SUPER HERBS & SPICES – CINNAMON

Cinnamon. Used by ancient Egyptians for everything from cooking to embalming, this popular spice cultivated from the bark of a tropical evergreen is one of the most widely used spices on the planet.

We love it in our lattes, sprinkled with sugar on toast, in cookies, and as a background note in soups and stews, but did you know that cinnamon can help your memory, fight your sore throat, and even help with your weight loss plan?

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Five Things That Will Kill Your Voice On Tour

Some times when you are a professional musician, you can spend more than half the year on the road, which means your tour bus becomes your home away from home. And while you may love the idea of having your ‘home’ generously stocked with salty snacks, rider leftovers, and enough alcohol to fuel the first leg with Guns ‘N’ Roses – your voice won’t share in your enthusiasm.

Touring may mean you’re on your way to success, or depending on the size of your ride, that you’ve already made it to the top. But the choices you make on that bus can also be the downfall of your career if you rely on your pipes for your paycheck.

So how do you balance the temptations of the road, the lack of a Whole Foods on every corner, a fast food budget, and a body and soul-destorying nightly after party?

There is a way.

You don’t need to be the recluse singer who hides in the back of the tour bus until they get on stage and retreats to their cave immediately after, obsesses over vegan protein shakes, and does Cross Fit on the side of the bus – we all know that guy. You don’t need to be that guy.

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Professional Voice Blog | Super Herbs & Spices - Mint

SUPER HERBS & SPICES – MINT + BEST SMOOTHIE TO BOOST YOUR MOOD, IMMUNE SYSTEM & BEAT THE BELLY BLOAT

It is one of the most popular breath fresheners, a regular accompaniment to lamb, a go-to dessert garnish, and an effective indigestion remedy. The herb that we are all familiar with, yet know so little about is mint.

There are over twenty species of mint, the most common being peppermint and spearmint, however hybridized forms of the herb can range from fruit-flavored varieties to chocolate mint…most commonly used for after-dinner mints and in dessert applications.

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SUPER HERBS & SPICES – CLOVES

Its aroma fills our homes during the holidays, its spice warms up our favorite Christmas cookies, and it adds a seasonal warmth to our favorite Thanksgiving desert.

We are talking about the pungent, extremely flavorful – clove.

These potent little flower buds are celebrated throughout the winter holidays, but this aromatic spice is widely available all year long and all over the globe. Cloves are full of beneficial health compounds that can help with everything from toothaches and digestion to sexual health…yep, cloves have been used for centuries to spice up more than your gingerbread recipe.

So what exactly are the biggest health benefits of cloves, and how can this help the professional voice?

1. Respiratory Health & Congestion Relief – Cloves have expectorant qualities, which helps to thin excess mucus and phlegm in the lungs, bronchi, and trachea, making it easier for your body to cough up the excess phlegm and relieve your congestion. So if you are ever feeling the effects of phlegm during a cold or bronchial infection, steep cloves in your tea to clear up your respiratory system.

Professional Voice Blog - Super Herbs & Spices: Clove

Add clove to your diet to help relieve congestion. Steep cloves in hot tea mixed with raw honey and lemon to help break up excess phlegm and sooth a sore throat.

2. Oral Health – Cloves contain significant amounts of the compound eugenol, a common ingredient in mouthwash, soap, and toothpaste. Eugenol has been studied for its natural anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, and particularly its application in oral health. In fact, eugenol oil extract has been used by dentists as a mild anesthetic to help treat toothaches or pain from dental procedures.

professional-voice-blog-clove-super-herb-spice-natural-organic-stomach-digestive-aid-remedy-indigestion-solution-flatulence-vocal health-stomach-upset stomach-cure-relief-aphrodisiac-anti-inflammatory-septic-microbial-mouth-health-diet-colorado-voice

So for singers or professional voice users who may be experiencing a toothache, or want to kill extra germs in the mouth, add clove oil to your homemade singer’s spray or even apply clove oil topically with a cotton ball to the irritated area.

3. Improve Skin – The anti-septic qualities of eugenol are not only good for oral health, but it can also be an effective acne treatment. Try mixing crushed cloves with your daily cleanser, then apply to clogged pores or acne to help clean bacteria from the skin and let clove’s anti-septic compounds go to work. The anti-inflammatory compounds will also help to keep the skin from becoming inflamed. The smell is fantastic as well!

4. Digestion & Bloating – This dried flower bud has been studied extensively for its digestive health benefits, including helping with stomach bloat, indigestion, diarrhea, and even flatulence. Clove helps activate the body’s digestive enzymes, and relax the smooth lining of the gastrointestinal tract. *Clove can have a powerful effect on your digestives system, so consult a physician before taking clove to help with these symptoms.

Super Herbs & Spices - Clove | Professional Voice Blog

Cloves are a great source of manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, vitamins B1 and B6, riboflavin, and calcium.

5. Sexual Health – In addition to the seductive smell of cloves, studies have been done to suggest that clove is a natural libido-booster due to its ability to increase body temperature and improve blood circulation…everywhere. A number of studies have also been done to test clove’s ability to help with male sexual dysfunction and premature ejaculation. The actual effectiveness has yet to be proven, but it has been a popular solution for centuries in cultures that use spices heavily in medicinal and culinary applications. So give it a go…

professional-voice-blog-clove-super-herb-spice-natural-organic-stomach-digestive-aid-remedy-indigestion-solution-flatulence-vocal health-stomach-upset stomach-cure-relief-aphrodisiac-anti-sexual-premature-ejaculation-health-diet-colorado-voice

So for our professional vocalists, or if you are simply suffering from a toothache and can’t make it to the dentist right away, or want to reap all the above-mentioned benefits of cloves at home – try mixing up a batch of these clove-spiced cookies and pair it with clove and honey tea.

Clove & Honey Tea

2 Bags of your favorite tea

1 Cup boiling water

1 TBSP dry cloves (crushed slightly to release oils)

1 TBSP raw honey

Boil the water and pour over the ingredients. Allow to steep for at least five minutes and enjoy. Leave in the ingredients (including tea bags) if you like your tea to stay strong. These ingredients, when added to your favorite tea, will help to kill germs in your mouth and respiratory system, reduce inflammation, and if you have a toothache, the clove oils will go to work in helping relieve your pain.

Use slightly crushed, whole cloves in any warm beverage to get the many health benefits of this spice. Don't wait until Christmas to get your dose - cloves are readily available all year long!

Use slightly crushed, whole cloves in any warm beverage to get the many health benefits of this spice. Don’t wait until Christmas to get your dose – cloves are readily available all year long!

Clove Spiced Cookies

To pair with your Clove & Honey Tea.

Clove-Spice-Cookies-Professional-Voice-Blog-Health-Diet-Cloves

Spicey Clove Cookies:

 

  • 2 14 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 14 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 13 cup of 1/2 dark brown sugar & 1/2 light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 medium eggs

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 375*F

Cream together the butter, sugar (granulated and brown) and once a light blonde paste, add in the vanilla, eggs (one at a time), and molasses.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (including spices) and then slowly add in the dry ingredients 1/3 of the mixture at a time into your mixing bowl.

Once all of the ingredients are incorporated, you are ready to roll. Keep a bowl of warm water on your working surface to keep the dough from sticking to your hands-you can also spray your hands with cooking spray to keep from sticking. Start rolling golf-ball sized balls and place on a well greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with the left over granulated sugar if you want an extra sugary crunch. You may omit this stage if you like a softer cookie.

Place your sheet of cookies into your 375* oven and bake for 10-12 minutes in the center rack. Rotate the cookies at the 5-minute mark to keep the baking even.

Enjoy with your hot tea!

For more super herbs & spices recipes stay tuned and subscribe to the Professional Voice Blog or visit the blog at ColoradoVoiceClinic.com

 

 

Sources

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/mind-body/sex/libido-boosting-foods/?page=3

http://www.naturalnews.com/042604_clove_spice_health_enhancement_Traditional_Chinese_Medicine.html

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=69

http://www.motherearthliving.com/plant-profile/eugenol.aspx

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9991/6-health-benefits-of-cloves.html

http://ColoradoVoiceClinic.com

Homemade Singer’s Spray

A staple inside recording studios, green-rooms, hotel rooms, and tour buses — singer’s spray is almost always in a vocalist’s arsenal. However, the wrong mixture of ingredients can also mean that your beloved singer’s spray is either a giant waste of your time and money, or potentially harmful to your precious pipes. Averaging between $5 and $25 a bottle for commercial products, and containing a laundry list of ingredients you have no idea how to pronounce – let alone what they do – is a gamble you shouldn’t take with your voice.

Always consult an ENT specialist if you are experiencing chronic or severe throat pain.

Always consult an ENT specialist if you are experiencing chronic or severe throat pain.

For example, some throat-soothing sprays contain alcohol, which can be drying and damaging to your vocal chords and throat, or some sprays (chloroseptic) contain powerful anesthetics in which dosages can be overlooked by vocalists who use sprays frequently throughout the day or extend the use far beyond the recommended dosage. *Always consult a physician before using a throat spray to treat pain, infection, or swelling.

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To avoid potentially harmful effects from commercial throat sprays, do your body and your wallet a favor by mixing up your own natural throat spray. Not only will you be in control of the ingredients, but you can also keep the cost down by making your own and avoid having to drive out of the way to find these sprays at drug stores – all you need is a local grocery store and one shopping trip a week at the most!

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SUPER HERBS & SPICES – PARSLEY

It is one of the world’s most commonly used herbs and garnishes, but that unassuming leafy green plant is packed full of incredible health benefits.

What are we talking about?  Parsley.

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