Therapeutic Drink to Ward Off Colds

This therapeutic drink to ward off colds recipe is the best tea to drink for a cold, whether a cough or a sore throat, or the flu. It’s a simple tonic of ginger, lemon, fenugreek, and anise with magic Moroccan powers.

Therapeutic Drink to Ward Off Colds

A therapeutic drink to ward off colds, coughs, sore throats, and the flu that’s not Robitussin?! Believe it. Cookbook author Paula Wolfert became familiar with this Moroccan cold remedy for warding off whatever ails you via her friend Barbara Temsamani, who keeps this recipe taped to her refrigerator door. Take it 3 times a day for 1 to 2 days at the first sign of a cold. Originally published Jan 11, 2012.Paula Wolfert

What Other Ingredients Contribute To The Healing Power Of Tea?

Spices and herbs play critical roles in Moroccan cuisine—and, as it turns out, in this soothing drink. The spices play differing roles, with anise seeds 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

  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 15 M
  • Serves 1
5/5 - 1 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Food of Morocco cookbook

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  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • Small piece ginger, crushed, or 1/4-inch piece 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 anise seeds
  • Honey, to taste (optional)


  • 1. Bring the water to a boil. Add the ginger, lemon, fenugreek, and anise seeds, cover, and boil for 10 minutes.
  • 2. Strain the tea into a mug and stir in honey to taste, if desired. Inhale the aroma and sip the tea while it’s hot.


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Recipe Testers Reviews

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.

My usual go-to warm soothing drinks to consume when I have a cold or sore throat are tea made with fresh lemongrass, water, and a touch of honey or hot water, apple cider vinegar, and honey. A few days ago, I really needed a hot drink cold remedy and remembered this recipe. My sinuses had a lot of pressure and I was sneezing and nose know the deal...miserable. I picked up the ingredients from the store and my husband kindly threw this drink together in a matter of minutes. I was so stuffy and congested that I couldn't even smell it brewing but my husband claimed it had a very interesting aroma (I don't think he was a real fan of the smell of fenugreek). When I tasted the drink warm, I immediately felt the relief of the warm, rich liquid soothing my throat. Next time, though, I would add less lemon as I think my husband may have added to much lemon as my tummy hurt a little. Wonder of all wonders, though, the next morning I was feeling much better and have never been rid of a cold so soon—I was seriously like 90% improved from the prior day. I also drank my lemongrass tea, but this drink was new to my remedies and I've never felt better so fast...was it really the tea? The scientist in me wants to try this experiment again...but not hoping to get a cold again any time soon!

While I can’t say if this therapeutic drink wards off colds, I'm 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.

This therapeutic drink to ward off colds 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 crushing the fresh ginger or using dried ginger. 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 like 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?!

Hey, it’s worth a try! This therapeutic drink to ward off colds is a comforting drink with a mild lemon and licorice flavor. And it’s very simple to make. It tastes a lot like one of those teas that's supposed to coat your throat.


  1. One more natural therapeutic: Ginger Lemongrass Honey Tea. Just boil 4 cups of water with 2 teaspoons green tea or your favorite nice tea, 1 lemongrass stalk, and 1 inch chopped ginger for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the fresh herbs to infuse into the tea. Strain the tea into a teapot and then mix in 2 teaspoons of local honey. Sipping this tea regularly works wonders with your sinuses & allergies.
    I have written this on my blog if you want to read it.


  2. What is green aniseed?

    I drink Yogi Licorice Tea and think maybe I could add a little lemon and honey to it. I also use it to make licorice ice cream, using the Jeni’s Sweet Cream Ice Cream Recipe you posted and steeping three Yogi Licorice Tea Bags in the hot “custard” (it’s not really custard since there are no eggs, but you know what I mean) for 15 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. It has an elusive flavor, more like chai or gingerbread, not like black licorice at all. It reminds me of a licorice ice cream I had in Paris, crème glacé de réglisse at the Hotel Lutetia.

    1. Victoria, I love your creativity. And I, too, love licorice tea. While it doesn’t have quite the same properties as fenugreek in terms of healing, I think it would still be quite soothing to the body as well as the mind. Greatly appreciate you sharing your approach to licorice ice cream!

        1. Sure. Green anise seeds are similar to fennel seeds but possess a stronger licorice flavor. The seeds vary in color from a greyish to brownish to greenish color, and I’ve taken out the “green” as a descriptor in the recipe as any anise seed will work in lovely fashion in this recipe.

  3. I am crazy about this tea. I came across the recipe and decided to give it a try as I love lemon ginger drinks. I have never had bought fenugreek seeds before, but the smell is familiar, and I have discovered I love the flavor. I have been drinking this all the time and I’m not even sick! I just like how it tastes! And hopefully I have warded off any sickness. I have been making a larger batch and saving some to drink cold with fizzy water and a bit of (fruit sweetened) lemonade. It’s way better than any of those canned tea drinks you can get.

    1. Squeaky, well, you’re smarter than I. I should have been drinking this, as I got really sick this past week. Now, I’m suffering. It’s the new adage, “Do as I post, not do as I do.”

      1. Oh no! Well, thanks for the reply and I hope you are feeling better now! (I just came by to check the recipe again, I’m about to make some to ward off the -25c temperatures here). :)

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