There is no better month for herb supply than December! Globally the festivals of Christmas and New Year Eve have many traditions combining food and celebrations. It is this feeling of wanting to share food with our loved ones that creates a willingness to preparing something special.
Traditional Greek deserts for Christmas are based on the ingredients that were available in the past. Fall is the season when summer’s honey was collected. Also, citrus fruits are at their best. The year’s first oranges from Arta were cut a week ago. Flour, eggs, honey (for sweetness), and citrus (for aroma and taste) are the basis for melomakarona, kourabiedes, isli, lalangites, and baklava.
Ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg are spices from the East that were brought to Europe and their aroma gives you a festive mood! One ‘global traditional desert’ is ginger bread or ginger cookies! The offer a nice combination of spices with flour, sugar, and butter. The special thing about these cookies is their aroma and the spicy taste of ginger. But what about the health properties?
Ginger is one of the ‘panacea’ herbs from China. It helps you in many ways and many herbal remedies have a pinch of ginger on them. First of all, it helps your stomach, stimulating digestion and absorbing and eliminating gas, alleviating indigestion and reflux. Pregnant woman can eat as much as they want of this special remedy, fresh or dried, to ease morning sickness. It also helps with menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Also, it helps with osteoarthritis. It can reduce the pain in some people as a food – ginger oil or gel does not seem to help. Some studies show that it can lower cholesterol, but you must use dried ginger powder for months on a daily basis (5 g for 3 months). It is loaded with antioxidants, so it can help you from cancer to viruses and other microbes. So, feel free to add a teaspoon of ginger powder to a liter of herb tea.
Sometimes, combing Greek with other traditions is not a bad idea! Blending spices and ingredients from East to West creates new memories for the future!
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds PhD in Agricultural Economics and MSc in Botany-Biology.