Monday, October 10, 2016

Three Ingredient Immune Boosting Tea

As a new mother I am constantly trying to simplify my life. Gone are the days of highly structured schedules, ambitious meals, and leisurely coffee dates. These days I am chasing around a highly mobile 9 month old and trying to stay well and nourished along the way.

Recently after a few weeks of travel and the usual back-and-forth weather changes that come with autumn I noticed my throat was feeling scratchy. You know that feeling. That on-no-I-might-be-getting-sick feeling. So, I ran to my fridge and herb cabinet to see what I could whip up.

In 2015 a Yale-led study found that the common cold virus can reproduce itself more efficiently in the cooler temperature found inside the nose than at core body temperature. So, the first thing we should do when we are feeling on the edge of a cold is to WARM the body, especially the nose.

One of my favorite herbs to quickly heat the body is Ginger. Fresh Ginger root is warming, sweet, pungent, and stimulates circulation of both blood and reflexively moves lymph. Ginger root is an " indispensable herb suited to people who feel chilly" according to herbalist Matthew Wood and is a popular household remedy for chills associated with colds and flus. It is a superb diaphoretic which means it will quickly open the pores to induce sweating which is exactly what is needed to overcome a cold.

Since Ginger is a peripheral circulatory stimulant it will not only increase circulation but it will also bring warm blood to the periphery of the body and places like the hands, feet, and NOSE. So yes, Ginger went right into my pot of water.

Next I went to my herb cabinet and pulled out Chamomile. You might be thinking that Chamomile is an herb for relaxation. Well, it is, but what is interesting is "how" it relaxes us. It relaxes us by warming us up! Chamomile is a gentle yet powerfully warming plant that relaxes tension, spasms, and restores the flow of blood through its fragrant volatile oils. This is a wonderful way to warm and boost circulation while also relaxing the body which will protect it from the immune suppressing effects of stress.

The third ingredient in my tea was lemon. While lemon isn't considered an "herb" per se, it is a powerful ally and is a great immune boosting fruit that is packed with Vitamin C and cell protecting flavonoids. Lemon also adds a sour taste to the tea which balances out the spicy ginger and flowery taste of Chamomile.

You can just stop here. However, if you have access to other herbs and are like me, you like to throw in a "pinch" of this and a "pinch" of that. My pinches came from my potted herb garden and from a recent harvest of reishi mushrooms. I added a few slices of Ganoderma appalatum, a pinch of fresh basil, lemon balm, sage, oregano, and some dried lemon verbena leaves that a friend had given me.

Three Ingredient Immune Boosting Tea Recipe

    Image result for ginger and chamomile
  •  5-6 slices of fresh ginger root (or 1 tbsp dried if you don't have fresh)
  •  1/8 lemon juice and rind
  •  3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
  •  4 cups of water

Optional Additions: Basil, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Lemon Verbena, and Black Pepper.

Directions: Add all of the herbs to your pot of water and simmer on low heat covered for 30-45 minutes. Keep the pot covered to keep all of the volatile oils inside and let sit for 15 minutes. You can also double this recipe to make larger batches. Once you are ready to drink it, pour it through a strainer and enjoy! I will leave this pot on my stove for a few days and will add more herbs and keep it cooking until I am feeling better.

In addition to sipping this tea all day and night, take a hot bath which will also warm your body and kick start your circulatory and immune systems.

Even if you are not feeling sick you can still enjoy this tasty golden tea and use it to keep you healthy all autumn long!

Be well!