What is eggnog without a little dash of nutmeg? Or your traditional family cookies without some cinnamon? Holidays call for the use of more spices than the rest of the year. But how aware are you of the healing benefits of the spices sitting in your spice rack?

Yes, spices do much more than just add flavor to your pies and desserts. Here are four holiday spices that not only make a tasty meal, but also protect you from ailments doing the rounds this time of year.

1. Cinnamon
This aromatic spice keeps you warm by improving blood circulation and supports the digestion of fats. Cinnamon is also a time-tested remedy for colds and cough; it helps in loosening mucus and alleviating bronchial congestion. (Related Article: Healing Spices 101: Cinnamon, A Spice For Life)
How To Use It: Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder on your food. Or make a tea by adding 1tsp of cinnamon powder to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and drink once cool.

2. Cloves
Cloves have long been used to treat toothaches; their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties fight infections causing tooth decay. They also help clear the sinuses, act as an expectorant (release phlegm), and boost digestion by promoting the flow of digestive enzymes. (Related Article: Clove Oil: King Of Analgesics)
How To Use It: Place a clove bud on a decayed tooth to relieve pain. Boil six to seven clove pods in 2 cups water, then add 1tbsp honey. Drink this three times a day to clear phlegm.

3. Nutmeg
It soothes the digestive system and assists in the digestion of dairy and fat-rich foods, which form a major part of the holiday table.
How To Use It: Flavor your milk or coffee with a pinch of nutmeg. You can also use nutmeg essential oil on your body to alleviate muscle swelling and discomfort.

4. Ginger
Gingerol, the active component of ginger, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It helps ease bronchitis, cold and allergies. Ginger also provides relief from menstrual cramps and morning sickness.
How To Use It: Add 1tsp fresh or dry ginger powder to your tea. Or you can toss a few pieces of shredded or thinly sliced ginger in your stir-fries and other dishes. (Check out this delicious ginger recipe.)

These spices can treat a wide range of common winter ailments; so next time you feel unwell, turn to the kitchen instead of the drugstore.

Read More:
5 Wholesome Beverages To Keep You Warm This Winter
Healthy Desserts: Honey Fruit Delight With Aromatic Spices