The flu season is here and that means a lot of sneezing and sniffling following by a big dose of antibodies, flu medications and possible drowsiness. Now who doesn’t want to get an easier and healthier way out of this!! I recently came down with a bad bout of flu which caused me to stick to my couch for a week. The medicines worked fine for a few hours and once the effect died down, I was back to feeling groggy and drowsy. So what helped me out of my misery….it was a nice combination of flu medicines with traditional concoctions made at home with a few spices which worked wonders.
Since we all know a lot about the flu medications available over the counter, what I want to concentrate on here is the effects of all these spices. I am no expert at medicine, these remedies have been going around in my family for years, some have been sourced by me online, tried and tested at home, but as a fair warning….use these in moderation and if you are allergic to any ingredients please avoid it or get a medical opinion. Here are a couple of spice mixes which will work wonders with your flu and your overall health –
1. The ever so effective warm water with lime, honey and cinnamon
The internet is beaming with its medicinal uses and this miracle weight loss concoction, but I am not going to speak about its weight loss wonders 😛 This is because, personally for me, it has not really shown any miraculous weight loss effects. But it has proven to be so very useful as an anti-flu drink. I drink this first thing every morning and go about with my day as usual and the days when I do drink it, the flu doesn’t really affect me. I tried this last year in India during the winters and even after moving here to Chicago.
PS – I missed out on a couple of weeks of having this and that is why it couldn’t help me with the flu 😉
For those who wonder how to make this warm citrusy drink…here is how –
- Start by heating water till it is warm enough for you to sip through. A minute in the microwave on high works for me.
- Squeeze juice of a whole lime into it, with a teaspoon of organic honey and just a pinch of cinnamon powder.
- Mix this well and sip through as you start your day!
Give this drink about 3-4 weeks to start helping your immune system and you can continue to have it all year round irrespective of the season.
Here are a few benefits I found for this drink –
- Honey which has simple sugars along with lemon which is a booster for metabolic activity will give you an energy boost you need to start the day.
- The wound healing properties of honey combined with antibacterial properties of lemon works well to ease that sore itchy throat.
- The vitamin C will help you boost your immune system, detox and help in the digestion
- Cinnamon is known to kill flu viruses which gives you that added advantage.
2. Turmeric Milk with Honey
Turmeric is the go to healing herb in almost all the Indian families. You’ve scraped yourself…apply a bit of turmeric to stop the bleeding, you have flu…have a glass of turmeric milk at bedtime, having issues with digestion…again a glass of turmeric milk to your rescue. There are many more benefits of turmeric but I will share with you the one which I have personally used….Turmeric Milk with honey for flu. For my lactose intolerant friends, keep on reading, I have a good alternative for you below.
Turmeric with Milk and honey is an ancient Indian go-to drink for dealing with flu, cough, cold, digestive issues, skin problems and even for boosting the overall immunity. Infact, most of the households have a culture of every member of the family drinking a glass of this milk prior to bedtime just as a tonic. I personally am not a big fan of finishing a whole glass of milk myself so I restricted my drink to a cup of milk which worked equally well for me.
How to make this golden milk
- Heat a cup of milk till its warm enough for you to drink.
- While your milk is heating, in your cup/glass add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, pour a teaspoon of honey over it and mix this into a paste
- For my lactose intolerant buddies and friends who hate milk…this paste is yummy enough to be consumed although slowly..not in one gulp as it may cause you to cough!
- Slowly pour over the warm milk into this paste while gradually mixing it into a lovely golden drink which you can sip prior to bedtime and sleep that flu virus away!
- PS – this can also be made using warm almond milk which is very tasty and the almond milk adds on to its nutritional value.
This is sugar free, can be made lactose free and vegan with almond milk and trust me on this, it is very yummy! This has proved its mettle for helping me fight that itchy sore throat and flu symptoms. So do give this a try and let me know how it worked for you!
3. The herby spicy anti-flu tea
This is a slightly tedious and time consuming recipe but has worked wonders with fever and flu. Since it takes some time and effort to make, I usually end up making this for my family only when one of them is down with flu although it is recommended that you drink this at least once a day. We call it a “Kadha” or a concoction of herbs and spices boiled together for sometime and strained and consumed with honey. I will call this a herbal spice infused tea as the ingredients in it give it a lemony-tea kick. The number of herbs and spices in it will give it a distinct herby spicy taste. Bear with me for the long ingredient list and preparation process, but I assure you, this is one of the most effective remedies –
- 3-4 leaves of mint
- 3-4 leaves of basil
- ½ inch of ginger minced
- A couple of strings of lemongrass
- Juice of a lime
- Dry roasting ingredients
- 2-3 black peppercorns
- 2 pieces of cloves
- 1 inch of cinnamon bark (if you cannot find this, add ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the liquid mix)
- 2 pods of cardamom (if you cannot find this, add ¼ teaspoon of cardamon powder to the liquid mix)
- 4 cups of water
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add the dry roasting ingredients to it and roast them till fragrant. Once fragrant, set them aside, this should not take long.
- In a teapot or deep pan, heat water and as the water is parboiled add the mint leaves, basil leaves, ginger, lemongrass to it.
- Let the water come to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer.
- Add the cinnamon and cardamom powders to the water if you are substituting them for whole spices.
- As the water is simmering add in the dry roasted spices and a teaspoon of turmeric.
- Let the water boil on a low flame, partially covered till the volume of water reduces to half.
- Remove from heat and let the tea cool down to a drinkable temperature.
- Strain and serve with a teaspoon of honey for each cup of tea.
- To add additional herby-goodness to it, strain the tea immediately after taking off from heat and add plain a green tea bag to it while it cools down to drinkable temperature. This is your tea-version to it!!
Visually this may not look so palatable but the heat of the spices and the medicinal qualities of the herbs will definitely help put a strong fight against that stubborn flu!
Do try these remedies and let me know how they worked for you.