I am not a doctor, however, anytime I am sick, I will supplement medication with teas and soups to help soothe a sore throat, cough or congestion. First hand medical attention from a physician to properly diagnose a cold, flu or other ailment is always key. However, I find comfort in some old-fashioned remedies using ingredients that contain antioxidants, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In this blog, I share some of my trusted teas and soups. When sick, I will sip on these three tea recipes throughout the day for variety.
Grandma’s Honey-Lemon Tea
My grandmother had a very simple recipe for a Honey-Lemon Tea. Though it might not be a cure-all, it will help soothe a sore throat and help a persistent cough. Honey contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties and both honey & lemon can help boost the immune system. I don’t have the exact recipe as I usually make this grandma-style by “estimating” the ingredients. However, here is an approximate recipe:
2-3 tablespoons of honey
Juice of one lemon
2 cups of water
Two quart saucepan
Knife to cut lemon in halves or quarters
Use your cutting board and knife to cut your lemon in halves or quarters. Measure two cups of water and add to the saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat. Once water is close to boiling, add the juice of the one lemon, measure two to three tablespoons of honey and add to the mixture. Optional: Do not discard the lemon skin. Grandma would always add the entire lemon after juicing into the hot tea elixir. Heat all ingredients for two to three minutes, remove from heat and pour into a cup. Sip honey-lemon tea while hot.
Thyme is an antibacterial, anti-fungal and helps fights agents that cause bronchitis and persistent coughs. It is also an expectorant that will help aid the body to eliminate accumulated mucus. This tea is a variation of a recipe given to me by a Physician years ago. Her recipe used dried Thyme, a dash of cinnamon and gave you the option to drink warm or cool. I find hot fluids are more soothing when I am nursing a cold, which is why I modified the recipe. Fresh herbs are also a staple at my home, which is why I prefer to use fresh Thyme for this tea. If you are not a fan of Thyme, this recipe may not be for you, however, I do attribute this to tea to accelerating my fast recovery from a bad cold in 2016.
4-6 sprigs of fresh Thyme
2-3 sticks of cinnamon or dash of granulated cinnamon
2-3 cups of water
1 tablespoon of honey
Two quart saucepan
Measure two to three cups of water and add to the saucepan. Add sprigs of fresh Thyme and cinnamon sticks to water and place saucepan over medium heat. Once the tea mixture is hot and close to a boil, add tablespoon of honey. If you did not use cinnamon sticks for this recipe, then and a dash of granulated cinnamon at this point and continue to heat the tea for a couple of minutes until it reaches a boil. Use a strainer and pour Thyme tea into cup or mug. Sip tea while hot.
Ginger Cinnamon Honey Tea
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and I have found that it helps soothe a sore throat. Cinnamon is also beneficial as it contains anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties. Using ginger root is best for this recipe, however, if you have granulated ginger, that will work, too. When you have a cold or flu, you may not have the energy to head to the grocery store, so you basically make use of the items in your pantry. In my case, I do not always have ginger root in my kitchen, but I do have granulated ginger in stock.
2-3 cups of water
1 teaspoon of granulated ginger *note a little will go a long way
1/4 teaspoon of granulated cinnamon
1-2 tablespoons of honey
Two quart saucepan
Measure two to three cups of water and add to the saucepan. Measure ginger and cinnamon and add to water and place saucepan over medium heat. Once the tea mixture is hot and close to a boil, add tablespoons of honey and continue to heat for a couple of minutes. Use a strainer and pour tea into cup or mug. Sip tea while hot.
Quick vegetable or chicken soup
When you are sick, you likely will not have the energy to cook a chicken or vegetable soup. Though this recipe is not Mom’s chicken soup, I found sipping on this simple soup is delicious and soothing. I do not have an appetite for many foods when sick, except for crackers or soup. Here is a tip: always have crackers and chicken or vegetable stock in your pantry. When you are not sick, crackers and cheese make great hors d’oeuvres. Vegetable or chicken stock are great flavor bases for cooking beans or lentils. That said, if you always have these two items in your pantry, crackers and soup stock might be your saving grace during a bad cold or flu.
4-6 sprigs of Thyme
2-3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
optional: 1/2 teaspoon of Knorr chicken bouillon
Measure two to three cups of vegetable or chicken stock into saucepan and add the sprigs of Thyme and Knorr chicken bouillon. Heat on medium until boiling. Yes, it is that easy. Though this soup has no veggies or chicken, this simple recipe is very flavorful and provides a lot of comfort when nursing a cold. I find most stock bases are just a “base” and you have to build upon those flavors. Although this recipe is very basic, the Thyme and Knorr provide a lot of flavor to the broth. I actually serve the broth in a mug and sip in the comfort of my couch while covered in my blankets.
The Miso-Mushroom Medley is the second recipe that was shared by my Physician. Did you know mushrooms have properties that help boost the immune system? Although the recipe below calls for tofu, I choose to omit it. Note – this recipe does require a few ingredients you might not readily have in your pantry. This may be a great soup to make for a friend, neighbor or spouse when they are battling a cold or flu.
4 1/2 cups of water
6 tablespoons of Miso and Easy Paste
1/3 cup of chopped carrots
2-5 garlic cloves chopped
1 cup of spinach
2 cups of Asian mushrooms
Package of hard tofu cut up in squares
Measure all ingredients and add to saucepan. Cook all ingredients over medium heat. Once the vegetables are fully cooked, add tofu. Simmer for a couple of minutes and serve in a bowl.
Although these recipes may soothe your existing sore throat, cold or flu, they in no way take the place of a doctor’s care and advice. If you are making these recipes for someone who is ill, please be cognizant of allergies for both children and adults. I do not have kids, but I understand children under one year should never have honey due to the risk of infant botulism. In addition to these simple recipes, it is always important to wash your hands consistently to avoid the spread of germs. It is also important to be cautious about spreading the cold virus to friends, co-workers and citizens. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have experienced encountering individuals with hacking coughs at the airport, gym, grocery store and other public spaces. Although it is important to recover quickly, it is equally important to not spread the cold, flu and any other contagious illnesses. Stay healthy my friends!