The Top 5 Holiday After-Dinner Teas—Silence Stomach Discomforts
Peppermint candies, gingerbread cookies, Christmas eggnog are some of the favorite foods of the holiday season. But do you know that these delectable treats also contain healthy ingredients that can counteract indigestion, gas, flatulence, bloating, queasiness, and just about any discomfort associated with overeating or feasting on rich decadent foods during this time of the year? Yes, the peppermint in the candies, the ginger and cardamom in the cookies, and the nutmeg in the eggnog provide potent healing powers when consumed in their pure state or as teas. The essential oils in peppermint, ginger, nutmeg, coriander and cardamom make these spices excellent after-dinner teas to assuage overall stomach discomforts.
Here are some of the wonderful after-dinner teas you can make with these spices this holiday season.
Peppermint soothes an upset stomach. It is excellent for flatulence, gas and bloating.
Therapeutic Effect: Peppermint leaves contain menthol and flavonoids, which soothe the digestive tract and stimulate the production of bile. This makes it a potent digestive herb. It aids in reducing flatulence and cramps and acts as an anti-inflammatory; it also relieves diarrhea.
Peppermint leaves are excellent sources of vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin and magnesium.
Peppermint is easily grown in the spring but can also be purchased from the grocery store. Look for unblemished, bright green leaves with a fresh minty fragrance.
Store the fresh herb in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. The dried herb should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark spot. The dried herb has a shelf life of one year.
A cup of peppermint tea is perfect after a rich, fatty meal.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tablespoon of dried mint.
Steep the infusion for 5 minutes, then strain.
Serve immediately or put in refrigerator to cool. You can also add some thinly sliced lemon or honey.
Bonus: Because peppermint is an antibacterial and antiviral, it can help you fight infections, including respiratory ailments.
Ginger promotes appetite and digestion.
Therapeutic Effects: Its spicy components, called gingerols, actually activate saliva and the production of digestive juices. It also contains bitter components, vitamin A and B, minerals, fats, protein and roughage to promote digestion.
Ginger is also used to treat colds and coughs.
Pour a cup of boiling water over 1-2 tablespoons of freshly sliced or chopped ginger.
Steep the infusion for 10-15 minutes, then strain.
Add honey and a bit of lemon juice to relieve gas or bloating. Drink the brew after meals.
Bonus: Ginger helps to reduce inflammation and treat colds and coughs.
Nutmeg has a long history in both Chinese and Indian medicine. Nutmeg has a number of health benefits. It calms, helps to reduce blood pressure, and lessens digestive discomfort.
Therapeutic Effects: The active ingredients in its essential oil are myristicin, elincin, camphene, geraniol and borneol. Nutmeg also has fatty substances, starch, protein and some potassium and calcium. Nutmeg has a warming effect on the digestion system. It reduces indigestion, nausea and vomiting and soothes diarrhea.
Dissolve 3 pinches of ground nutmeg in peppermint tea. Drink slowly.
N.B. The effects of alcohol are intensified by nutmeg. Limit your alcohol consumption when consuming nutmeg.
Bonus: Regular use of nutmeg as a seasoning stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes concentration, acts as an expectorant, reduces joint inflammation and helps the liver to remove toxins.
Coriander seeds are popular cooking herbs. They are often used in Indian curries. In Asian and southwestern cooking, they are used as cilantro leaves.
Therapeutic Effects: The coriander seeds contain an essential oil, which promotes digestion and relieves flatulence.
Coriander Tea (for flatulence)
Crush 2 teaspoons of seeds with a mortar and pestle.
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over crushed coriander seeds.
Steep for 10 minutes.
Drink 1 cup when needed to dispel gas.
Buy whole coriander seeds. Because the essential oil dissipates immediately when coriander seeds are crushed, it is best to buy coriander the seeds whole.
Bonus: Coriander is believed to increase our ability to express emotions and thoughts.
Cardamom pods are related to the ginger family. These dried seedpods and seeds are native to the Indian subcontinent. Cardamom pods have both medicinal and culinary functions. They supply an aromatic flavor to foods and make them more digestible.
Therapeutic Effects: Cardamom pods are used to treat gastrointestinal disturbances such as gas, cramps, indigestion and a lack of appetite.
Cardamom has some added benefits as well: it is used to fight respiratory inflammation and urinary tract and yeast infections.
The main ingredient in cardamom is its essential oil extracted by steam distillation. The oil contains cineole, limonene, borneol and terpinine.
All gingerbreads contain cardamom, as do mulled wine and Middle Eastern coffees.
Cardamom coffee after meals stimulates digestion and helps you feel less full.
Cardamom coffee (for coffee lovers—a delicious hot beverage with medicinal benefits)
Bring 2 cups of milk and water to a boil.
Add the following ingredients:
⦁ 5 teaspoons of instant coffee
⦁ 2 green cardamom pods
⦁ 1 tablespoon of sugar
Simmer for 3 minutes, and then strain.
Gas can press against the diaphragm and trigger heartburn, but a cup of cardamom can provide some relief.
Cardamom Tea (for gas and heartburn)
Boil 1 tablespoon of cardamom with 2 cups of water for 5 minutes.
Add the following ingredients:
⦁ 1 small piece of cinnamon stick
⦁ 2 cloves
⦁ 2 thin slices of peeled ginger root
⦁ A strip of lemon rind
The tea can be drunk hot or cold.
Chai tea also contains cardamom.
To draw out the flavor of cardamom seeds, heat them in a very hot skillet, stirring for about two minutes or until aroma arises.
Well-stocked grocery and Asian stores carry the pods.
Bonus: Cardamom boosts the metabolism, which can help with obesity.
Feasting and gift-giving take center stage during this time of the year. It is important to have a plan to deal with any stomach problems that might result from consuming rich dishes, especially since digestive issues tend to develop as we age. So be prepared and wise by including the health benefits of these popular holiday spices as holiday teas. Though many of these spices and herbs can be purchased as pre-packaged teabags, you will gain more health benefits from brewing the actual plant or seed.
Source: The Complete Guide to Natural Healing by International Masters Publishers