A Cup a Day Keeps the Cold & Flu Away


Staying healthy this winter might be as simple as a piping hot mug of tea. This season, explore these tasty, healing infusions with herbs like ginger, cinnamon, elderberry, lemon, thyme, and green tea. Whether you’re at home under the covers or on the go, you’ll want to add these recipes to your repertoire.


This chai-like blend helps keep your immune system humming to prevent wintertime infections.

  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 inch ginger, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon or 7 slices astragalus
  • 1 tsp codonopsis
  • 7 whole cloves
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 16 ounces water
  • Cream or milk and honey to taste, optional

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain. Add honey and creamer. (Dairy enhances and softens the flavor but may reduce some immune benefits.)

Red Tea

This tart, fruity tea soothes sore throats and helps fend off viral infections.

  • 2 teaspoons hibiscus
  • 1 teaspoon elderberries
  • 16 ounces boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional

Steep for five minutes, strain, sweeten.

Ginger Thermos Tea

Spicy ginger soothes sore throats and coughs, warms the body, breaks fevers, quells nausea, boosts digestion and fights stomach bugs. Add thyme for lung issues.

  • 1-inch chunk fresh ginger, thinly sliced* (no need to peel)
  • 2 lemon wedges
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional
  • 16 ounces boiling water

Place herbs and honey in a 16-ounce thermos, pour boiling water to top, cover, and let steep for one hour. (*Grated ginger is ready in 15 minutes without insulation, but it will need to be strained.)

The Classic

Green tea research shows promise for preventing and treating viral infections.

  • 1 teaspoon high quality green tea
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 16 ounces near-boiling water
  • Honey to taste, optional

Steep for two minutes, strain, and sweeten.

Garden Elixir

These herbs are easy to grow but nearly impossible to buy. You can substitute oregano and spearmint. Oregano and bee balm (Monarda spp) contain essential oils that fight respiratory infections and warm the body, and mint softens their bite.

  • 2 heaping teaspoons bee balm leaves and/or flowers
  • 1 heaping teaspoon apple mint
  • 16 ounces boiling water
  • Honey to taste, optional

Steep for 15 minutes, strain, and sweeten.

To Sweeten or Not to Sweeten?

Sugar of any kind dampens immune function and is generally best avoided. However, honey specifically soothes sore throats and quells coughs while making these infusions more palatable for finicky taste buds.

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About Author

Maria Noël Groves is a clinical herbalist and freelance health journalist in central New Hampshire. For more about her clinic and education center, visit www.WintergreenBotanicals.com.

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