When it’s cold and blustery outside, I like to warm my home with the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg by making a batch of one of my favorite recipes - St. Hildegard’s Joy Cookies. And it never fails….as the smell of spices floated through the air, my beloved family appears and gathers around me in the kitchen. Gone were any feelings of sadness or loneliness and in their place are feelings of joy and happiness as smiles, laughter, and conversation fill the room while we eat the warm cookies right from the oven.
Once again, St. Hildegard has touched my life. She’s always an enduring inspiration to me!
Find out more here about “Bring Spirit to the Holidays: 13 Sacred Night Challenge” inspired by St. Hildegard LINK. Sign up soon so that you can begin on the 24th!
In the mid 12th century, St. Hildegard recognized the health benefits of many herbs and spices. It was then that she shared a basic recipe for ancient biscuits or cookies that are commonly called “Hildegardplätzchen” (Hildegard’s Cookies). Today we might call them "Cookies of Joy" as she said they lift any melancholia, open your heart, and bring you a sense of cheerfulness and joy. Something we all could use these days!
There are two powerhouse spices that St. Hildegard included in her Joy Cookies: nutmeg and cinnamon. Common, everyday spices, you may think. Yes, they are! And yet, they’re filled with health-giving properties.
In her book, Physica, St. Hildegard recommended the use of nutmeg for its healing powers.
“Nutmeg has great heat and good moderation in its powers. If a person eats nutmeg, it will open up his heart, make his judgment free from obstruction, and give him a good disposition.
…It will calm all bitterness of the heart and mind, open your heart and impaired senses, and make your mind cheerful. It purifies your senses and diminishes all harmful humors in you. It gives good liquid to your blood, and makes you strong.” -Hildegard von Bingen, Physica -1153AD
Benefits of Nutmeg
If we take this seed that was planted by St. Hildegard long ago into our current times within natural medicine, we see that nutmeg is known for many health benefits including the following:
· Supports a Healthy Brain – nutmeg contains myristicin and macelignan, natural organic compounds that have a stimulating effect, supporting focus and concentration and also protecting the brain from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s
· Eases Pain and Swelling – the essential oil of nutmeg helps to relieve muscular and joint pain resulting from injury, strain, or chronic inflammation such as arthritis
· Improves Circulation – the potassium within nutmeg relaxes blood vessels, controls blood pressure, and improves blood circulation
· Boosts Immune System – the minerals in nutmeg such as potassium, calcium, iron, and manganese help fight against bacteria and disease
· Cures Insomnia – nutmeg has a high content of magnesium, a mineral that reduces nerve tension and supports the feeling of relaxation
The second powerhouse spice is cinnamon. Cinnamon has been used for hundreds of years as a natural medicine. In Ayurvedic treatment, it’s often used to treat respiratory and digestive problems.
St. Hildegard enjoyed cinnamon as a healing spice long ago, sharing that it was good for sinus issues.
What is Cinnamon?
Do you know? Cinnamon is harvested from the inner bark of a tropical evergreen plant where it’s peeled and laid in the sun to dry. It curls into rolls which we know as cinnamon sticks. These sticks are ground into a powder form to become one of our favorite household spices.
The distinct aroma and flavor of cinnamon that we recognize are due to the oil in the inner bark which is very high in the compound cinnamaldehyde. Scientists believe that it’s this compound that’s responsible for cinnamon’s powerful effects on health.
The Benefits of Cinnamon
There are many health benefits of cinnamon. Here are just a few:
1. Anti-viral and anti-bacterial - The essential oil of cinnamon that contains cinnamaldehyde has antiviral and anti-bacterial properties.
2. Lowers blood sugar- Cinnamon is known for helping to manage blood sugar, working in a way similar to insulin.
3. Supports brain health – Recent research indicates that cinnamon may support the health of the aging brain, possibly reducing the risk of such conditions as Alzheimer’s.
Why not warm your home right now with the aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg by making a batch of St. Hildegard’s Joy Cookies?
And if you’re wanting to extend your joy this holiday season, check out the challenge below that I am hosting during the holidays.
I want to warmly invite you to join me in a deeply meaningful and rewarding experience from the warmth of your home by participating in Bring Spirit to the Holidays for the 13 Sacred Nights of Dec. 24th – January 6th. As a spiritual community, we’ll explore together words of wisdom from St. Hildegard that can support us today, bringing nourishment to our souls.
Find out more about the spiritual community coming together for “Bring Spirit to the Holidays: 13 Sacred Night Challenge” here.
As we join together in this sacred experience through the 13 Sacred Nights,
Starting on the 24th of December through the 6th of January, I invite you to work with one meditation inspired by St. Hildegard of Bingen per day. As you do this, you’ll also pay special attention to your dreams and write down what you remember each day. You’ll notice if there are any connections between your dreams and the questions asked in the meditations.
You’ll be joining me and others in this spiritual community who are engaging in this same practice of inner work during the Sacred Nights. You can share your experiences and listen to others share theirs.
Through this journey of meditation and journaling during this sacred time, you’ll come away with a sense of peace, hope, and joy as you digest the year that has passed. You’ll be ready to go forward into the new year with sacred guidance and momentum.
I look forward to seeing you soon! In the meantime, why don’t you make yourself some of St. Hildegard’s Joy Cookies?? Here’s the recipe that I use, based on St. Hildegard’s original ingredients, but adapted to our modern times. They’ll start filling your home with joy this holiday season.
Learn more here about “Bring Spirit to the Holidays: 13 Sacred Night Challenge.” Sign up NOW!
I was born in London, England, educated in Switzerland, and am fluent in English, German, Spanish, and French. I hold a Doctorate in Ministry Degree and Masters Degrees in Counseling Psychology and Education. Also, I am an accomplished artist and educator. I use all of this and much more when helping others heal their souls.