Despite the run-up to Christmas, the winter months can be unbearably miserable. Cold, rain, wind, mounting heating bills and about 17mins of grey, dull daylight. Our energy levels can drop, we can be moody and of course, the dreaded flu season. While there are precious few ways of getting around things like the commute or your kids bringing home every germ they lick up on the playground, there is a special treat that you can make for yourself that is not only delicious but an absolute lifesaver!
Allow us to introduce you to the magical, immune boosty Concoction. Nothing here is revolutionary, we all know lemon and ginger are super good for us, but it might not have occurred to you to combine all the healthiest elements into one, a warm infusion that’ll help keep you snot-free this winter season.
What you’ll need:
- Fresh ginger root
- Fresh turmeric root (this can be a little trickier to get a hold of, but you can order it on Amazon)
- Cinnamon sticks (get yourself some True Ceylon Cinnamon if you can)
- Fresh chili
- Manuka honey (if you’re vegan, you can substitute some agave syrup, though it won’t have all the medicinal properties of manuka)
- 1 x large saucepan
- 1 x ladle
- 1 x sieve or tea strainer
In terms of the quantities, really everything is to taste. If you don’t like things to be overly spicy, only put in a tiny bit of chilli and taste the “tea” as you go along – once it’s sufficiently spicy for you, take the chilli out.
Bring some water up to a simmer – it’s important that you don’t let this concoction boil, just a gentle simmer. Chop up some turmeric and ginger – give them a wash and/or you can peel them first if you prefer, though this isn’t’ strictly speaking necessary as long as they’re clean. Remember turmeric stains like crazy! Handle with gloves and don’t use a nice chopping board. Throw in a couple of cinnamon sticks. Chop up some fresh chilli (probably remove the seeds because good luck fishing them out if the tea gets too spicy for you). Throw in a dozen peppercorns or so. A bunch of cloves. Cut 1 orange and 1 lemon into wedges and squeeze a couple of the wedges first to release some of the juices. If you want to add more oranges/lemons, feel free. You can either add a tablespoon of manuka honey into the pot, but if you’re sharing the drink with other people, they might have their own preferred sweetness levels, so you can stir in the honey once you’ve ladled the concoction into individual mugs.
Leave all those bits to simmer on low heat for at least 25mins, to really allow the water to get infused with all the goodies. If you’re a bit bunged up, it’s super nice to breathe in some of the steam while it simmers as well!
Ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are all-natural anti-inflammatories, as is manuka, honey. Manuka honey is also well known for its antimicrobial properties. Oranges and lemons are obviously our sources of Vitamin C. The chilli and peppercorns help ease up those blocked sinuses and the cloves are there to make the whole thing smell of Christmas! Cinnamon and cloves are also thought to help lower blood pressure as well.
Give the concoction a taste and if you’re happy with the balance of flavour, ladle it out into a mug via a sieve. Things might get a bit messy here, so either do this over the sink or have some kitchen towels at the ready! If you’re feeling a bit cheeky, you can spike your concoction with your choice of tipple – whisky, rum and cognac go particularly well with this set of ingredients! Despite being super good for you, remember that honey contains lots of sugar, so don’t over-indulge on its use. This concoction is still a yummy tea without the honey!
If you’re feeling run down, you’ll be amazed at how much better you’ll feel after drinking a cup of one of these. And if you’re already poorly, this will help keep the inflammation down and soothe your throat nicely. As a preventative measure, make yourself a cup of these once or twice a week, depending on how yucky the weather is and how you’re feeling. Best enjoyed in the evening, it’s lovely to have while snuggling in front of the telly or before you go to sleep.