Sunday, February 4, 2007

Tea With Ginger As a Cold Remedy

I obtained some fresh gingers from a Chinese supermarket, and I used several slices with Liu Bao tea. A piping hot tea mixed with this "root" often replaces my need for over-the-counter cold suppressant.

My approach is as simple as it gets. I thinly slice or julienne enough ginger depending on the level of warmth/spiciness I seek. I usually use about 10 to 15 round slices in a ~250ml teacup for a lot of warmth. Employing a simple, everyday porcelain teacup, I place the ginger slices on the bottom of the cup while the tea leaves go into the strainer. After getting the desired brew, I remove the strainer and let the tea stand for about 3 minutes to let the ginger release its essence.

I prefer to use a black, a red, or a highly roasted oolong tea for the simple reason that they don't get stewed easily in boiling water. The hotter the water is, the more potent the ginger taste becomes. Earl Grey tea is also a personal favorite for this purpose as the bergamot oil gives an added soothing effect.

After finishing a cup, it is time for a Pig in a Blanket. I cover myself (the pig) with a thick blanket and go to sleep to sweat out the cold.

Sandy Bushberg, the publisher of T Ching who is also a qualified herbalist, suggested these natural remedies for cold to me:

"In addition to drinking a lot of tea, you might want to consider an alcohol tincture of echinacea and elderberry. A teaspoon 4 times a day can help. Also, eyebright and osha are excellent as well for helping to deal with the congestion. In addition, every night before bed, you can cut up a few garlic cloves into swallowable sizes, coat them with olive oil or honey, and swallow them raw."

Thanks Sandy!


Steven Dodd said...

Get well soon! At least you're well enough to write about your sickness.


Vladimir Lukiyanov said...

Get well soon!

I too had a very high temperature last week; strong red tea with added echinacea and ginseng made me feel better :)

~ Phyll said...

I appreciate your well wishes, Steven and VL. I am feeling much better already.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you thought of using Ginger. I completely forgot to suggest that to you as well. Ginger is a phenomenal herb. It's warming and anti-inflammatory properties make it great for a cold. It is great to take the garlic right before bed, drink ginger tea and then bundle yourself up as much as you can (including socks). A lot of people sweat out the toxins and feel much better in the morning.

Here's some tips for ginger preparation: I prefer to use a ginger grater when making tea. I like to use the edge of a spoon to scrape off the skin (makes it quick and easy and you don't lose any of the ginger). Then I cut off a chunk and grate it on the ginger grater which has a little reservoir at the end that catches all of the fresh juice. Then just pour the fresh ginger juice (to your strength preference) into hot water or tea. Voila, you've got yourself a potent herbal tea for colds.

Ginger tea is also a good digestive aid after a meal. It also works great for nausea.

SilverNeedles Tea Reviews said...

Whatever works for you, but
the point of the fever is to kill/inhibit the microbe/virii from multiplying.
Sweating is a mechanism to release the heat produced by the fever, does not have anything to do with any 'toxins' being sweat out.

MarshalN said...

Hope you feel better!

Must be a punishment for not updating your blog for so long! :p

Imen said...

Wish you a speedy recovery! Contrary to most believe, tea (camellia sinensis) is not to be drunk when you have a cold/fever and many other disease. However herbal teas are great remedies for common cold such as suggested by Sandy. In Hong Kong, ginger coke is a popular remedy. Instead of tea, boil a can of coke with ginger slice for 15 minutes, then the piggy wrap! :D

~ Phyll said...

I can't begin to convey how much I appreciate all of your well wishes and suggestions! Thank you.

Imen, I've never heard that tea is not to be drunk when sick with cold/fever. But I've heard about the coke + ginger concoction, though I've never tried it (maybe I have...just can't remember). Now, I hate the regular coke or pepsi (too sweet), so will the Diet Coke/Pepsi work as well?

MarshalN said...

Actually... everybody I know does LEMON coke. You add coke and half a lemon, boil, and then drink that.

I suppose ginger can work too. I guess the point of the lemon is for the vitamin C, I don't know.

Not drinking tea when you're sick is a dangerous thing to do, if you're a regular consumer, because the pounding headache from caffeine withdrawal can make for VERY unhappy days.

~ Phyll said... this is what zinfandel withdrawal feels like! :)

Imen said...

Caffeine in tea can increase body temperature, when having a fever, unlike sexiness, hotter is not better. If medicines were taken, potency can be compromised by tea as well.

Diet coke works too.

Imen said...


Caffeine withdrawal might just be dehydration. On days I work from home, I drink about 1 gallon of liquid, mostly tea. On days I am out and about, 9 out of 10 times I get a headache from lack of water, less than 1/2 gallon. I found this out before my heavy tea drinking days. When I am sick, I drink herbal tea with the same amount of liquid intake, I don't get headaches. But then again, every person reacts differently chemically.

MarshalN said...

Is Zinfandel your usual drink of choice?

Imen: I think caffeine withdrawal is very real, and not related to hydration. Whether I drink tea or not, my body receives plenty of water. Waking up at 4:30am with a pounding headache after two days of no tea (when I just drank a big cup of water before bed - my usual routine) is not, I think, attributable to dehydration.

I could be wrong, of course... but those headaches aren't solved by water....

~ Phyll said...

I love zinfandel...the reds, not the pink kind. But it's not my go-to wine. If I had a go-to kind of wine, which I don't, it would be Champagne.

William I. Lengeman III said...

Since moving back to PA last year, I've found that obtaining fresh ginger is a real trick. I took up the habit of chewing thin slices of it some years back and now find that I can't go without it. For ginger tea, I stick with Traditional Medicinals Ginger Aid. If you brew it loose instead of in the bag, it gets so strong it will make your eyes water.