Ten Helpful Herbs For The Festive Season

The festive season is almost upon us, bringing with it sunny skies, family, friends and feasts. It’s a season to enjoy to the full, but also a time of year that has a reputation for excess.


Fortunately, with a little common sense and some help from Mother Nature, you can get the best out of this festive season while avoiding unpleasant after-effects and a need to detox in the New Year.


Milk Thistle

milk thistleMilk thistle extract should be the first herb you add to your anti-toxicity arsenal this summer. This humble flowering plant contains the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant silymarin. It has proven abilities to prevent and help repair damage to the liver, and is the active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter hangover remedies. You can buy milk thistle extract at a health store. Use the prescribed dosage to fortify your liver, especially if you plan to consume alcohol.




wheatgrassWheatgrass is a superfood that can give your health a significant boost during the festive season. You can buy wheatgrass fresh and blend it into smoothies, or extract its nourishing juices with a juicer. Either way, you’ll benefit from its ability to break down fat, oxidise your blood, improve your digestion and boost your vitamin, amino acid and enzyme levels.




buchuKeep some buchu at hand during the holidays. Buchu gel is an excellent after-sun treatment for reducing and soothing the effects of sunburn, while buchu infusions in tea or sparkling water can help detox your kidneys and reduce systemic inflammation. If you’re going to be drinking lots of beer, buchu oil capsules will ensure that your body does not become a haven for harmful yeasts.




gingerIf you think your digestive system could be working overtime this festive season, stock up on some ginger. Ginger is effective in treating nausea, mild stomach cramps and gas. It also has a refreshing zing. You can experiment with adding pickled ginger to your salads or brew up a batch of homemade ginger beer.




rosemarySummer time means braais, and braais often mean burnt meat, which is high in carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Fortunately, rosemary is packed with carnosol and rosemarinic acid, which have the ability to destroy HCAs and significantly reduce HCA levels in cooked food. Simply marinate your meat with crushed or chopped rosemary before braaing, or add powdered rosemary extract to your marinades.




lavenderAfter a busy work year, it can be difficult to take your foot off the gas and simply enjoy the moment. Known for its soothing properties, lavender can help you relax and unwind. You can enjoy it in numerous ways, from homemade lavender teas and bath sachets, to lavender aromatherapy candles and soaps. You can even add lavender to your salads or baking to enjoy its unique aroma and flavour.




citronellaBe prepared for the mosquito swarms this summer with a natural, non-toxic mosquito repellent. Citronella is to mosquitos what garlic is to vampires, but has a pleasant, lemon-like smell for humans. Citronella aromatherapy candles are the easiest way to keep the mosquitoes at bay indoors, and for outdoor use buy mosquito sprays made from citronella extract.




chamomileFamily gatherings can be very stressful, especially when you’re hosting. Before reaching for a glass of red wine to drown your stress, consider having a cup of chamomile tea. Chamomile soothes stress and anxiety, and also assists in promoting healthy liver function and a clear, radiant skin.



Cayenne Pepper

cayenne peppersIf you need some assistance keeping the pounds off, spice up your food with cayenne pepper. This spice can have a dramatic impact on your body’s metabolism, reducing calorie intake, lowering blood fat levels and shrinking fatty tissue. The active ingredients in this spice can also increase both your metabolic rate and the rate at which your body burns fat.




cinnamonIt’s easy to overdo it with sugar during the festive season, with irresistible baked delicacies part and parcel of the December holidays. If you’re doing your own baking, add cinnamon to your recipes and you’ll benefit from this spice’s proven ability to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, while boosting your body’s glucose metabolism.