If you're still sniffling at the memories of last year's drawn-out cold and flu season, it's time to bolster your defenses. Start preparing for this year's germ onslaught with an immune-building daily tea.
This strengthening blend stars astragalus, used for millennia in Traditional Chinese Medicine to increase resistance to illness. Ginger helps keep your system warm, which in turn can help amp up your defenses. Lemon balm and lemon peel add a citrusy flavor and gentle antiviral properties.
These herbs have a long history of safe use, but as always, talk to your doctor about adding new remedies to your regimen, especially if you have a chronic condition or take medication.
Immunity Tea (makes 1 quart)
This recipe calls for dried herbs, found at your local herb shop or online at jeans greens.com or frontiercoop.com. If you have any of the ingredients fresh, however, by all means, use them. Drink two cups daily throughout the season.
2 tablespoon dried astragalus
1 tablespoon dried ginger (order "cut and sifted," rather than powdered)
1/8 teaspoon dried lemon peel (choose organic if using fresh)
1 tablespoon lemon balm Honey to taste
1. Simmer the astragalus, ginger, and lemon peel in a quart of water for 20 minutes, covered.
2. Turn off heat and add the lemon balm; cover and steep for another 20 minutes. Strain and discard herbs.
3. Add a touch of honey per cup of hot tea. Tea will keep in the fridge for 24 hours; heat it up before drinking.