Thanksgiving Herbs

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, marking the beginning of the holiday season and bringing with it the the warmth of family and friends- and FOOD! Eating the seasonally ripe foods of Thanksgiving prepred with traditional culinary herbs can create a great foundation for a healthy winter season.

Traditionally, herbs and spices were not only used to enhance the flavor of foods, but to also boost health during the cool winter months. Grandma's chicken soup really is the cure for what ails you, because the herbs used to season it pack a powerful immune-boosting punch! 

Let's explore the medicinal properties of these common Thanksgiving culinary herbs!

  • Rosemary
Rosemary is such a versatile herb, used to season beef, poultry or pork. This evergreen from the mint family is most often used medicinally in essential oil form. Rosemary essential oil is used to improve memory and focus, accelerate healing of bruises, treat dandruff, and it is an ingredient in many respiratory blends because of its camphorous notes. Adding rosemary sprigs to a steam treatment can help gently open respiratory passages. 
  • Sage
As the main ingredient in poultry seasoning, sage is an herb that most people associate with turkey and stuffing. Sage can also be used to treat digestive upset including gas, bloating, stomach pain, diarrhea and heartburn. A few drops of sage essential oil in homemade deodorant can naturally reduce perspiration. Sage is also considered a woman's herb, helping to alleviate menstrual cramps and symptoms of PMS, as well as treating many of the symptoms of menopause. 
  • Thyme
Thyme's distinct flavor makes it a culinary staple (and one of my personal favorites), but did you know that it is a powerful herb for cold & flu season? Thyme is incredible for treating a persistent cough. During cold & flu season, we recommend fenugreek & thyme tea to at least one client a week.  
  • Parsley
As a widely used garnishment, parsley is often such an undervalued herb. It has so much more to offer than most people realize. Parsley can be a powerful digestive tonic and breath freshener, eliminating gas, bloating and bad breath quite effectively. Parsley is also an excellent herb for the kidneys and urinary tract. 
  • Garlic
Garlic seems to be an herb with a thousand uses and benefits. It is most often used for its anti-viral and infection fighting properties, but did you know that garlic may also prevent heart disease and Alzheimers, as well as lower cholesterol? Just follow it up with some parsley to keep your breath smelling fresh!
  • Bay leaf
Recipes calling for bay leaves tend to use them sparingly, adding a leaf here and there to soups, stocks, stews and sauces. These small leaves not only pack a powerful flavor punch, they're also full of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals. Bay leaves are also known to ease joint pain, stimulate digestion, and stabilize blood sugar. 
  • Cranberry

It's just not Thanksgiving without a festive bowl of this delightfully tart sauce on the table. Cranberries are perhaps best known for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections (UTIs). Did you know that cranberries also reduce inflammation in the body and contain nutrients that may help prevent cancer? Cranberries are also considered a "superfood" because of their incredible concentration of antioxidants. 

  • Nutmeg

Whenever I open a jar of nutmeg, my mind instantly brings up memories of holiday baking. Nutmeg is a brain tonic- it can help nourish and stimulate the nervous system. Nutmeg is incredible in that it has the ability to improve cognitive function, but can also help relax the brain as a sleep aid. So whether you need help remembering everything on your holiday to-do list, or you're having a hard time sleeping, a little eggnog may be just the treat you need! 

  • Ginger

Ginger is a spice that can be found in nearly every kitchen across the globe. This snappy rhizome is an excellent solution to problems with the stomach, such as motion sickness, gas, diarrhea, colic and morning sickness. It can also be used to alleviate the nausea caused by chemotherapy or as the result of surgery. A warm cup of ginger tea is a great way to end your Thanksgiving feast!

  • Cinnamon

This delightfully fragrant spice is powerful medicine for stabilizing blood sugar. Cinnamon challenges the body to respond better to insulin, stabilizing blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Cinnamon is also quite high in antioxidants, and is also quite an effective breath freshener!

  • Cloves

The flavor of clove brings a spicy warmth to holiday treats and beverages. Cloves also have analgesic properties, can be an incredibly effective sleep aid, and are a powerful anti-parasite and anti-bacterial herb.

We here at Nature Works hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving, filled with the warmth and love of family and friends! Gobble Gobble!

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