No Tea Leaves Required.
In my last post I promised to explain how I make the hot drink soother for sore throats and I'm as good as my word. The recipe is simple, requiring only four ingredients and about twenty minutes to make. I use water, just brought to a boil, grated ginger root, honey, and lemon juice. Before I give the 'how', let's go with the 'why'.
Ginger root is credited with many healing properties, probably most commonly for indigestion. Two of the other many benefits of ginger are said to be its antibacterial and analgesic properties. The compounds in ginger have a spicy-sweet aroma when the root is cut or shredded and give the tea a pleasant warmth on the back of a sore throat. Ginger root is usually easy to find at the grocery store near the garlic and shallots. Ginger is on the FDA 'generally recognized as safe' list and in any case, the amount in the tea is not a concentrated amount.
Honey is a natural humectant, useful for moisturizing the throat to help ease dry soreness, not to mention it tastes good when you're feeling sorry for yourself. Of course, anyone who has an allergy to honey shouldn't use it in their tea! You can even try making your own honey lozenges from this recipe on Little House in the Suburbs.
A shot of lemon juice in the tea is good if you've got mucous coating your throat, the acidic quality of the lemon juice helps to remove that. If your throat is very dry, however, you may want to leave the lemon juice out as it could dry out your throat worse.
Honey-Lemon Ginger Tea
1 quart water, brought to a boil and removed from heat
2 tsp. fresh ginger root, grated or sliced in thin pieces*
Honey and Lemon juice added to taste per cup
Peel a section of the ginger root, exposing an area about twice that of the end of your thumb. Grate or slice the root into the hot water and let it steep for fifteen minutes, covered if you wish.
Strain the resulting pale-golden liquid through a regular kitchen strainer. Line the strainer with cheesecloth if you want to make sure there are no tiny pieces in your tea.
Pour the hot tea into mugs, sweeten with honey and add a small amount of lemon (a little goes a long way) and enjoy.
I find that the spicy bite of the ginger, the soothing sweetness of the honey, and the added zing of the lemon juice makes this a must-have when I'm sick. I even go so far as to dip a cotton ball in the tea when it's cooled a little and dab my nose with it as that's where germs tend to hang out. All in all, a pretty cheap feel-good drink for when the winter cold and flu season brings sniffles and coughs.
*If you're grating the ginger it helps to freeze it first, at least partially. Grated ginger will yield a stronger tea than sliced ginger will. Most recipes recommend using a nutmeg grater but I don't have one and have found a regular cheese grater suffices.
Let me know in the comments section if you try this tea and what you think of it. Also, what are some of your favorite remedies to use at home for colds?