Sprig & Vine is a lovely online journal that dips in and out of good food practices, personal essays, and culinary explorations, Vidushi’s second guest post is a timely one, coming at a time when everybody here in Delhi is struggling with hellish air, and is either unwell, off-colour, or just feeling the weight of living in a city whose air has, in fact, already made it uninhabitable. It’s the little things that make these days bearable, and one of these things is this little tonic.
‘Tis is the season for homemade herbal infusions and tonics. I say this as we’re in the middle of flu season, and everyone around me seems has either a sore throat, blocked sinuses, a queasy stomach, or some combination of the three.
I woke up one day last week with a terribly raw throat, desperately craving something comforting and warm and found myself brewing a pot of tea. On days when I’m feeling crummy and sick, making tea is therapeutic. Just the act of brewing tea soothes and calms me, and sipping from that hot cup is not something you should ever rush.
When I make tea I like experimenting with infusions of different herbs and spices, and the versatility these investigations provide. A recipe that I’ve been making a lot lately is this one with liquorice and mint; a family friend gave the recipe to my mother and it works wonders when your lymphatic system needs a little bit of extra care. Made by steeping liquorice root, mint, holy basil, cloves and cinnamon in hot water for a couple of minutes, this herbal infusion is caffeine-free.
Liquorice root is used popularly in Ayurvedic medicine to treat coughs and respiratory problems, while mint is wonderful for the lymphatic system and soothes a raw throat. Holy basil (tulsi) is immune boosting and soothes the stomach, and cinnamon aids healthy digestion, while clove is a warming spice that relieves sinus congestion.
This combination of cooling herbs and warming spices makes for a light, fresh, and ultra-soothing tisane. It’s a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms, or for when you just need something comforting with which to wind down. I love sipping on a cup late in the afternoon or at night just before bed, sometimes sweetened with honey.
Recipe (makes two cups)
You will need
2 cups (or more) water
2-3 inch piece of liquorice root
A few sprigs of fresh mint
A handful of holy basil (tulsi)
2 sticks of cinnamon
6-8 whole cloves
Place all herbs and spices in a kettle or saucepan.
Pour hot water over it and cover.
Let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and serve with a dab of honey if desired.
To brew a second time, just add more hot water to the herbs and spices and let it steep again.
Vidushi is a digital entrepreneur and visual storyteller who shares her passion for food on her website Sprig & Vine–a food and lifestyle journal that promotes good food practices. On her site you’ll find culinary exploration, personal essays, and stories. Currently based in Kolkata, Vidushi is also interested in travel, design, and creative projects.
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