My nose could compete with Rudolph’s for lighting up Santa’s way through the night; the scary barking sounds my throat produces would make any bloodhound envious. Stumbling downstairs to get kids ready for school: my older one is also getting ready for a “Rudolph’s Nose” competition; my middle one is barking; only my dear little Big Button, my youngest one is beaming from ear to ear with one of his special adorable smiles – all super sweet, mischievous, equally irresistible. That softens all our gloomy gazes, but we still need something to feel better: quick, efficient, and simple. And since I am tired of reading everyday reports how the solutions offered at the local pharmacy now are considered close to lethal, I’d rather offer my kids something homemade, made from the ingredients I both have in my pantry and I can pronounce.
A word of caution: I strongly believe in moderation. Western medicine is what sustains our living; it has its time and place. High fever should not be cured with some alcohol rubbings, which only lead to dehydration; it requires a visit to the doctor. A bacterial infection such as strep or a persistent ear infection – needs antibiotics. Very miserable kid who has a hard time sleeping – needs some Tylenol, to get some badly needed rest and snoozy self-healing.
And this recipe? I use it for colds and flu, for immune system boost, or in addition to common practices. This tea works for my family. Everybody’s immune system is different, so you’ll have to experiment to see what really works for you.
Cold & Flu Fighting Zesty Tea
- 4 cups of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Pain reliever, antibacterial and anti-fungal remedy, stimulates circulation and its smell fools us to associate the tea with a warm bakery rather than a witchy apothecary.
- 3 cloves of garlic
- In a tea?! Yep. It’s a king of immune system remedies… and trust my overly sensitive palate – all other ingredients overpower its smell and taste by miles and miles. In the end, I can neither smell it nor taste it.
- ¼ tsp cloves
- Make it easier to cough and eliminate phlegm. Cloves add some antioxidants and help as a natural pain reliever.
- ½ tbsp. turmeric
- Antiviral, antiseptic, is one of the best to help prevent cold and flu. Does wonders for the immune system.
- 1 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ¼ inch circles
- Relieves sore throat, loosens up the congestion, calms upset stomach, and boasts some anti-inflammatory powers – sheer goodness. The cornerstone of success in this recipe.
- Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon
- Lemon is naturally antibacterial, has tons of vitamin C, helps to detoxify the liver. Most of that goodness gets destroyed by boiling, so I prefer to add lemon juice at the end when the tea has somewhat chilled a bit.
- 1 ½ tbsp raw honey
- Raw – is the key. Boiled honey loses all its magical powers, and even obtains some harmful ones (and that pretty bear jar with its easy-to-pour yummy goodness has been pasteurized out of all its helpful ingredients), so check your local farm, the healthy/organic section of your supermarket or just order online a real raw honey. It tastes great. It has antibacterial and antimicrobial effects. It offers tons of help to the immune system.
- 1 pinch cayenne (start with this and add more to taste…the more you can handle the better)
- Supposedly, it warms up the body, stimulates mucus release in your respiratory passages, increases circulation, numbs the pain. Personal experimentation: hasn’t taken place yet. Still gathering the courage. As I said, my really sensitive palate can tolerate all other ingredients, but cayenne seems too much for me. Let me know how it goes for you.
- Boil the water.
- Add ginger, garlic, cinnamon stick, cloves, turmeric. And cayenne, if you are brave enough.
- Reduce heat to low and let it simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Once it is ready, pour it into a cup; if it is too strong for you – dilute it with more warm water. Once it has “drinkable temperature (whatever it means for you), add lemon juice. It really helps to tame the strong flavors; I was amazed how much it helped.
- Get a spoon of honey on the side (again, I avoid adding the honey to the tea to keep all its healing abilities)… and enjoy!
How does it taste? If I say that it is a godsend – I’d be lying. Nevertheless, it really is a godsend for your health, and a “spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down! Substitute a spoonful of sugar for some honey and things get really good. Freshly squeezed lemon helps A LOT. Honey – even more so. It tastes like a fine but strong exotic tea.
As for kids? Again, if I claim they are begging for more, you’d laugh me in the face. Yet, I am persistent: I dilute it, offer that magic spoonful of honey, and let them dip a regular chamomile or berry tea packet in it. Read an interesting story, while they are drinking it.
They love the dipping. They love the honey. They love-love-love listening to stories (and it gives me a chance to pause for them to take a sip). So the tea happily goes down with it.
Next time: our favorite natural homemade coughing reliefs.
Meanwhile, let us know how it works for you!