When you're down for the count and no medicine will soothe what ails you, these five hot beverages will help reduce your symptoms and get some much-needed liquids into your fragile system.
Deep winter is now upon us, and lending further gloom to the dark, cold months comes with the almost certainty of illness. When it's your turn to go down for the count with a cold or the flu, there's nothing more restorative than a hot beverage. It'll help allay your symptoms and get some much needed germ-flushing liquid into your fragile system.
Why hot and not cold? Scientists say that a hot cup of tea, say, rather than a cold glass of juice, will not only do the obvious by warming you up when you've got a chill, but will soothe your sore throat, make you feel less tired, and also loosen up the gunk that's clogging your head and chest.
Below are five hot drinks to fill up the mug by your sick bed. Not sure which one is right for what ails you? Go with your gut.
The Hot Toddy. Some drink experts date the origins of what was originally a whiskey-spiked tea to 17th century India, during the time of the Raj. Its “curing" powers lie in the alcohol itself, which helps you doze off; it's also said to fight bacteria and act as a decongestant. There's no “right" way to make a toddy: Brew black tea and add a shot of whiskey to it, along with squeezes of lemon and honey. Or add boiling water to brandy or rum and fortify the mixture with sugar and a cinnamon stick.
Chicken Soup. Your grandma was right: chicken soup really is a cure-all, and her intuition has been backed up by science, which has proven that the ingredients in chicken soup fight infection and reduce upper respiratory discomfort. Pick any culture the world over and it likely has its own, ancient-granny version of this magic elixir. What kind you sip is inconsequential — even store-bought is effective. Just make sure that you get some, stat!
Turmeric Milk. A curative recommended by practitioners of Ayurveda — that is, a traditional and ancient form of Indian medicine — drinking milk when you have the sniffles may seem an odd concept. But research has shown that chemical compounds in turmeric are anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. For best results, heat up some whole milk (almond or soy if you're lactose intolerant) in a pan on the stove and to it add ½ a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and 1 teaspoon of honey.
Hot Lemon Water with Cayenne. Cayenne pepper purportedly takes the edge off sore throat pain and lowers your temperature. Lemon, a favorite additive to many cold-remedial beverages, gives you a shot of vitamin C (and honestly, it just tastes good and fresh). Put this all together by making a hot lemonade, basically, using boiling water, fresh lemon and a slug of maple syrup, and stir in as much cayenne as you can stand (pro tip: start small and work your way up to a ¼ teaspoon).
Ginger-Honey Tea. Yes, you can buy ginger-honey teabags, but making your own drink fresh to order (or having someone in your loving family do it for you) will give your beleaguered, mucous-coated taste buds a welcome zing. Why ginger? It's said to help you sweat out the toxins — and who doesn't need that about now? Toss some fresh sliced ginger into a mug, give it a dollop of honey, then top off with boiling water; let it sit, covered, for a few minutes for maximum potency.
Get well soon!