Feel good with saffron, nutmeg & rosemary

A whole array of spices and foods have anti-depres­sive effects and put us in a good mood even when the weath­er is cold and cloudy and the days are short and dark. The effects of saf­fron, vanil­la, nut­meg, cocoa, rose­mary and basil have been a part of holis­tic med­i­cine for cen­turies, and have also been sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly proven

Saf­fron – a gift from the heavens

Orig­i­nat­ing in the Himalayas and now the most expen­sive spice in the world, saf­fron has long been said to have heal­ing and aphro­disi­ac effects. In the Mid­dle Ages, saf­fron was con­sid­ered a life-pro­long­ing panacea. It was pri­mar­i­ly used to treat gynae­co­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, such as to reg­u­late men­stru­a­tion – though it was also used dur­ing child­birth to stim­u­late labour (and, as such, preg­nant women should avoid saf­fron). It pro­vides a relax­ing effect, pro­motes pro­tein metab­o­lism and low­ers cholesterol.

Bild von Pascale Neuens

Bild von Pas­cale Neuens

Stud­ies have shown saf­fron to have the fol­low­ing prop­er­ties: it is anti-bac­te­r­i­al, expec­to­rant, anti-viral, diges­tive and invig­o­rat­ing, while also stim­u­lat­ing car­diac func­tion and reg­u­lat­ing men­stru­a­tion.

In Ayurvedic med­i­cine, it is also con­sid­ered an effec­tive rem­e­dy not only for gynae­co­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, but also as a means to com­bat depres­sive moods and ner­vous rest­less­ness, as it pro­motes spir­i­tu­al peace and has a reju­ve­nat­ing effect.

Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Med­i­cine describes its abil­i­ty to pre­vent stag­na­tion and stim­u­late Qi flow, there­by util­is­ing vital ener­gy. Its taste is bit­ter and sweet, and its ther­mal is neu­tral.  Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Med­i­cine regards saf­fron as a tea. One or two threads in a cup of hot water acts to com­bat anx­i­ety, depres­sion and feel­ings of trep­i­da­tion.

Nut­meg – enlightening

Sci­en­tif­ic stud­ies have shown that nut­meg pos­sess­es anti-bac­te­r­i­al, diges­tive and anti-inflam­ma­to­ry prop­er­ties. A pinch of nut­meg makes hearty, high-fat dish­es eas­i­er to digest.

Indi­an Ayurvedic med­i­cine employs nut­meg to calm the ner­vous sys­tem and to relax the body.

In Tra­di­tion­al Chi­nese Med­i­cine, nut­meg pro­motes diges­tion, resolves food stag­na­tion and warms the core. Due to its anti-inflam­ma­to­ry effects, nut­meg is also used as a rem­e­dy for joint inflam­ma­tions, rheumat­ic ill­ness­es, mus­cle inflam­ma­tions and sprains. Nut­meg must be used care­ful­ly and in appro­pri­ate amounts, as it has a very intense aro­ma. In small quan­ti­ties, nut­meg enhances dish­es’ aro­mas – but it can spoil their taste if used exces­sive­ly. An over­dose, such as ingest­ing a whole nut, can trig­ger states of intox­i­ca­tion and even the symp­toms of poi­son­ing. Fur­ther­more, nut­meg is not suit­able for preg­nant women, as it pro­motes men­stru­a­tion. The spice los­es its aro­ma when heat­ed, so be sure to grate it fresh.