Holiday Herbs for Your Health

With the holiday season soon approaching, it’s the perfect time to experiment with different herbs and many of the herbs in our favourite holiday dishes have actually been studied for their health benefits.

Some of these therapeutic spices are ginger, cumin, rosemary and oregano. 

Ginger is the perfect warming spice for cold winter days. It’s great for enhancing your digestion, and may also help combat the common cold and the flu.

Rosemary is a spice that contains many anti-inflammatory compounds and is rich in antioxidants, which help to boost immunity. Rosemary can also improve blood circulation and may also help improve your memory and cognitive performance. Rosemary is a delicious addition to roasted vegetables.  

Cumin, similar to ginger, is known as a carminative, meaning that it can help improve digestion. If you’ve found yourself overindulging, try chewing on a ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds to help soothe a full stomach. This tasty spice may also help reduce pain with its anti-inflammatory effects.

Oregano is a powerful spice that can have anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, which is very beneficial for keeping you and your family healthy throughout the holidays. Many of us have heard of oregano oil to help combat a sore throat but you could also consider steeping 1 teaspoon of this dried herb as a tea to help fight off a cold or the flu.

When it comes to creating an anti-cancer environment in the body, reducing inflammation and enhancing immunity are two of the most important pathways that we want to focus on. As you can see, many of these spices have powerful anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects. Consider adding some (or all!) of these spices to your marinades or other recipes this holiday season to reap the health benefits and add a wonderful flavour to your dishes! 

Author: Dr. Sukriti Bhardwaj, ND, CCNM Integrative Cancer Centre Resident