My friend Barbara Temsamani, who lives in Tangier, keeps this Moroccan formula for warding off colds and coughs taped to her refrigerator door. She taught her children to mix the spices and make the drink fresh three times a day for 1 to 2 days at the first sign of a cold. Drink hot, with honey added to taste.–Paula Wolfert
LC Behold, the Healing Power of Tea Note
Spices and herbs play critical roles in Moroccan cuisine—and, as it turns out, also in this soothing drink. The spices play differing roles, with aniseed imparting “a strong, warm, licorice flavor,” in the words of Paula Wolfert, and fenugreek providing a taste that’s perhaps best described as “a little like burnt sugar or maple syrup.” But it’s not just flavor that these spices and other herbs impart to therapeutic teas and herbal infusions. Or aroma. As Wolfert explains, “Moroccans are great believers in medicinal herbal teas.” Behold, the healing power of herbs and spices. Here’s Wolfert’s cheat sheet:
- Absinth is the “winter tea of choice” for warmth and as an antispasmodic and digestive.
- Lemon verbena calms the nerves, helps digestion, and gives comfort from the pain of menstruation.
- Orange flower water mixed with milk and sugar helps children get to sleep.
- Marjoram is an excellent remedy for a cold or stomachache.
Therapeutic Drink to Ward Off Colds Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 5 M
- 15 M
- Serves 1
- 1 1/2 cups cold water
- Small piece fresh ginger root, crushed, or 1/4 dried ginger root [Editor's Note: Not to be confused with ground ginger, dried ginger root is an actual chunk of ginger root that has been dried. The root tends to be of fairly consistent size, so simply break off 1/4 of the piece.]
- 1/4 lemon, preferably organic
- 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 scant teaspoon green aniseed
- 1. To ward off colds, bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger root, lemon, fenugreek, and aniseed, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.
- 2. Strain the tea into a mug and stir in honey to taste. Inhale the aroma and sip it while hot.
Thirsty for more? Sip on these:
Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Jan 11, 2012
This recipe appeared at just the right time, as summer made a long transition into the cold and flu season. I couldn’t wait to try it! When I first read it, I wondered about the dried ginger root or small piece, crushed. I went to the library to check if there was more information in the book and she noted elsewhere in it that her recipes only call for dried ginger powder. However, this didn’t seem to fit the description of the ginger here. As a result, I used a small piece of fresh ginger, and crushed it with the blade of my knife, as though I was crushing a clove of garlic. Whether or not this was what she intended, it worked to impart a gingery flavor to the drink. Similarly, a quarter lemon could be a range of sizes, and my lemon happened to be extra large. This made for quite a lemony drink, which I enjoyed (and for health purposes, it provided more vitamin C than had I used a smaller lemon). While boiling, the aroma in my kitchen caused Antonio to ask what I was making. When I shared simply that it was an herbal tea, he replied that it smelled terrific in our kitchen. I should have used a tighter lid while it boiled. When I strained it, I was left with less than half of the liquid I started with, so it was a very small therapeutic drink. I added honey, generously, and savored the taste and aroma. I don’t know if it was the drink or the therapeutic suggestion of the drink, or some combination of the two, but I felt much better when I got up the next morning. So the next time I’m starting to feel a little under the weather, I’ll make a cup of this right from the start of that feeling, and drink it regularly to ward off a cold, and I will highly recommend this to anyone having similar under-the-weather sorts of feelings. It’s more interesting than the drink we usually make with ginger, lemon, honey and cayenne, and it has a great story to go along with it. And what could be better than a nice, hot therapeutic drink alongside a little Moroccan bedtime story?!
Jan 11, 2012
I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about this recipe, however, I’m glad I made it. There were no colds in the house at the time, and hopefully after drinking this, there won’t be any for a long time to come. The first sip is very interesting. My husband wasn’t sure about it, but he came to like it better after the first sip. I usually just make a hot drink with fresh ginger, fresh lemons and some honey when I feel a cold or sore throat coming on, but I will definitely try this one when that time comes. I liked it with a touch of honey, but my husband preferred it straight — which is unusual for him. He usually likes hot drinks a bit on the sweet side. Very nice fragrance as well.
Jan 11, 2012
Hey, it’s worth a try! This is a comforting drink with a mild lemon/licorice flavor, and it’s very simple to make. It tastes a lot like one of those teas that is supposed to coat your throat.
Jan 11, 2012
While I can’t say if this wards off colds, I am sure it will be comforting on a cold night or to soothe a scratchy throat. At the first sign of a cold, I make a similar hot drink and sip it all day long, and my colds are usually over in a day or two. The lemon and ginger are familiar flavors, but the fenugreek and aniseed add a nice, spicy note to the drink. I add just enough honey to sweeten, but not too much. I’ve also made this with fresh ginger root (about one inch) and like it better than the dried ginger.
Therapeutic Drink to Ward Off Colds Recipe © 2011 Paula Wolfert. Photo © 2011 Quentin Bacon. All rights reserved.