks to vitamin C).Add a squeeze of fresh lemon (and lemon wedges) to your water and, as you sip and stay hydrated throughout the day, you’ll be adding immune-boosting compounds that protect your body and skin (the body’s largest organ).Curd is a dairy product obtained by curdling milk with an acidic ingredient like lemon juice or vinegar.In India, curd is hailed for its ability to aid digestion and provide a cooling relief from spicy foods.Y ogurt is obtained using a similar process (the milk is fermented with two different strains of live bacteria), and it produces the same cooling result.Create cool summer treats by using yogurt (regular or Greek) as the base for smoothies, milkshakes, dips and “ice cream bars.” For a refreshing dessert, add diced fruit and mixed berries to yogurt and top with a sprinkling of granola or nuts.Coconut water is loaded with electrolytes and essential minerals that help keep the body well hydrated.Serve the chicken with the grilled pineapple and zucchini, and extra sauce on the side.Note: This creamy dip also makes a great topping for chicken, steak, fish, and vegetables.In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, cucumber, cilantro, green onions, coriander and cumin.Spread the peach and strawberry slices out on a wax paper- or parchment paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until frozen, about 4 hours.Transfer the peaches and strawberries to a blender and add the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla.Puree until smooth and the mixture has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.Serve immediately or, for a firmer, ice cream-like consistency, freeze in an airtight container until firm. .

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