Christmas spices

Christmas spices

Christmas time is cookie time. But while children usually throw themselves wide-eyed at gingerbread, cinnamon stars and speculoos, parents often have concerns. After all, Christmas spices like cinnamon and nutmeg are not entirely harmless. However, if you don’t overdo it and are informed about the ingredients of the  cookies  , you have nothing to fear. On the contrary   enjoyed in moderation, many Christmas spices even have health-promoting effects. An overview of cinnamon, cloves, cardamom & Co. provides information about the good and bad sides of the six most popular Christmas spices.

Cinnamon – the classic among the Christmas spices

Cinnamon is indispensable for cinnamon stars, gingerbread and spice slices. With its intense smell, cinnamon is almost the epitome of a Christmas spice. The flavoring substance  coumarin,  which provides the characteristic cinnamon taste, is controversial. It is said to damage the liver and even have a carcinogenic effect. This is also true, but only if coumarin is taken in large quantities.

Adults  can safely consume up to 0.1 milligrams of coumarin per day. That’s about as much as 15 cinnamon stars.  It’s less for  small children : they shouldn’t eat more than three cinnamon stars a day.

It is also worth paying attention to which cinnamon you use for baking. Because while cassia cinnamon usually contains a lot of coumarin, there is little or no coumarin in  Ceylon cinnamon  .

If you follow this rule, you have nothing to fear from cinnamon and can confidently enjoy the positive effects of the Christmas spice. It not only stimulates digestion, but also circulation, blood flow, appetite and fat burning.

Anise: Against cough and digestive problems

Aniseed tastes like liquorice and  caraway  and is a popular ingredient in Christmas baking for speculoos, spice slices and of course aniseed biscuits.

However, anise is not only used in biscuits and Christmas cookies, but is also often included in cough syrups because of its  expectorant effect  . Anise also promotes digestion and relieves cramps, tension,  flatulence  and headaches.

Nutmeg   healthy in small amounts

Small  nut , big effect: While critics  ascribe a hallucinogenic effect to nutmeg  , fans rave about its aphrodisiac, stimulating scent. The fact is that the nut is indeed poisonous. Nutmeg should therefore never be eaten whole, but only in small quantities. As little as four grams can lead to symptoms of poisoning in adults, and a smaller amount is enough for children.

A pinch of grated nutmeg in cookie or gingerbread dough has never hurt anyone. With such small amounts, the advantages of nutmeg come to the fore: naturopaths rely on the  calming, blood circulation-promoting effect  of nutmeg.

In addition, nutmeg is said to relieve rheumatic complaints and muscle pain, and to help against gastrointestinal complaints and  difficulty falling asleep  .

Vanilla for a good mood

The classic vanilla should not be missing in almost any Christmas pastry. Whether as vanilla sugar or grated directly from the pod – the sweet taste of vanilla gives every type of cookie that special something. In addition, vanilla is also a completely legal  mood enhancer.  The smell of vanilla ensures the release of happiness hormones, strengthens the nerves and calms.

If you want to get slim through the Christmas season, you should set up a vanilla scented candle in the apartment. The scent drives away cravings for sweets. In addition, the smell of vanilla is similar to human sex attractants and has an  aphrodisiac effect.

Cloves as a medicinal plant in mulled wine and cookies

Clove blossoms are not only often used to decorate cookies, but also serve as an important spice in both sweet and savory dishes. During the Christmas season, this is of course especially true for gingerbread or Linzer cookies.

The carnation was named Medicinal Plant of the Year in 2010 due to its numerous positive properties. Because the carnation works:

  • strong pain reliever
  • anti-inflammatory
  • calming
  • disinfectant
  • antispasmodic
  • appetitanregend

In  mulled wine,  the carnation (as a powder) is also used at the Christmas market during the Advent season.

Cardamom: stomach-friendly spice from Asia

Gingerbread, speculoos and Christmas stollen are hard to imagine without the sweet and spicy taste of cardamom. But the spice not only refines Christmas cookies, it is also easy on the stomach and  helps with digestive problems.

The Asian spice cardamom from the ginger family also has  a stimulating  effect and helps with coughs,  asthma  and  bad breath .

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