Cinnamon & Spice: Uplifting Herbal Support for Winter Blues
While the Winter season can be a sparkling and magical time, it can also bring about shorter days, longer darkness, and unrelenting cold. All of this can take a toll on our mental health and make it hard to get from day to day. Long renowned for its warming and uplifting properties, Cinnamon is an herb that adds an uplifting and spicy touch to our lives.
Warming herbs are associated with increased circulation, metabolic activity, and pulse rate. Adding in a warming herb to your winter routine can be an easy way to increase your physical and mental energy levels. In traditional herbalism Cinnamon is used as a digestive aid to help “dispel internal coldness” and to warm the body; this can also be effective in reducing muscle or joint pain due to cold weather. Thanks to the connection between neurotransmitter development and the human digestive tract, herbs that have a stimulating effect for our digestion can be utilized to help stimulate our mental faculties as well. Since many of our neurotransmitters are produced throughout the digestive tract, a regular pinch of Cinnamon added to our diet can not only keep our gut healthy, but can actually help stimulate the mind and assist in clearing away the winter blues. Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and melatonin all help to regulate our mood and cognitive functioning – and they also are linked to our gut health!
Incorporating Cinnamon in culinary use can look like adding it to warm beverages, such as a cinnamon tea or sticks in apple cider, baking with it, or using it to help glaze meats or vegetables for winter dishes. Not only does it add a warm spiciness to your food or drink, but even small sprinkles of it will help stimulate your digestive tract. Cinnamon can be used topically in salves or lotions to help reduce muscle or joint pain, while adding Cinnamon essential oil to a diffuser or candle can help uplift the senses and positively affect our mental state due to its warming qualities on the nervous system.
If you’re looking to move through the weariness of winter and add a little spice to your life try incorporating both the physical and mental properties of Cinnamon by indulging in the following self-soothing drink. While it can be enjoyed during any season and at any point throughout the day, this particular beverage is a great addition to any evening or bedtime routine during long, dark, and cold winter nights!
Cinnamon & Honey Winter Beverage
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp honey
- 2 drops vanilla extract
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon (about ½ tsp)
Heat the milk either in a microwave safe mug or on the stove top until it begins to lightly foam (about 3 minutes on High in a standard microwave or 3 – 5 minutes on a Medium stovetop). Stir in the honey, vanilla, and cinnamon. If desired sprinkle an extra dash of cinnamon on top. Relax, unwind, and enjoy!