Often times “spice” is used synonymously with “heat.” Spices are generally used to impart flavors to food, and not all spices are hot. When people refer to spicy food, they are thinking curry, red chili and strong flavors. But the truth is cinnamon and nutmeg are as much as a spice as are cumin and turmeric. There is a reason why spices have been used across cultures for thousands of years. Most spices have some advantages for the body and have been used to treat illnesses, prevent diseases and detox. For example, turmeric is a natural anti septic and Alzheimer’s preventer, while black pepper and curry powder help prevent breast cancer.
What you probably didn’t know is that some of the familiar winter spices are good for internal as well as topical use. I recently tried the seasonal spice body detox at the spa at Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, NC where a colorful palate was waiting for me in the spa room, as if we were together going to cook a flavorful dish. Only in this case, it was a detox for the skin. Yes it was strange at first to see my favorite pumpkin pie recipe about to cure my skin, but it worked!
The treatment was a 80 minute ritual specially crafted by the experienced professionals at the Old Edwards Inn Spa to renew and detox the harsh affects of winter. This organic facial and body treatment was rich in enzymes, colloidal minerals, alpha and vitamins. First, came the Epicuren Chai Soy Mud Mask, a rich aromatic herbal spice body scrub that contained colloidal clay, calming antioxidants, and the warming spices of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. All of the ingredients used have specific effects that are useful to the skin, specifically in the winter time.
Cinnamon is a popular spice used for winter desserts but is also beneficial to the skin because it brings blood and nutrients to the skin surface while also helping to dry skin. Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties and can help heal scars and minimize their appearance. Macelignan, an active chemical found in Nutmeg, helps fill in wrinkles and expression lines, minimizing the effects of aging on your skin. According to the National Institutes of Health, clove is recognized as an effective antiseptic and anesthetic when applied topically to the skin.
The treatment had three parts to it – a full body scrub, mask, and aromatherapy massage. Overall, the aromas and massages are very relaxing. After the healing and detoxifying, you feel like you have a completely new body – soft as a baby’s skin and glowing. Even a week after the treatment, the effect still stays. Perhaps the most well deserved pampering one could gift themselves this holiday season!