Posts Tagged ‘ginger’

What are the Health Benefits of Christmas Spice?

Ever wondered why Christmas spices are called Christmas spices and not Easter spices or Independence Day spices? I’m not actually sure where the tradition of eating foods with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg at Christmas came about but if you have a look at the health benefits all may become clear…


Cinnamon has been used for centuries in India and helps warm you up and stimulate appetite (ah so that’s the reason I ate so much cake last year?!) It also has an affect on metabolism, controls blood glucose levels and can help with diabetes. In 2000 the nutrition lab at US Agricultural Research Service found that it can help increase your cells’ responsiveness to insulin. Nowadays, herbalists use the oil for helping with IBS, colds and flu.  You might want to attatch a few twigs onto your holiday garland.


Clove oil was used in Ancient China where it was rubbed onto gums to freshen the breath. Even today dentists rub the main constituent of cloves (eugenol) onto patients’ gums as it has an anaesthetic and antibacterial effect. Recent research has found it to be effective against superbug staphylococcus when combined with eucalyptus, lemon, thyme, tea tree and alcohol. Due to its antiseptic properties it can also helps with flu, colds, and bronchial congestion.


Ginger can be enjoyed in so many ways; you can use it in Indian and Chinese cooking, put it into cakes, make it into a preserve and eat it crystallized with sugar. Traditionally it’s been taken for morning sickness, travel sickness (and after-Office-party sickness??) If you are suffering from a cold then add 2 tablespoons of grated ginger to boiling water and drink 2-3 times a day. Alternatively, add a few slices of fresh ginger or a few drops of ginger oil to some hot water and inhale.


Nutmeg may not look the most interesting of spices but it has been used for everything from embalming Ancient Egyptians; a treatment for piles in the Middle Ages to being a well-known alternative to marijuana. Natives of the Banda Islands, Indonesia rub nutmeg oil on the stomach as a treatment to flu and also rub it onto the forehead to treat headaches.

It would seem the reason so many of these spices appear in the foods we eat at Christmas is due to the fact they are all associated with treating colds and flu. We all tend to take these spices for granted but hundreds of years ago they were the third most expensive commodity in the world after gold and silver. In the 17th century a pound of nutmeg in the Banda Islands cost only 1p however in Europe the price jumped to a whopping £2.10. It’s for this reason that people wanted their homes to smell of nutmeg to show off their wealth – I suppose in the way that people have lots of fancy gifts sitting under their 12 foot Christmas trees.  It’s the perfect and healthy way to get festive.

How to Cure Bad Breath Naturally

How many times have you been about to meet someone and thought, “Oh no, do I have bad breath?” I’m sure that has happened to each of us at one time or another. If someone is with us during our realization, they usually became the “breath smeller’ and if the news is negative we desperately search for a mint or mouth spray to improve the situation. If none is found, then the night is spent covering our mouths as we try and interact with others. So, I guess the question now is how can we prevent this from happening in the first place?

Everyone has had bad breath at one time. Whether it is the dreaded “morning breath” or the “onions with garlic on the side” breathe- we have all been there. Most of the time bad breath can be temporarily covered up with mints or mouth spray but the key word there is temporarily. While in the case of “morning breath” which can easily be fixed with a good teeth brushing or the “onion breath” which usually passes on its own, chronic bad breath likes to hang on. Breath mints, mouth wash and spray are no match. The culprit just keeps coming back.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath can be caused by two main things. One is during the digestion of our food. While our body is busy digesting, gases are released. Certain foods release smellier gases during digestion like onions, garlic and meats. These gases rise up and out of our mouths.

Then we have bacteria which is the cause of most chronic bad breath. The bacteria can live anywhere in the mouth. The tongue and between the teeth are good, common hiding spots. I am sure you have noticed that “not so fresh breath” on those mornings that you ran out the door before brushing.

Simple Bad Breath Remedies

Simplest bad breath remedy is brushing your pearly whites. The more you brush, the less time bacteria will have to multiply. It’s not only your teeth that need a good scrubbing, your tongue does, too. By brushing your tongue you are removing a slimy layer that bacteria love to live and breed in. Another important thing to remember is your tooth brush. Bacteria from your mouth attaches to your brush so wash it well between brushing and replace often.

Flossing is very important also. Bacteria lives between the teeth where it’s warm, moist and hard to reach. Flossing with tea tree oil is great because it not only gets the corn kernel from dinner but kills the bacteria as well.

Mouth rinses with tea tree oil are another natural way of killing the bacteria. A little baking soda in water will also help to neutralize the bad breathe odor. Ginger is another good way of ridding your mouth of bad breath.

By drinking a couple of cups of tea per day you’ll be killing bacteria in your mouth and stomach at the same time as enjoying a pleasant drink.

Last but by far the simplest is water. Mouths that are dry tend to have more odor, so drink lots of water to help keep things wet and flushed out.  Did you know about tonsils causing bad breath?