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Seasonal Flavor Favorites with Health Benefits

Christmas spices

Ginger, as in gingersnap cookies. Indians and the Chinese are believed to have produced ginger as a tonic root to treat many ailments some 5,000 years ago. Ancient Romans valued it for its medicinal properties, and it became a highly sought after commodity in Europe. By medieval times it was preserved for sweets. Queen Elizabeth I of England is actually thought to have invented the gingerbread man! Over time, ginger has been recognized for therapeutic and preventative health effects. It’s most well known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-cancer properties. 

Cranberries, as in cranberry crisp. European settlers in North America adopted Native American uses for the cranberry and found it to be a useful bartering tool. American whalers and mariners stored cranberries on board ships to prevent scurvy. Due to its high content of flavonoids and phenolic acids, the cranberry ranks highly among fruits for antioxidant quality and quantity. These antioxidant properties are likely the reason for cranberry’s disease-fighting properties. Many studies have found cranberries to be beneficial in the treatment and management of heart disease. 

Peppermint, as in peppermint candy cane. Ancient Egyptians used peppermint to treat indigestion, dried leaves have been found in pyramids and tombs dating back as far as 1,000 BC. Ancient Greeks and Romans also valued peppermint as a stomach soother. By the eighteenth century Western Europeans were using peppermint to alleviate nausea, vomiting, morning sickness and respiratory infections. Today, peppermint is listed in the British Herbal Pharmacopeia as a remedy for intestinal colic, gas, colds, morning sickness and menstrual pains. Peppermint oil contains menthol, which has been found to have pain relieving and infection-fighting properties.

Cinnamon, as in cinnamon snickerdoodle. The use of cinnamon bark dates back to at least 2,700 BC. Chinese herbalists from that time used cinnamon as a treatment for fever, diarrhea and menstrual problems. Egyptians added cinnamon to their embalming practice, and Greeks, Hebrews and Romans used it for indigestion. Modern herbalists prescribe cinnamon for nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion and asthma. The active ingredients in cinnamon bark have been found to have antibacterial, antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal properties. 

Chocolate, as in hot chocolate. Most archeologists agree that the Olmecs, an ancient Central American tribe that pre-dated the Mayans and Aztecs, were the first to cultivate and consume chocolate. Humans have been enjoying chocolate for some time, over 2,500 years! Historically chocolate has been seen as an antiseptic and cure for fever, burns, listlessness and snakebites. Modern scientists now report that dark chocolate is a heart-healthy treat.

Disclaimer:  CNC does not endorse over-indulging in sweet treats for health benefits 😜. Instead, we want to educate our clients and community on fun ingredients with medicinal properties. Enjoy the amount that will help you spread holiday cheer 😊.

References:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92762/
https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/peppermint
https://www.encyclopedia.com/plants-and-animals/plants/plants/cinnamon
https://www.encyclopedia.com/sports-and-everyday-life/food-and-drink/food-and-cooking/chocolate

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