Starting to feel the cold? Now is the time when the lovely warming spices come into their own: ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice.
The ones we put into mulled wine and Christmas goodies.
In the old days they had the extra merit of helping to preserve food, but they all share the virtue of boosting your circulation and helping you to stay warm.
We have plenty of home-grown winter warmers, too, like mustard, horseradish, garlic and rosemary. Some, like yarrow and elderflowers, are more purely herbal, while others are on the food side of the line.
Drink them as teas, add them to all kinds of dishes, and they will help to avert cold feet, chilblains and other direct effects of cold weather. What’s more, they will also strengthen your ability to stave off colds, sore throats and so on.
In old-fashioned humoral terms, these herbs or spices are warm and dry, and so they counterbalance cold and damp conditions.
Living in this temperate northern climate would be a lot less pleasant without them.