Holiday seasoning cures

Updated 3:49 PM ET, Wed December 25, 2013
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Peppermint -- Feeling bloated from all those rich holiday meals? Have a candy cane. Yes, really. A new study in the journal Pain confirms what naturopaths have long suspected: Peppermint can ease the intestinal distress. Researchers discovered that the mint activates an "anti-pain" mechanism that soothes inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. It doesn't take much to feel the benefit, just a small piece will do. For a sugar-free option, sip a cup of peppermint tea or try peppermint capsules sold in health-food stores. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Sage -- Health perk: A study in the journal Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior says this herb helps boost memory. Use it in: Holiday stuffings, soups, and pastas. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Cloves -- Health perk: "Cloves have one of the highest antioxidant rankings of any spice," registered dietician Wendy Bazilian says. Use it in: Winter fruit salads, mulled wine or cider, and spicy curries. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Cinnamon -- Health perk: One teaspoon daily can lower blood sugar levels, possibly helping to prevent or control diabetes, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found. Use it in: Fall squash soups, fruit chutney, and French toast. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Nutmeg -- Health perk: This spice may have anti-inflammatory properties, notes a study in the Journal of Neuroimmunology. Use it in: Baked goods and eggnog. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Thyme -- Health perk: The antioxidants in thyme may alleviate respiratory ailments like bronchitis, according to studies, and keep you breathing easy even when you're not sick. Use it in: Roasted poultry and meats, and seafood. Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Anise -- Health perk: "Use this to help with stomach issues -- it relaxes the gastrointestinal muscles," Bazilian says. Use it in: Poached fruit and pastries. Courtesy of Martha Stewart