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.
Make your own Immunity Tea
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.
An alternative to fresh lemon juice is Apple Cider Vinegar. My go to is Bragg’s Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar for adding to my Immunity Tea.
Preventing a Cold or Sinus Infection
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.
In my unscientific and unfounded research, I’ve been able to prevent sinus infections over the years with this tea. Whenever sinusitis is starting, I get a distinctive scratchy, almost ticklish, feeling in the back of my throat. It is usually accompanied by malaise and sinus pressure in the face. If left alone, that will turn into 5-7 days of discomfort, unsightly discharge and lost sleep because of the uncontrollable urge to swallow and clear the throat.
If I’m able to drink a glass of this Garlic and Ginger Tea the first day the symptoms show up, I rarely have a full blown sinus infection. It only winds up being 1-2 days of very minor symptoms.
For that reason, I always have fresh garlic and fresh ginger on hand throughout the winter.
Preparing the Garlic and Ginger Tea
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.
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Prevent a cold or sinus infection at the first sign of symptoms with this garlic and ginger immunity tea.
- 1 Garlic Bulb
- 2 inch piece of Ginger
- 1 Juiced Lemon
- 3 cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Stock
- 2 Tablespoons Honey
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).
Bring the broth to a low boil and insert a colander that contains the garlic and ginger. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
Add the lemon juice (or 2 Tablespoons of unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar) and then ladle into serving cups
Mix in the honey, starting with about a tablespoon, to get to the right flavor.