CELEBRATE Chinese New Year by stocking up your spice cupboard with these cold weather must-haves recommended by Dr Sarah Brewer of Healthspan.

1. Cinnamon

It’s a delicious topping for a fruity bowl of porridge, but sprinkling cinnamon on your breakfast might have more benefits than just taste. “It’s used in Chinese medicine to support immunity, promote sweating, improve circulation and to treat a variety of digestive symptoms, infections and pains,” says Dr Brewer.

Studies have also found that it has blood sugar lowering properties, and in Western medicine, cinnamon is often used to improve glucose control in diabetes and to lower blood pressure, thanks to its mild diuretic effect.

2. Ginger

If you’re suffering from an unsettled stomach, a slice of raw ginger may be just what the doctor ordered.

It’s a great multifunctional root that Chinese medical practitioners say can tackle plenty of different health issues. Brewer explains that ginger is used as a warming herb to treat digestive and respiratory symptoms, while in Western herbal medicine, it’s used to improve circulation, relieve nausea and to reduce joint pain.

3. Ginseng

Experts say it’s a good option for anyone who struggles to stay focused at work during the mid-afternoon slump. “Ginseng roots contain substances known as ‘ginsenosides’, some of which are stimulating and some of which are relaxing,” says Brewer. Traditionally, she says, it’s described as restorative and energising tonic, helping to improve strength, stamina, alertness and concentration.

4. Turmeric

If you’re looking for a natural alternative to painkillers, several studies have suggested that this familiar yellow spice may be of use. “In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, turmeric is used to alleviate conditions such as painful periods or abdominal and chest pain.

“It’s also sometimes used to reduce inflammation such as muscle and joint pains, boost immunity and stimulate liver function.”