‘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 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.

Here are a couple of recipes for feel-good tisanes and tonics that are worth revisiting at a time when you’re craving something warm and flavoursome. They are a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms, or for when you just need something comforting with which you can wind down.



This is a recipe that was given to my mother by a family friend, and one that I’ve been making a lot lately. 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 also 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.

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 a couple of 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.

Recipe by Sprig & Vine, originally published on



This is a warming drink made with turmeric, spices, and citrus. The fragrant freshness of the orange is something I love, combined with cinnamon; brewing this tonic will leave your kitchen smelling divine! It’s lighter and more refreshing as compared to turmeric milk, but with all the goodness of the anti-inflammatory miracle powder turmeric. Ginger and black pepper give this elixir a spicy kick, and the orange is a wonderful way to load up on Vitamin C in your tea.

You will need:
2 cups (or more) water
1 inch ginger root, smashed
2 teaspoon ground turmeric or 1 inch turmeric root
1-2 cinnamon sticks
A few whole black peppercorns
Orange slices
Pinch of sea salt
To serve: sliced oranges, honey

In a small saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, black peppercorns, orange slices and a pinch of sea salt.
Reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
Strain into a cup and serve with orange slices and some honey to sweeten.



I love ginger, and can’t have enough adrak chai (ginger masala tea) during the cold months. Ginger is a warming spice that should be included in your diet during the winter, and it’s great for tummy troubles. It soothes the stomach, stimulates digestion, and helps treat nausea. It’s also wonderful for reducing cold and flu symptoms and boosts the body’s immunity. Infusing your green tea with ginger is so easy; this is a tonic you need in your arsenal when you don’t have time to make anything else. So heat up some water, peel the ginger, and let’s get going!

You will need:
2 cups (or more) water
1-2 green tea bags or loose leaf tea
2 inch ginger root, chopped up
To serve: a squeeze of lemon and a teaspoon of honey

Add the chopped ginger and green tea bag to a cup or kettle
Pour boiling water over it and let it infuse for a couple of minutes.
Strain (or skip if pressed for time) and serve with lemon and honey.



If you grew up in India, you probably knew this as a child by the name of “haldi doodh.” Whether you now call it a turmeric latte, golden milk, or moon milk, this is an ever green (urm, golden) recovery tonic that is great for battling symptoms of the dreaded flu. Anti-inflammatory turmeric is the star here, and I like to make it with cinnamon, black pepper, and star anise, and with a splash of vanilla. This warming beverage is creamy, spicy, and ultra soothing; it makes for an indulgent nightcap that’s also good for you.

Get the recipe here.


What natural remedies do you swear by when you’re feeling sick?

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