Traditional Chinese Five Spice Powder includes fennel seed, star anise, ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. It is a sweet, warming, and stimulating addition to teas, fruit pies and traditional Chinese dishes. Fennel, star anise, and ginger settle the stomach and help prevent morning sickness in pregnancy. Clove is a strongly warming stimulant for wheezing asthma and low adrenal energy with fatigue, pallor, too frequent urination, and poor enthusiasm. Cinnamon is a spice par-excellence for winter hypothermia and diabetes. It tones digestion, increasing insulin-uptake, and feels warming in cold weather. That’s why it is added to grogs.
Cinnamon is also combined with herbs that reduce joint pain and enhance circulation. For example add ¼ tsp. each of cinnamon and turmeric powders per cup of hot water between meals to ease neck stiffness and shoulder and upper back pains. Avoid warming spices if you have fever, chronic inflammation, headaches or dizziness.
Ginger, clove, and star anise are important not just for indigestion and bloating. One of the main reasons why older people do not absorb calcium effectively is not from taking too little calcium, but from having inadequate stomach acid. Take your calcium supplement between meals with tea adding these spices or with orange juice. (We lose significant calcium from long bones in our legs during cold, dark winter days in New England rather than in sunny climates.)