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The Incredible Health Benefits of Holiday Spices

6 min read

By Olivia DiPede

Medically Reviewed by Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE
  • While holiday spices can add delicious flavor to your festive dishes, they may also have some incredible health benefits.
  • Some common holiday spices that may boost your health include cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint, and sage, among others.
  • Aside from cooking, there are a number of ways to use holiday spices such as brewing in tea or boiling them as a room fragrance.

There are so many delicious spices to use when cooking during the holidays. From cinnamon to ginger to vanilla, these spices both taste and smell incredible during the festive season.

You may be surprised to know that holiday spices also come with a range of benefits for your health. Read on to learn more about the health benefits of your favorite holiday spices.

Holiday Spices For Self Care

While many people look forward to the holiday season, it’s also normal to feel stressed during this time. Our to-do lists grow longer and our calendar quickly books up with social gatherings. It’s important to take time for self-care during this season and prioritize your health and happiness.

Many popular holiday spices can actually support your health and boost your immune system during this season. Healthline explains that the range of benefits can include reducing inflammation in the body, boosting immune function, and reducing stress, among others. Read on as we break down all the health benefits of some of your favorite holiday spices.

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Cinnamon is one of the most beloved holiday spices and can be used in a variety of holiday drinks, desserts, and dishes. It has a distinctly warm and spicy aroma that can be instantly recognized.

While cinnamon tastes delicious, it has also been known for its health benefits. Healthline explains that cinnamon may help alleviate symptoms of depression. It may also help to manage blood sugar levels and protect the digestive system. Cinnamon contains the chemical cinnamaldehyde which gives the spice its sweet taste but also has anti-inflammatory, antitumor, and antiviral properties.

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Peppermint is another popular herb that tends to be used in many holiday recipes. While many people associate peppermint flavor with candy canes, it’s actually a herb with many benefits for your health.

Healthline explains that peppermint may help to treat headaches or soothe a sore stomach, which means it could be a good option for a post-holiday dinner tea. Peppermint is known to be antioxidant, anti-allergenic, and antimicrobial properties. The sharp cooling scent of peppermint has also been known to improve alertness.



Nutmeg is a beloved spice that is not only popular during the holidays, but also year-round. Known for its warm and sweet taste, nutmeg can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Aside from its wonderful flavor, nutmeg has many benefits for your health. It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties. Healthline explains that nutmeg may also improve blood circulation and have aphrodisiac effects.

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Ginger is a popular spice during the holidays and also boasts a wide range of benefits for the body. It’s used in many dessert dishes from ginger cookies to full gingerbread houses.

Healthline explains that ginger is known as a digestive tonic and can help to soothe the stomach and minimize nausea. This makes it the perfect pairing for a heavy holiday meal. Food Network explains that ginger may also help to treat stomach cramps, dizziness, and osteoarthritis pain.

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Cloves have a distinctly deep, warm scent that pairs well with orange, ginger, and cinnamon, making them the perfect holiday spice. It can be used in desserts, drinks, and savory dishes and can be used in both whole or ground form.

Aside from its delicious taste, cloves have also been proven to improve liver function, according to Healthline. Cloves may also help to regulate blood sugar and are a source of manganese. Clove oil specifically contains eugenol, which has antifungal, antiseptic, and anesthetic properties.



Vanilla is a common ingredient in many baked goods, which makes it a popular ingredient during the holiday season. It’s one of the most versatile spices and has a warm, sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the season.

While vanilla may be the most popular flavor in the world, according to Healthline, it also has benefits for your health. Vanilla actually may help to soothe and calm the nervous system when inhaled, which makes it a great choice to use during the stressful holiday season.


Star Anise

Star anise is a popular ingredient to use in holiday baking, but it can also be used in cocktails or coffee beverages. It’s popular to add to tea or a turmeric latte to create a balanced spicy and sweet flavor. Star anise also works as a beautiful garnish because of its festive star shape.

Healthline explains that this holiday spice has a variety of benefits for your health and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It’s known for its antiviral properties and is a great source of antioxidants and flavonoids.



Orange is commonly used in many holiday recipes and its refreshing flavor is one you may taste often during the festive season. Orange also has a variety of benefits for your health.

Healthline explains that orange essential oil has been used in aromatherapy to reduce cortisol and your pulse rate. This makes it the perfect remedy during the stress of the holidays. A 2017 study has shown that orange essential oil may help with anticancer properties, and also offers mood-boosting and antimicrobial effects.

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Sage is an herb with an earthy flavor that works beautifully with poultry and pasta. It also pairs well with other festive flavors such as ginger, orange, and rosemary. It’s an ingredient you’ll likely find in many holiday dishes, but it also has a variety of health benefits.

Food Network explains that sage may improve learning and memory. Healthline explains that sage has been used in rituals since ancient times and may help to relax the body, calm the nervous system and improve depression and anxiety. The savory herb also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.



Rosemary originates from the Mediterranean where it has been used for centuries as a medicinal herb, according to Healthline. Rosemary is also an herb that’s popular among the holiday party spread and can be used as a garnish in drinks and cheese platters, but also for flavor in both sweet and savory dishes.

Rosemary has a fragrance that can improve energy, but it also has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties. Rosemary may improve memory, reduce anxiety, and improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin.

Shutterstock/Kolpakova Svetlana

How to Use Holiday Spices

There are so many ways to use holiday spices in your festive plans. Aside from including them in your cooking, you could also consider some more creative methods. You could brew a cup of spiced tea using these ingredients, or use them as a garnish on your holiday cocktails and appetizers.

You could also consider using these herbs as a natural room mist or simmer them in a pot before guests come to fill the house with a festive aromatic fragrance. You could even consider adding them to your bath or using them in a DIY face mask.



Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.