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Warming Herbs for Chilly Autumn Days

What’s better on a chilly day than a warm cup of tea??? Listen to Dr. Michele Burklund as she discusses some great warming herbs including Ginger, Cardamom, Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Cayenne.

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Right below, you will find the transcript of this video.

Transcript:

(00:02) – Dr. Michele Burklund: Hi everyone. My name is Dr. Michele Burklund. I’m the Chief Science Officer here at Puriya and every week here, Fridays, 10 AM Pacific Standard Time, we talk about different topics in wellness. This week, we are talking about warming herbs for the fall. So it’s that type of year where it’s getting chilly, the leaves are falling off of the trees, and you just want a little something to warm you up, and I love talking about botanical medicine. And this is such a great subject, because these spices literally are able to increase the blood flow to the surface of your body, and they create warmth on those chilly days.

(00:45) – DB: So my name is Dr. Michele Burklund, I’m the Chief Science Officer at Puriya. And for those of you who don’t know me, I do a lot of behind-the-scenes work of creating content, and doing the medical literature, doing the formulations, but I love this time every week where I can come here, answer your questions, and we get to sit around and talk about some amazing medicinal properties of plants and nutrition and a lot of great subjects. So in the past, we discussed mind/body medicine, the importance of sleep, immune-boosting herbs, soothing botanicals for the skin, lots of great subjects, and I’m glad I have all of you today, because we are going to be talking about cinnamon, and ginger, and cardamom, and turmeric, and cayenne, and a lot of great recipes that you can integrate them into your life right now and hopefully, I’ll inspire you to start using them again, as well.

(01:43) – DB: First spice we are talking about is ginger, and I’m sure a lot of you are already familiar with it. It’s a great remedy, an ancient remedy that’s been used for thousands of years in Asian cultures and in their diet as well. It has a diverse range of treatments from motion sickness, nausea, migraines, indigestion, sore throats and even arthritis. It’s a great herb just to promote circulation in the body, and it can create that great warming sensation. So it’s thought that the active compound in ginger is called gingerol, and it’s responsible for that cozy feeling by getting the blood flow stimulated and relaxing the blood vessels, so this is a great spice. And a really fun study, a recent study that I wanna talk about actually looked at the hyperthermic effects of ginger.

(02:39) – DB: So the hyperthermic, the warming effects were evaluated with ginger, looking at the skin temperature of women after drinking a beverage that contained ginger extract, and the study found that ginger does create that warmth, that hyperthermic effect in peripheral extremities, so in the arms and in the legs for women who have mild cold sensitivities even at low dosages. So what a fun study that we have something out there that really looked at how the temperature changes on the body after ingesting different dosages, different concentrations of the ginger extract. And the medicinal properties are just so vast. It’s also a family member in the same family as turmeric, so it can help decrease inflammation and works synergistically.

(03:33) – DB: It can be great for immune support and upset stomach too. And a great way to start using ginger would be to cut a couple pieces of fresh ginger and take a warm cup of tea, put it in, let it infuse for about five minutes, add some honey, and you have this warm, spicy, sweet tea which is quite easy to make too. So a great way just to drink ginger and celebrate its taste, and you also get some of the medicinal properties as well. So for me, I like to carry a water bottle around wherever I go and fill it up throughout the day to make sure I’m drinking water. And adding a couple slices of fresh ginger, it gives a great taste to the water, and you get the medicinal properties, and it gives that flavor.

(04:23) – DB: It’s just a really refreshing way to use ginger as well. Also, when I have to travel, so if I have to catch a flight or go on a long road trip, I love to cut up little pieces of fresh ginger. And then if I feel like I might get nauseous or just to prevent motion sickness, I’ll actually chew on some fresh ginger. So, great uses for this amazing spice, and there’s lots of ways that I can always figure out how to use it as well. Okay, let me drink some water here. The next one we’re gonna be talking about is cinnamon, and I feel like cinnamon just does not get the credit it deserves, because it has so many medicinal properties. It’s known for its sweet, woody fragrance. And when you think of cinnamon, you think of winter time, and it’s actually one of the oldest documented spices known for its flavor and its medicinal benefits.

(05:26) – DB: There’s this great study that was in the journal of pharmacognosy research, and the article was titled “Cinnamon: The Mystic Powers of This Minute Ingredient.” And really looked at the constituents studied in cinnamon and then so many different research studies in a lot of different conditions. So I think that cinnamon has so much potential, and we don’t really give it the credit it deserves for how potent it really can be as a medicine. Some of the main constituents in which we attribute the medicinal actions to, there’s cinnamaldehyde which is found in the bark, then we have eugenol found in the leaf, camphor which is found in the root bark oil.

(06:16) – DB: So then the study really breaks down many different conditions. And I’ll just mention some basics about cinnamon because I feel like we could have an entire subject, an entire topic just on cinnamon alone. But it’s been studied very well for regulation of blood sugar, and I think there’s a lot of potential there for cinnamon. It also helps reduce LDL, so the bad cholesterol, and improve overall cardiovascular function. And this study really went to look at previous research studies in a lot of different areas. It’s known for its antimicrobial effect, so its ability to fight different infections to reduce pain interestingly linked to arthritis, balance blood sugar. And then interestingly, balance hormones. So there was a study that looked at cinnamon and constituent cinnamon aldehyde which was shown to increase progesterone and decrease testosterone in women. So that’s another interesting area, I think, that could be studied more.

(07:23) – DB: But my goal in talking to you today about cinnamon was to think about it more, incorporate it more into your life and remember that cinnamon is everywhere you go into the grocery store. You see it a lot, and it’s that time a year where you can smell it in the air or it can be in a fragrance, but it’s also a powerful medicine. Some simple ways that you can add a cinnamon into your life would be to add it to your morning cup of coffee, maybe with some MCT oil or blended into a smoothie with maple syrup, almond milk, or a hint of vanilla, so something cozy like that. But there’s a lot of potential for cinnamon.

(08:07) – DB: Okay. The next one is cardamom. And it’s native to the forest in India. It’s used a lot in ayurvedic medicine and infused quite a bit into Indian dishes. There’s a lot of great traditional uses for this medicine, and it’s been linked to cold and flu support, oral health inflammation. It can help with digestion and bloating. And it’s also been studied for detoxification because it can help increase elimination through the kidneys. So act as a diuretic, as well. And for those of you who didn’t know this, cardamom is the base for chai tea. And if you’re ever gonna drink chai tea, I think the fall and the winter time with the coziness and all the warming herbs, it’s a great time for that, and it’s a great way to embrace this spice.

(09:02) – DB: The next one we are talking about is family member of the ginger, turmeric. And many people complain of joint pain, and muscle soreness during the colder months. And curcumin has been shown to help quite a bit with inflammation and arthritis. So not only is it warming in itself, but it can help ease those aches and pains, and reduce inflammation as well. A recent study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that a daily dose of two grams of curcumin in people suffering from osteoarthritis resulted in reduced pain and increased mobility. So adding in some turmeric to your daily tea, if you love Indian food, infusing it into your food, all of these ways can reap the medicinal benefits, not only of the warming energy, but also to help you on different levels as well.

(10:03) – DB: And I want to remind you too that turmeric works very well with black pepper. So it helps take curcumin and the constituents and really drive it in. And it works very well to increase the bioavailability when it’s mixed with black pepper. So now you have two different warming spices you can combine and increase the efficacy. So I thought that’s a great thing to combining two different warming spices. So it can be great with joint pain, it can even help with soothing sore throats and osteoarthritis. And there is a recipe for golden tea, and what it is, is it’s the base of coconut milk. And you mix turmeric, cinnamon, ginger root, and black pepper. So all of these warming herbs together with the base of coconut milk is just a great way to warm up on a fall day, and then get all of those benefits just in one drink, too.

(11:06) – DB: The last herb we’re gonna be talking about is cayenne. And if you really want to get the blood flowing, this is a great one. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in cayenne, and it’s what gives it its medicinal properties. So cayenne pepper has been looked at for cardiovascular health by stimulating blood flow through mucus membranes, too. So it’s great for sinus congestion. And I think all of us have personally experienced that, too. If you eat a really hot dish, too, you can really feel the blood flowing. It can also help reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. What’s interesting though, too, is that it can help with pain when applied topically. So cayenne capsaicin actually blocks something called the substance P. And it’s responsible for causing pain. So when you block this pain receptor, it dulls the pain and you have that reduced pain sensation. So not only does it get the blood flowing, and helps internally, it can kind of ease your comfort externally, too.

(12:20) – DB: A great way to add cayenne and get the blood flowing is Mexican hot chocolate. So I would recommend using dark chocolate, maybe coconut milk, or a different nut milk and then adding cayenne to it too to get the blood flowing. So, so many great teas, so many great warming options, and it’s a cozy time of year that you can start looking at these spices, purchasing them more, and mixing up the teas. So we talked about ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, and cayenne. And we talked about ginger tea with lemon and honey, chai tea with cardamom, and other warming herbs. We talked about golden tea that has turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper, and then Mexican hot chocolate with dark chocolate and cayenne. And let’s now talk about cinnamon and finding different ways to add it throughout the day, whether it’s in your morning coffee or smoothie because cinnamon is an amazing spice, and I think that we need to pay more attention to that, and bring it into our lives as well.

(13:31) – DB: So, I hope all of you have an amazing weekend. And be sure to catch our Living Well series through October. We have so many amazing people coming up this month. We have Shannon Miller, a seven-time Olympic medalist. And she is a gymnast, she’s a nutrition and fitness advocate, and she’s a cancer survivor. So we’re gonna hear all about her story. We have Serena Dyer, who is the daughter of Wayne Dyer. And she’s gonna talk about her experience growing up in a spiritual household, and how she maintains the balance and her spiritual wellness today. We have Diana Dericks, Dr. Diana Dericks, who is a primary care doctor. She’s an expert in Chinese medicine and women’s health. So we are going to listen to her and how she fuses all these subjects together, and tips and techniques that we can do as well. So have an amazing weekend, start thinking about all of these great spices, and I will see you next week. Take care.

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