Warm Up to Winter

Combat seasonal ailments, banish the blues, squelch stress and give your energy levels a boost.

Warm Up to Winter
Pin it Dominick Guillemot

Take to the tub Get into a nice, hot bath with epsom salts and maybe some lavender or a few chamomile tea bags. This helps to supercharge winter-dry skin with moisture (make sure to seal it in with a nice, rich moisturizer immediately after toweling off). Also, the sweat induced by the hot tub soak offloads toxins. Time spent simply lying there warm and relaxed calms the mind as well as the body, which is so important during hectic times. and if you take your bath right before bed, it helps your body and mind prepare for a good night’s sleep, improving energy and response to stress, and assisting the immune function in defending against disease. — Valori Treloar, M.D., C.N.S., an integrative dermatologist in Newton, Mass.

Make good scents Citrus essential oils, such as bergamot, grapefruit and lemon, are uplifting and energizing. Don’t apply them directly to your skin; instead, add 10 drops of essential oil to 4 ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle and then gently mist your face when you need a pick-me-up. Or add 1 to 3 drops to 1 teaspoon of a base carrier oil like grapeseed or sweet almond and rub it onto your temples or pulse points whenever you need a boost. — Cathy Wong, N.D., C.N.S., Boston-based naturopath and author of The Inside-Out Diet (Wiley)

Spice up the season Use lots of fresh ginger root and garlic in your cooking to boost your immune system and protect against viruses. Toss hot peppers, which are good for enhancing circulation and keeping you warm, into your stir-fry. Put a spoonful of black ginseng paste extract, which has a stimulating, immune-enhancing effect, into your herbal tea, add honey and drink. If you do wind up getting sick, try the Chinese herb Andrographis paniculata. It’s one of the most potent cold-fighting herbs on earth, and the World Health Organization recommends it. Take two 250-milligram capsules twice daily. I’m also a big fan of Umcka, an herbal syrup that knocks out colds in record time. — Chris Kilham, medicine hunter and ethnobotanist at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Sip colds in the bud This is my go-to tea whenever i feel a cold coming on. It soothes sore throats and coughs, breaks fevers, quells nausea, boosts digestion and fights stomach bugs, to boot. I like it very strong with lots of honey and fresh lemon.
Ginger Thermos Tea
1-inch chunk fresh ginger, thinly sliced or grated (no need to peel)
16 ounces boiling water
Optional ingredients: 1 heaping tablespoon of honey; 2 fresh squeezed lemon wedges; 3 fresh thyme sprigs; 2 cinnamon sticks; 6 whole cloves; 1 star anise pod
Prepare ginger, combine in thermos with optional ingredients of choice, pour in boiling water, cover and let sit 30 to 60 minutes before drinking. — Maria Noël Groves, clinical herbalist at Wintergreen Botanicals, LLC, in Allenstown, N.H.