Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Posted by Saffron Trail
Winter is just trying to nudge it's way into Bombay but the stubborn sun just wont let it. Result being, we have bouts of cold and bouts of heat which is confusing the hell out of our body's homeostatis. Every second person I know is down with the flu or cough. I was down too, last week. With hubby out on a business trip and me battling the flu by myself, I nursed my illness with some natural remedies. Since most of the world is facing severe winters, these spicy, herbal teas can be enjoyed even if you aren't down with flu.
Holy basil and ginger tea
Holy basil belongs to same species as Basil, is grown in most Hindu homes in India. While my grandmom will give me spiritual reasons, I'd take the logical reason as to why this tradition came into play. Holy basil has innumerable health benefits. Picking a few leaves and chewing them each day would probably keep one fit and healthy, the herbal way. I too grow this plant at home. It feels good to follow traditions that are good for you as well.
To make this tea, take a few handfuls of washed leaves of Holy basil. Take a piece of ginger, about 1 inch. Wash thoroughly to remove any mud and crush it in a mortar-pestle along with the leaves. In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to boil along with the crushed leaves and ginger. Keep the boiling water at a simmer till reduced to 3 cups. Strain and drink warm.
This makes 3 cups. Had first thing in the morning, this herbal tea is an excellent detoxifying agent. Also removes any phlegm / cough that gets accumulated in your lungs / sinuses in damp weather.
Cinnamon quills - Courtesy: Getty Images
Most of the spices that I use for this tea are used whole. They are easily found in Indian stores around the world. Spices like cinnamon and black pepper can be bought in any supermarket too.
Spices for the tea-
1 long stick cinnamon
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 star anise
1 green cardamom
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
On a low flame, lightly roast the spices. Crush them and bring them to boil in 3 cups of water, along with some crushed ginger root. Simmer for around 5-7 minutes until the essences of the spices are out in the water. Strain and drink with a tsp of honey.
You could also add some brandy to the spice tea to make a warming nightcap.
Black pepper is one of the best fat and cough burning spices, according to Ayurveda. Cinnamon and cloves are warming spices which are good for a cold or for resistance in cold weather.
This recipe makes 2 cups of tea.
This Post was written by Nandita from Saffron Trail, India.