Although winter solstice is now behind us and we are heading again towards longer days, the last half of winter is often when the cold really sets in. Many of us feel the cold more acutely than others; poor circulation can cause all sorts of health problems including chilblains, poor healing and joint stiffness. If you are one of these people, let me introduce you to your new best friend, Ginger & Kawakawa Tonic.
If ever there was a herbal marriage made in heaven it was that between the root of the Ginger plant and the leaves of Kawakawa which is native to New Zealand. These two herbs share many properties and therefore enhance each other synergistically. Both Ginger and Kawakawa are anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic (ease nausea), carminative (ease wind and bloating), anti-spasmodic (reduce painful spasms in the body), and, importantly for us in the midst of winter, both of these herbs help improve circulation.
Ginger and Kawakawa are both spicy to taste, providing a sensation of warmth that extends right from the taste buds all the way through to the more peripheral circulation in our feet and hands. By improving blood flow around the body, these herbs literally warm us up from the inside out.
As someone who has had especially poor circulation, I know first-hand the discomfort of chronically cold toes in the winter, and in my younger days tried everything to remedy this, including the good old cayenne pepper sprinkled in the socks! I also used to suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon (where the blood vessels constrict so much that your fingers turn white), chilblains (more on this soon), and was the person with the blue lips at the beach (yes, we do swim in the South Island).
All this just to let you know I am not unused to cold. But then, last week, I was the coldest I had ever been. I was fully dressed in wool, with a hat on, in bed, with two hot water bottles, but still my teeth were chattering, I was shivering, and I couldn’t get warm. This is all thanks to a breastfeeding mama’s worst enemy, mastitis. What came to my rescue? Ginger &Kawakawa. A hot cup of this wonderful syrup drunk down and finally things started to come right. I also dipped a flannel into the hot Ginger & Kawakawa and applied it topically to the swollen area, this is known as a compress, and it worked a treat. Although mastitis may be way off your radar, think of Ginger & Kawakawa as the perfect warming tonic for any flu-like chills!
If you have ever had the misfortune of feeling the intense itch and pain of chilblains, you will be happy to hear the good news that there is hope! I have had many friends and colleagues now attest to the benefits of using Ginger & Kawakawa Tonic as a preventative or as a treatment for these. Taking a high dose for a few days seems to reliably heal up even the nastiest cases, such a relief when they can usually linger for weeks and weeks.
Ginger & Kawakawa Tonic can be taken hot like a hot blackcurrant drink, diluted in a cup of hot water, as a shot or off the spoon. It is sweetened with Manuka honey and is a powerful brew that truly warms from the inside out.