Winter Warming Herbs

Winter warming herbs can be just what you need to keep warm and well this winter! In addition to helping your body beat the chill, these herbs also have important immune stimulating properties.

Could your cold intolerance be something more?

Feeling the dread of cold weather? Or maybe you're someone who always experiences cold hands and feet.

Cold intolerance may be a sign of hypothyroidism, a condition in which the body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Without adequate thyroid hormone we have trouble keeping warm, our skin becomes dry, our weight increases and we feel tired—all the time.

If you suspect you have hypothyroidism or that you're much colder than anyone else in your house or at work, I recommend meeting with your doctor to discuss appropriate lab testing.

Whether you have hypothyroidism or not, these 6 herbs can help get your blood circulating, your body temperature up and prevent you from getting sick!

6 Winter Warming Herbs

Cayenne (Capsicum frutescens)

Cayenne is undeniably a warming herb and many of us know a little bit can go a long way. If you have been feeling exhausted due to mental or physical over work this herb can add a bit of pep to your step. It is a wonderful winter herb to use when the chilly wind and damp cold penetrate even the thickest layer of clothes. Consider adding a pinch of cayenne to your food, beverages or even keeping a small tincture of cayenne in your cupboards.

How to Use:

A little cayenne can go a long way…so be cautious in using this herb. A small dash to your morning coffee can give a wake up to your digestive circulatory system. Think about foods that you wouldn’t mind adding a little spice to and give it a little sprinkle of cayenne.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.)

Cinnamon’s warmth affects both the digestive system and the joints. During the colder months our digestion can become more sluggish with the foods we eat and the season being that of storage and hibernation. Cinnamon is also can also assist with blood sugar control helping you receive more benefits from your food.

How to Use:

Sprinkle some on your morning oatmeal, add a bit to your cocoa or use in a curry. It’s a herb that can go almost anywhere. You can even add a whole stick to some of your favorite teas.

Ginger (Zingiber off.)

Warming to the body and the digestive system, ginger is indicated in many disorders related to cold conditions.  The warming effect tends to be a bit slower than that of cayenne, but it is a lasting effect that can follow you through the day.

 How to Use:

Grate 1 tsp of fresh ginger root into hot water. Steep for 10-15 minutes and enjoy as a tea.  You can also add ginger to soups, stir fry and rice.

Garlic (Allium sativa)

Good for the heart and the digestive tract, garlic is an herb that can be easily added to most diets. It is also an antimicrobial herb, which means it can help you fight those pesky winter colds.

How to Use:

You can roast a head of garlic by cutting the top off of it and drizzling some olive oil over the head. Wrap in foil and bake at 450 F for about 30-45 minutes. You can use it as a spread on bread, add to mash potatoes or any other dish you’d like to try it with. Garlic can be added to soups as part of the stock or you bake it along with other vegetables (that is, if you really like your garlic).

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

If the cold damp weather is getting the best of you, a daily dose of cardamom can help you warm up and reduce that dampness. It is a tasty herb that has been added to Turkish coffee and other eastern dishes for centuries.

How to Use:

Another great herb for your oatmeal, tea or coffee. Take a taste of this herb and see what dishes you envision adding it to.

 Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

Another powerful herb, be cautious with how much you decide to bit into. Just a bit packs a lot of heat. Like many other, it can be great for digestion. It can heat up the body quick and that heat can be just what you need to keep you warm throughout the day.

How to Use:

It can be put on sandwiches, eaten raw or cooked in vegetable dishes. See the Winter Warmer Vinegar below.


Dragon Fire Cider Recipe


  • 1/4 cup diced, peeled ginger root
  • 1/4 cup diced, peeled horseradish root
  • 3 organic cayenne peppers, chopped
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • ¼ cup diced, peeled turmeric
  • 6 crushed garlic cloves
  • Zest and juice from 2 organic lemons
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons raw, organic honey to taste
  • Raw apple cider vinegar


  1. 1 Pint mason jar with a plastic lid (the vinegar will react with metal)
  2. cheese cloth
  3. measuring cups


  1. Add all herbs to a pint mason jar, exclude honey. Then pour vinegar over the herbs, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. Cover with plastic lid.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 2 weeks, shaking daily to mix.
  3. After 2 weeks, strain the mixture and retain all liquid. Add honey. Mix.
  4. Store in a clean jar with a plastic lid.

Take a 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp every morning or before leaving the house to warm your body. If you feel a cold coming on, take it as a “shot.” 


Do you use any of these herbs? Share with us in the comments your favorite ways to take them!



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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.