As I am writing this we have had our first real day of winter, brrrgh!! Time for the winter warming herbs that heat us up from the inside and take away that chilled to the bone feeling.My favourites are those that are most available to me: Ginger, Garlic, Kawa kawa and Horopito. Best warming spices are: Turmeric, Cinnamon, Paprika and Chillies.
Kawa Kawa (pictured) is a native plant with a multitude of uses both internal and external. Plant some in a semi shaded spot if there is none growing wild near your place. It’s anti-inflammatory, an anti-oxidant, a circulatory tonic and it also helps the body eliminate waste, making it a great winter tonic herb. It has a lovely spicy flavour and is easy to make into a healthy tea. Choose 2-3 holey leaves and gently bruise. Pour over just boiled water and leave covered for 10 minutes. Warming herbs encourage our circulatory system to get moving which can be used to prevent common winter issues such as chilblains and joint pains. These herbs also have other properties such as anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory – we can put them to good use at this time of the year to fight off colds and flu’s.
Winter Warming Drink
1 Tbsp grated Ginger
1 cm of Chilli pod
2 cloves chopped Garlic
Half a lemon grated rind and juice
Simmer very gently for 20 mins, strain and add honey if desired.Thyme and Sage are still available for harvest on a drier day. Use fresh or harvest a few small bunches to hang in the kitchen to have on hand as invaluable herbs in your soups and stews; as well as a medicine. Both herbs have strong anti-oxidant and antibacterial actions that kill off those nasty bugs that gather at our first line of internal defence – the throat; they also soothe and reduce inflammation. Use them frequently in a gargle at the first sign of a sore throat to prevent the cold developing.
How to make a Sage and Thyme gargle
Place a generous sprig of each herb in a pot or vessel with well-fitting lid and pour over two cups of just boiled water. Cover immediately to keep all those goodies in the pot. Leave for 15-20 minutes, strain and use. Frequent use is the key to success: every couple of hours on the first day, then reduce as throat improves. It will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, but I prefer to make a new batch each day.
Keep warm and be well naturally,