Like most of us at the beginning of January, you’re probably feeling sluggish and unhealthy right now, rueing the cornucopia of Christmas cuisine that you recently consumed. Your body is screaming “DETOX!” and your brain is starting to listen, torn between the mental merits of a nice G&T and the bodily benefits of avoiding alcohol and anything with too many calories.
Fret not, for we have a solution - yes, of course it’s gin! Gin straddles both sides of the detox/retox fence. You may think it bad for its alcoholic aspects (which can also be quite good for you in moderation) but in fact, gin holds elements that are quite beneficial to you and can help your body recover healthily from the horrible unhealthiness to which it recently succumbed.
“How?”, you ask. It’s all in the botanicals.
Gin as a detox method doesn’t need a tonic - it’s its own tonic! All of the botanicals benefits you need wrapped up in one easy-to-drink package make gin the perfect post-New Year drink to clean you out and get you back on track for a healthy 2015. Here are five common gin botanicals and their health benefits.
(ps. Did we mention that gin is perfect for mixing with a number of detoxifying fruits and veg?)
The health benefits of juniper berries are likely the main reason why gin was originally distilled in the Netherlands over 500 years ago. A spirit infused with juniper berries was concocted by Dutch chemists to treat all types of illnesses. If you’re attempting a New Year’s detox session, juniper berries’ antioxidant properties will eliminate a lot of the bacteria baddies floating around in your body. For more locally-specific bacteria bashing, juniper facilitates digestion by causing an increase in the enzymes in your stomach and also increases urine production to help flush out terrible toxins.
Coriander may decorate dishes all over the world, but it also decorates drinks - and a good thing if you’re drinking gin during this detoxification period. Coriander seeds contain vitamin-C, one of the most well-known antioxidants as well as potassium - which will help bring your blood pressure back down after all those fatty foods you ate over the festive period - and lots of dietary fiber which will smooth your digestion process and help rid your body of the holiday horrors.
If you’re a woman who likes gin and is in full-swing detox mode then this is the botanical for you. The Chinese have known about the cleansing and health benefits of Angelica root - known to them as Dang Quai - for over 2,000 years. Chinese women infuse the root in water as a cure-all daily tonic. The root improves blood circulation, helps your kidneys and liver recuperate from the Christmas abuse, and encourages regular waste excretions.
Apart from the obvious benefits of being a citrus fruit in our Western perception of vitamin C fighting the common cold, lemons hold a host of health benefits in their yellow covering. The antioxidants in lemon peels can help your skin heal itself after an end-of-the-year binge and helps to prevent wrinkles so that you don’t look as old during your hangover. The porous peels will reduce cholesterol after all of those fatty foods you’ve been eating. And perhaps most importantly during this period of partying pause, lemon peel actually gets rid of certain toxins that make you more likely to become addicted to alcoholic beverages. How ironic!
The “Chinese cinnamon” as it is sometimes called, cassia bark primarily offers health benefits for certain parts of the population susceptible to diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s. That being said, you should start consuming more of it now for the long term. As for its short-term New Year’s health properties, cassia bark will help you fight off bacterial infections to which you’ve made yourself susceptible by not taking care of your body these past few weeks.