I’m not even going to give you the long story behind this tea because it’s just way too long. Let’s just say it comes from traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine origins. It’s great for fevers, colds, respiratory issues, kidney problems, etc. Basically, if you’re sick, this is a good tea. (Which is why I hate it, because it makes me think about being too sick to get out of drinking it.)
Anyhow, The Man has had a few respiratory issues lately, and rather than try the usual drug store fixes, I’ve been making him this tea. It’s not a pleasant “sit by the fire with a book and a blankie” kind of tea. This is medicine. So after I tell you how to make it, I’ll tell you a few ways to get your patient (or yourself to drink it).
Technically, the original tea is called Brahmastra Tea, but please don’t Google it because you’ll find yourself in the weirdest collection of page on esoteric Sanskrit scriptures, medicinal blogs recommending drinking cow urine, and Southeast Asian websites selling you hair-loss prevention tea. I am not kidding.
Just try this and if you have a question, let me know. My recipe is slightly tweaked so you can make a quantity to sip throughout the day.
Fresh ginger (about 3 thumbs)
2 tablespoons honey
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon powdered cayenne pepper
1. Put about 3 pints of water in a 2 qt. pot on medium-low heat.
2. You can scrape the brown skin off the ginger with a spoon and preserve the good rind, but I never have the patience. I usually just peel the ginger and slice it into slivers so I don’t have to saw across the fibrous grain. The smaller you can slice it, the more it infuses into your tea.
3. I usually slice a few rounds of the lemon for the pot, then squeeze the rest of the juice into it, but you can just use the juice if you like. Sometimes in a pinch, I’ll add some ‘fresh lemon juice’ from a bottle if the lemons I have look sketchy. Shoot for about 1/2 cup of juice or more.
4. Now for the cayenne. I’m not going to lie. If you have a low tolerance to spice, start off slow. This will burn even worse if you have a sore throat. It’s also good to be cautious if you have stomach ulcers or other digestive issues because, again, cayenne is hot stuff. So I suggest going with 1/8 of a teaspoon until you gauge your threshold. If you have a high tolerance for heat, you could probably go up to 1/3 of a teaspoon. Please be careful.
5. Simmer your tea at medium-low heat for at least 15 minutes, if not more. (When The Man is sick, I just have an ongoing pot on the stove that I constantly take from and add to.) Just before you strain your tea, put in the honey and give it a minute to dissolve. But don’t heat the honey too much or it negates the healing properties.
When you’re not feeling well, this is actually very comforting to drink. It just doesn’t taste wonderful. So there are a few things you can try to make it more exciting for your cranky sick person.
*Mix it with real lemonade, about 2/3 hot tea to 1/3 cold lemonade.
*Mix it with real ginger ale (Reeds, not the flavored HFCS stuff). About 1/2 and 1/2.
*Add mint tea. I sometimes throw two mint tea bags into the pot while it’s simmering. The mint cool effect balances out the warm cayenne.
I’m not a doctor so don’t sue me if you drink this tea instead of getting medical help.
And no, I’m not kidding about those wacky sites suggesting you drink cow urine. Really.