Cloves, cardamom, cinnamon : the benefits! (And a recipe for Yogi Tea)

The following post is being re-printed with permission from Human Body Detectives. *You will find the Human Body Detectives books featured in our current 2011 Holiday Guide (with a PERK!).

Cloves, cardamom, cinnamon…. perfect for a those cold winter days.

By Dr. Heather Manley

These are a few of my favorite warming spices. I love them all for their sweet spicy taste, their medicinal qualities and that they can be used in baking or thrown together to make a yummy chai tea.

Medically, you might be wonder? They are all packed with some essentials to not only warm up your insides and get your blood pumping but few more benefits that may entice you to add more of them to your baking ad teas.


History: The scientific name is Syzygium aromaticum. Cloves come form the clove tree which is an evergreen and is native to the Malaku Island ( if you didn’t know – which I didn’t – is in Indonesia).

A little history side note: In Europe, although we did this in Canada, we would poke cloves into oranges (pomanders) and hang around the house at Christmas time. It kept us busy as kids and had a lovely holiday scent.

Health Benefits: Eugenol is the active component in cloves that functions as an anti-inflammatory. An excellent source of the trace mineral manganese, which is found in the bones, liver , kidneys and pancreas. It aids in forming connective tissues, and has a role in fat and carbohydrate production and blood sugar regulation.

A surprise health benefit: Clove oil rubbed into a teething babies’ gum can really aid in numbing and reducing any teething pain.


History: Cardamom is part of the ginger family and comes form India where is extensively used in curries and Chai tea. In its’ native country, it’s referred to as, Grains of Paradise.

A little history side note: Cardamom is also been used as an aphrodisiac and added to many love potions!

Health benefits: Cardamom cleanses the kidney and bladder, stimulates the digestive juices, and may improve circulation to the lungs and helpful in asthmatics and when there is a lung infection.


History: Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices. There are 2 known types: Chinese and Ceylon however, the Ceylon is slightly sweeter yet maybe more difficult to find in the grocery store.

Health benefits: There are many health benefit to cinnamon. It has anti-microbial properties and the oil, possibly be an effective preservative to many packaged foods. The widely known benefit is controlling blood sugar balance in the body. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, It does this by slowing the time in which the stomach empties after meals, which lessons the the rise in blood sugar during a meal.

Many years ago, someone gave me Cynthia’s Lair’s book, Feeding the Whole Family. I have used many of her recipes and her version of Chai Tea has been an annual holiday family treat.

Yogi Tea

4 cups of water
10 whole cloves
12 whole cardamom pods
12 peppercorns
2 sicks of cinnamon
4 slices of fresh ginger, 1/4 inch thick
1 cup of milk – soy, goat, cow, rice, hemp
Maple syrup or raw honey to taste

Bring water, spices, and ginger root to a boil in a pot.  Lower heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes. Add milk. Turn off heat and strain into mugs. Add sweetener if desire.



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