These simple herbal remedies help treat over-indulgence, anxiety, tension, and lowered immune systems, all in time for the holidays.
Fa-la-la-la-yikes… The holidays are wonderful, but, this time of year can be overwhelming to both body and soul. Expectations are high, daylight is low, and our to-do list length is worked out in yardage. Luckily for us, there are herbs that have been used for centuries to treat a variety of wintery woes. Inspired by this knowledge, we picked out four herbs that can help treat common Christmas Crises. All of these herbal treatments are extremely easy, and the herbs themselves are widely found. As always, double-check with your doctor for your own specific health needs.
Crisis: Sweet Treat Overload
Herbal solution: Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) sprinkles
There is a lot of interest in studying cinnamon for treating diabetes, and while the research has not yet been conclusive, data does suggest it reduces blood glucose levels. This study, for example, found that a water-based cinnamon extract “improved body composition in study subjects with metabolic syndrome and suggest that this naturally-occurring spice can reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”
A teaspoon of cinnamon (about 4 grams) in cereal, oatmeal or morning coffee is an easy and tasty way to incorporate this spice into your life.
Crisis: Too Anxious to Sleep
Herbal solution: Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) tea
Purple passionflower is indigenous to the Americas and has long been used in traditional medicine to treat insomnia and anxiety. Scientists think passionflower may work by raising GABA in the brain; low levels of this neurotransmitter are linked to mood disorders.
“Studies of people with generalized anxiety disorder show that passionflower is as effective as the drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms,” reported Penn State’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Adults can try sipping passionflower tea nightly for up to seven nights. Another way to deal with anxiety? Load up on probiotics.
Crisis: Shovel-weary Shoulders
Herbal solution: Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) hot compress
Fun fact: Lavender comes from the word lavare, which means “to wash” in Latin, and has been used as a medicinal herb for millennia. If muscles feel tight and bunched up from shoveling, hauling a tree, setting up lights, or … dealing with your in-laws, unwind with a fragrant neck warmer stuffed with dried lavender.
Crisis: Coming Down With Something
(Just In Time for the Holidays)
Herbal solution: Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) on your soup
An annual herb, coriander is considered both an herb an a spice. A 2014 study, conducted on poultry, confirmed that it induces immune response. The chickens were given feed with coriander in it, and the study found a reduction in pathogenic bacteria in the digestive tract. This, the study noted, “will improve the intestinal health and general well-being of the birds. It is concluded that coriander powder or extract may potentially be used as an antibiotic alternative in poultry production.”
Another study, done on rainbow trout, found fish given coriander seed as part of their diet were better able to fight off pathogens once sick, and some to resist infection in the first place.
Use fresh, chopped coriander leaves to top soup or pasta dishes. Some people also juice with it or add it to smoothies.
Want more? Read our story "4 Super Powerful Pantry Herbs (and How to Use Them)."