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As a follow up to my blog on Naturopathic Ways of dealing with epidemics from the perspective of ‘prevention’, here is some advice on the use of spices in the context of Tibetan Medicine. The Tibetan medical approach has a great deal in common with aromatherapy, in that it traditionally employs herbs, spices and aromatic oils mainly in the form of aromatic baths and massage oils, together with a specific form of massage called Kyu Nye, alongside personalised dietary advice.

Cardamon:

Good for the metabolism: especially good for the kidneys which support the building of our body. If the kidneys are weak then everything declines. Lower limbs are also connected with the kidneys. Cardamon also helps remedy sexual disfunction.

Uses: Add cardomon pods to black tea (chai) or boil a few pods until only 1/3 left when making cardamon tea. Drinking this tea every morning supports the digestion and keeps heat in the stomach. The essential oil also be used in massage oils for similar effects.

Turmeric:

The nature of this spice is bitter ... it detoxifies the body & is good for infection, inflammation & piles. It supports the digestion and the lymphatic system plus supports the spleen. It also aids diabetes by working with blood sugar levels. Cleans the inner digestive tract.

Uses: Can use internally or externally in massage oils. Can make as a tea for detoxifying the digestive system. Turmeric is also good in massage oil especially for pain in the joints or for inflammation.

Cloves:

A hot and bitter spice: nature is warm. Good medicine for the heart, life-sustaining energetically and good for lung conditions. It removes cold in the stomach, kidneys and liver. Also Colder than cardomon. Best medicine for heart and nerves eg pain in the heart & anxiety etc. Good for the lymph system and throat problems, flu and colds, also thyroid problems.

Uses: To help overcome bad breath & mouth issues, make a strong tea also for gum or tooth Infections. Drink tea 3 x a day. Just hold a clove in the mouth or chew a clove for toothache, gum disease or for rapid heart beat. But not more than 5 pieces a day. Note: Use clove oil sparingly in massage oils.

Nutmeg:

Sweet and warm, it increases heat, digestion and provides life sustaining support. Aids the nervous system and brain and sense organs eg memory. Good for mental anxiety also insomnia.

Uses: Commonly used externally in massage oils. A massage oil with nutmeg and cardomon oil is good for lung conditions ... remember the lungs get weaker as we age. Also the heart muscles decline, so one quarter teaspoon of nutmeg once a day will help the circulation: good for older people. Not good to use when we have heat disorders eg fever. Add a touch of powered nutmeg to warm milk in the evening to help sleep.

Saffron:

This has a sweet, cold and bitter nature. It is one of the best medicines for the liver and for the blood. Helps stop internal bleeding when used medicinally by professionals ... mainly for liver and gall bladder disorders eg fat on the liver. Also helpful for anaemia as it works on red blood cells. Good for the eyes too as the eyes are said to be the ‘flowers of the liver’ in Tibetan medicine. Not good for constipation however.

Uses: Saffron water is good for bathing the eyes if they are inflamed. Used externally it promotes a smooth complexion: can be added to massage oils. Good to use in the late summer and autumn months.

Cinnamon:

This spice increases digestive heat, removes cold in the body: mainly good for the lungs. Also it increases the appetite and good to combat infection in the lungs.

Uses: Use the essential oil externally in massage oils to increase the circulation. This spice is used in traditional chai recipes (using black tea) or can be used to make a warming tea using a few pieces of cinnamon stick.