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5 Warming Winter Spices

5 Warming Winter Spices

In India, we use garam masala (which translates to ‘hot spice’) all through the cold months. The masala is a combination of beneficial spices that have been lightly roasted and powdered together. It is stirred into curries and sprinkled on rice, so that its time-tested benefits can protect us from colds, coughs, aching joints and other winter woes.

The spices that come together to make garam masala are stars in their own right. Here’s a quick look at their winter-friendly benefits:

Cloves: while cloves are beneficial all year round, in winter they improve blood circulation, clear the respiratory passages, and keep your digestive system healthy during the holiday season, too. Add a clove or two to ‘gas-causing’ foods such as cauliflower and beans, and your stomach will stay calm. They taste great in pies and puddings, too.

Cardamom:  this fragrant, warming spice heals the respiratory tract, keeps all three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) balanced, and keeps you feeling energetic. Enjoy it in tea, pop a pod of it when cooking rice, or add it to baked squash or pumpkin soup.

Black pepper: the incredible benefits of this wonder spice are actually too many to list, but in winter, you’ll find it a great aid to battling chest congestion, boosting appetite, improving digestion, and protecting you from the lurking army of germs and pollutants. Grate it over pasta, grind and sprinkle it on soups, and add it to your grills and bakes for a peppery kick.

Cumin seeds: roast a spoonful of cumin seeds in a pan, and its divine aroma will stimulate your tastebuds—this is the first step toward good digestion. Cumin has been used for centuries to cure colds and treat coughs. This earthy, flavorful spice maintains reproductive health and is also a powerful disinfectant.

Cinnamon: this one, of course, is no surprise. Winter is unimaginable without it, but while you love its delicate, sweet fragrance, it’s always good to know that cinnamon brings relief from arthritis, keeps the brain sharp, fights bacteria and lowers bad cholesterol.


4 Spices for Your Brain


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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).


+ add your own
9:07AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

8:46PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Fabulous. Could never do without my spices. These are healthy, adding flavour and colour to foods and teas.

6:30PM PST on Mar 1, 2013


9:41AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Thanks for the info Krishan

4:25AM PST on Feb 15, 2013

Great article. You guys do a great job.

10:36AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

I have read different articles today about food and health, and I feel I can't live without Care2 anymore!! Thank you so much everyone!!!

10:10AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

really helpful

9:22AM PST on Feb 14, 2013

Great info. Thank you!

5:41PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

I like all except cloves. Having dry socket can turn you off to that flavor.

5:35PM PST on Jan 14, 2013

The colours alone have the power to warm you!

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