Good Health, Good Cheer

If the throat tickles start
and the coughing gets rough,
when the sniffles begin
and life feels kinda tough,
that’s when you need magic*,
our secret recipe
(it’s secret no longer):
a drink we call Head Tea.

This amazing potion, called an aromatic infusion in the book where I saw the recipe, was christened head tea by one of our children and has been known by that ever since. It’s a soothing cup of steam and goodness that helps ward off colds, and worse, in our household.

“We need to make head tea,” someone will declare, feeling a niggle in their throat or hearing a sniffle from someone else, and in the time it takes to boil a kettle and slice a lemon, the healing, heady scent of the truly aromatic infusion fills our kitchen.

To 2 litres of boiling water in a non-metallic pan (enamel or glass) add about 3 oz sliced gingerroot, a couple of cinnamon sticks, 18 cloves, a tablespoon coriander seeds, and 1 1/2 lemons, sliced. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and drink hot, sweetened with honey if you like. It’s especially pleasing at bedtime.

That’s it: five ingredients plus water. It keeps for a day or two and can be reheated as necessary. We use a pasteurized honey – this time from the Phoenix Park bees – and one of us sometimes infuses chopped garlic in honey and adds that. It is like a natural NeoCitran or Lemsip (without the drugs) and seems to stop coughs, colds and flu from developing, or shortens their visit to our house.

Substitutions: we’ve used ground ginger, cinnamon or cloves. We’ve also made it without any one of the ingredients, except lemons. In Dublin, you can find the spices in large packages at any Chinese supermarket.

This week, I’ve been enjoying mine in my new-to-me poinsettia mugs, which I’ve wanted for ages and my mom found for me.

Here’s to health and good cheer in this season!

*Not really magic, just nature’s goodness.

2 thoughts on “Good Health, Good Cheer

    1. The recipe calls for non-metallic because the acidic lemon juice can react with the metal, possibly causing a funny taste and/or affecting the finish of the container. We used to use a pottery dish, but the lemon juice did affect the finish on the inside. Stainless steel is non-reactive, so it would be okay. And yes, it is like a holiday tea!


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