Therapeutic Drink to Ward Off Colds

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 ginger, crushed, or 1/4 dried ginger [Editor’s Note: Not to be confused with ground ginger, dried ginger is an actual chunk of ginger 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
  • Honey


  • 1. To ward off colds, bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger, 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.
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