Thursday, January 29, 2009

Got the sniffles? Herbal Tea to the rescue!

Mom has always brought us up on home remedies for most common illnesses like colds, coughs, tummy problems etc... Whenever I feel something coming on I always turn to homemade remedies first. And only if, if, it gets really bad and unmanageable will I resort to pills and doctors. They have always worked beautifully (maybe a tad slowly compared to pills but safely and thoroughly nonetheless) and while people around me pump themselves with system screwing antibiotics, I sip on herbal teas and chew on homemade concoctions.

I had an inkling of a doubt last night before bed when after sitting under the fan for a couple of hours my nose started to feel a wee bit stuffy. But I just brushed the thought aside rationalizing that since I had a cold and fever just last month, I was done with my quota of colds for at least 5-6 more months. Now to make a home remedy work at its optimum, it's best to gulp it down at the very onset of any nasties. This morning, as soon as I woke up, I could feel a cold coming on for sure. Alas had I brewed a nice cup of the herbal spiced tea before bed it wouldn't even have come to this. Well anyways the sooner the tea is put into the system the better so first thing this morning I brewed myself a delicious cup of herbal spice tea and sipped on it while it was piping hot. I still do have my hankey next to me but I'm not using it as much as I would have if I'd further delayed the consumption of the spiced concoction.

So here's the magic recipe. Drink it in the morning on an empty stomach. And at night just before bed. A couple of days of this and the cold is evaporated right out of your system! :)

Herbal Tea - Home Remedy for Colds

1 inch Cinnamon Stick
1/2 inch Dry Ginger
1 Cardamom Pod
2 Cloves
4 Black Pepper Corns
1/2 t Coriander Seeds
1/2 t Fennel Seeds
1/4 t Tea
1/2 t Sugar (preferably rock sugar if you know what that is)
Pinch Sea Salt

Put 1 1/2 C of water for heating. Dump all the above ingredients in whole. Bring to boil. Reduce the heat and simmer on a medium-low flame for 15-20 minutes till the quantity of the water has reduced to about half (3/4 C). Strain. Drink hot!

* It is preferable to use whole spices but if you can't find the whole ones you can use the powdered versions.
*All the above items will be easily available at an Indian Store.
*Buy a small pack of each and store them in a cool, dry place (not in cabinets above the stove). You could put them in airtight containers and pop them in the fridge if you like.


  1. Thanks for the recipe! This sounds like what people call "Chai" here. (I know "Chai" means "Tea" but here the word is used to mean tea with spices.). I have made it this way before but not for a while. It's really good and much better than the pre-made chai available in teabags or as loose tea.

  2. Yeah in the US you say Chai for what we call Masala Chai (Spiced Tea). This one has a bunch of similar ingredients but it has a few additional ones (coriander seeds, salt, rock sugar, fennel seeds...). The combination and quantities are specifically designed for healing and soothing colds :)

  3. Ive been ALL ABOUT the herbs recently. While I was suffering an upper respitory infection I was putting peppermint essential oil in my difuser and drinking peppermint tea at intervals during the day. It really helped me a lot.

  4. Oh yeah peppermint essential oil is sooo awesome! Even I had a shot of peppermint tea yesterday but I ended up putting one too many drops of oil in the water and it was so *strong*! Whew! For second I thought my head had hit enlightenment! hehe
    Today I had the bright idea to put a couple of drops of the peppermint oil in a bucket and then shut my bathroom door and poured super hot water over it. I was in peppermint steam heaven! :D