Garlic Immune-Boost Tea
The cold-season is coming on strong this year. (Fortunately, flu-like illness in Seattle remains less than average so far this season.)
Here’s a great way you can take care of yourself at home when you get sick: drink Garlic Tea. Before you make a face or say, “ewww!” hear me out! I promise, besides being both easy and effective, it actually tastes good.
Garlic is a very potent natural antimicrobial. Its popularity in cooking means most of us have fresh garlic sitting in our kitchens, so it has the added virtue of accessibility – no having to run out to the store when you’re already sick.
Some people don’t tolerate garlic well for various reasons; if you’re one of them, obviously you’re going to skip this treatment.
- 2 cups water
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and cut in half
- Approximately 1 ½ – 2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced into ¼ inch rounds (optional nice bonus)
- Place garlic (and ginger, if using) in a large mug.
- Pour boiling water into the mug, then cover and let steep for about 5 minutes. Strain.
- Add honey to taste.
- Other options:
- Add juice of 1 lemon
- Add a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper (aids circulation)
- Drink hot. You can keep the rest in the fridge and reheat as needed.
- Adults: drink 4-6 cups per day.
- Children: drink 1-3 cups daily.
Contraindications: Do not use if you have a garlic or sulfur sensitivity. If you have a very high fever, fluid in the lungs, or are seriously ill, seek medical advice. Honey is not for use in children under one year of age.
Other ways to protect yourself:
- Keep your body replete with these vitamins and minerals: Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D. These are the raw materials your immune system needs to do its work. I recommend keeping them on hand in your cupboard, so that you’re ready when you get sick.
- Tip: Make sure you’re buying high quality; it’s shocking how many (cheap) supplements contain colors, preservatives, and other artificial ingredients. Don’t ingest chemicals with the substances you’re taking in order to get healthy!
- Take a high-quality probiotic, and double up when you’re sick. Your gut microbes are important elements of general immune defense (not just gut immunity).
- Ditto about high quality and avoiding chemicals.
- Make a pot of homemade chicken soup while you’re healthy.
- Tip: Freeze several single-serve-size packages in your freezer, so they’re ready to go when you’re sick.
- Rinse out your nose. Have you ever gotten a sinus infection just when you thought you were getting over a cold? There’s a very good reason: while you have a cold, the bacteria that live in your nose, whose populations are generally kept in check by oxygen-rich airflow, your immune system and the “good bacteria” that live there too, get a golden opportunity. You’re producing mucus, which is good as long as it’s draining. But if that mucus is stuck up behind your nose or in your sinuses, those anaerobic bacteria celebrate! They’re thrilled to have a warm moist environment deprived of oxygen – these are perfect conditions to replicate, so they throw a party and you get an infection. Clear out their party pad by getting that mucus out of your body with saline nasal rinsing. (Hint, you don’t need to buy a neti pot or special mixes).
As usual, if you’re a patient of mine, and you’re having trouble kicking your cold (or flu) to the curb, or it has developed into a secondary sinus infection, come on in. I have herbs that border on magical.