Garlic and Ginger Immunity Tea

December 11, 2012

Starting to get a scratchy throat?  What about the sniffles?  Was that sneeze from allergies or the start of a cold?  Given that it's the time of the year when sickness and disease surround us all, seasonal illnesses are nearly impossible to avoid and a few cold and flu recipes are good to have.  Airplanes, office kitchens, children -- they're all incubators for something that can potentially sideline you for a couple of days.

Good hygiene this time of year is definitely a must for prevention.  I have a coworker who takes it to an extreme and makes it a rule to never touch his face from October to March.  Though some times, it's almost unavoidable. If you're standing near a guy on the train that's coughing uncontrollably and should have stayed home, giving him the ol' stink eye is not going to offer you much protection at this point.  Should you be so unfortunate to be coming down with something yucky, there's a belief in some circles that it's a good idea to start to ramp up on garlic for colds and flu.

My immunity tea brings together two ingredients known thought to have immune boosting, antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic and ginger.  Lemons are also in this camp, so adding in a big squeeze from a fresh lemon is an added bonus.  Since you need large quantities of all of them right away, and doing so in their raw form is very unpleasant, the steeping process is how to make this the best tea for colds and flu that's also pleasantly drinkable

For the immunity tea to work its magic, you need to drink it within the first 24 hours of realizing you might be getting sick.  As soon as you get that tickle in your throat, the runny nose, whatever signal you recognize, make the tea.  I don't promise that it'll completely kill the cold or flu, but in my experience, the symptoms are significantly reduced to nuisance levels instead of stay-home-from-work levels.

The best part is that it's simple to prepare.  You'll need fresh garlic and ginger here, nothing jarred, canned or pickled.  Honey and chicken broth you probably already have.  It'll only take about 15 minutes to get everything pulled together and about 15 minutes to make the tea.  (A mini food processor or garlic press is super helpful.)  Basically, you're pulling out all of the antibacterial and antiviral goodness from the garlic and ginger into a somewhat flavorful broth via a nice long simmer.  When complete, it will taste like burning, so honey is critical to make it palatable.  The honey and lemon, like ginger, are also fantastic for a sore throat.

Cold and Flu Fighting Soup
Cold and Flu Fighting Soup from
If the tea isn't your thing, and you'd prefer a full on soup, check out Josie's awesome recipe for a Cold & Flu Fighting Soup.  She also has amazing food photography as well.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Garlic and Ginger Immunity Tea Recipe

Immunity Tea Ingredients
Immunity Tea Ingredients

  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 2 inch piece of Ginger
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 3 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey

Chopped Garlic and Minced Ginger

  1. Chop the Garlic and Mince the Ginger.  Use a garlic press or mini chopper for the garlic since you'll use anywhere from 10-15 cloves.  A box grater can make quick work of a piece of peeled ginger (use an ordinary vegetable peeler).
  2. Bring your stock to a boil and add the lemon juice
  3. Place the garlic and ginger in a submersible colander in the broth, reduce to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes
  4. You'll know it's done when the garlic and ginger have turned nearly white.  Remove the strainer and ladle into serving cups
  5. Mix in the honey, starting with about a tablespoon, to get to the right flavor.  

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