Turmeric has been written about so often recently in the media that I think we’re losing sight of what a great job this culinary herb actually does. Curcumin, the key active ingredient in turmeric, inhibits the compounds involved in the inflammatory response.

Ginger, a close relative, helps to relieve joint pain – in a recent study two-thirds of volunteers with osteoarthritis of the knee reported relief from pain at a significantly higher level than those taking a placebo.

These two herbs along with rosemary baths to support the circulation and my trusty hot water bottle, are my go-to when I have any aches and pains.

So, if you’re putting up with joint pain and what you actually need is a plan of action – let this be your prompt to go and sort it out!


Medicinally, ginger is used as a warming digestive and circulatory stimulant for people with cold hands and feet. Fresh ginger improves circulation in the extremities whereas dried ginger is thought to pull the blood to the stomach to help with digestion. It is a curious herb because although it is heating, it has marked anti-inflammatory properties and so can still help inflammation in digestion or elsewhere in the body.

Its warming properties mean that it can support the body to fight off a chill by increasing the body temperature and encouraging sweating.

So, if you have indigestion, cramps, or cold hands and feet, drinking ginger tea is a great way to incorporate this very versatile herb into your day. Simply slice 2-3 pieces of fresh ginger root (about the width of a pound coin) and put them in a mug, adding hot water on top. You can add some lemon and honey if you like. I just keep topping up that mug all day long with hot water and find it makes a real difference to my cold hands and feet when I’m sitting working at my desk.

But my real favourite way to enjoy it (occasionally) is ginger cake!