Extension Viewpoints: Spice up your winter beverage with mulling spices

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    By Robin Young
    SUN Columnist

    Mulling spices have been around since the second century, when the Romans began spicing and heating their wine. They traveled through Europe spreading their love for mulled wine. Later in time, people used the infused heated beverages to stay warm during harsh winters. It adapted its way into cultures as it became popular in harvest drinking rituals and celebrations. 

    Today, mulling spices are most commonly used to make a cozy, festive, favorite winter beverage. These spices are often added to teas, ciders and red wine, and they may also have additional health benefits. 

    Common mulling spices include:

    • Cinnamon — may be an anti-inflammatory and aid with glycemic control.

    • Nutmeg — may be an analgesic and antioxidant, support cell metabolism and help lower LDL levels.

    • Allspice — may be antimicrobial, an analgesic and lower blood pressure. Extracts of allspice have demonstrated anti-tumor properties in cells. It is also used in alternative medicine as a treatment for gastrointestinal (GI) issues.

    • Cloves — clove oil is an analgesic and exhibits potent antimicrobial activity. Some research suggests that clove extracts may help reduce stress, inhibit tumor growth and prevent cell death.

    • Star anise — boasts antimicrobial properties. Early research suggests it may have some benefit for obesity and blood triglyceride levels. It is known in some cultures for its ability to relieve gas and bloating.

    • Ginger — alleviates nausea and may be anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive and aid with osteoarthritis. Some research also suggests it may help with migraines, dizziness and menstrual cramps.

    • Cardamom — may aid with symptoms of gas, intestinal spasms, upset stomach and other GI issues.

    • Peppercorn — may help with gas and exhibit anti-inflammatory and weight-loss benefits.

    • Orange peel — may be useful for preventing high blood pressure and stroke.

    Mulling Spice Recipe

    2 cinnamon sticks

    2 whole cloves

    3 whole allspice berries

    3 star anise pods

    2 teaspoons dried orange zest

    Gather the ingredients in a tea bag, coffee filter or cheesecloth. Gather the edges and secure closed with toothpicks, rubber band, paperclip or a knot. Add to the beverage of your choice and heat. Enjoy with family or friends, or a good self-indulgence. Happy holidays.

    For information, please call the Archuleta CSU Extension Office at 264-5931, visit us on the Web at https://archuleta.extension.colostate.edu/, or Like us on Facebook and get more information https://www.facebook.com/CSUARCHCTY.