Callie’s Cabin: Winter wellness, 4 tea home cures from your kitchen (recipe) |

Callie’s Cabin: Winter wellness, 4 tea home cures from your kitchen (recipe)

Cal Orey / Special to the Tribune
Chai Masala Tea in rustic cup with spices.
Getty Images

During the winter months, cold and flu season is at its peak. If your immune system is under attack, due to exposure from a sick friend, family, tourists to locals or traveling — no worries.

Getting sick can be prevented or the severity lessened with the right tea. Read on — discover how tea can be your best friend during the New Year.

Coughs: Coping with a cold can be annoying but coughing (either from a cold or allergies) can be pesky and make your throat and chest ache.

What Tea Rx to Use: Opt to brew one 12-ounce cup of black or white tea. For an extra throat soother, add 1 teaspoon of local honey is especially good for allergies). Repeat as necessary.

Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tackling a cough takes a bit of sleuth work to discover why you are coughing. If allergens are the issue, for instance, it’s time to get an air purifier, vacuum and dust more, and add tea with local honey to your diet repertoire.

Flu: Catching the flu, which can come on suddenly, drags you down and into bed. Viruses come in all forms and can give you anything from a 24-hour bug to a stubborn virus that’ll hang on for weeks.

What Tea Rx to Use: Take 2 cups of tea (black, green, or white) and 1 cup of your favorite vitamin C-enhanced herbal tea– such as hibiscus.

Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: It’s no surprise that tea is chock-full of antioxidants — the good guys that can keep your immune system healthy and stave off germs you could encounter. By drinking tea and a vitamin-rich tisane teamed with a nutrient-dense diet, you’ll be keeping your immune system strong.

Sore Throat: A sore throat is a telltale sign that a cold or allergies are looming, so rather than run to the pharmacy for medication every time, why not take an alternative route and turn to tea first?

What Tea Rx to Use: Dried oolong leaves combined with rose hips or hibiscus can be a perfect pairing. Put 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and 1 teaspoon of the herbal tea of your choice in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for a few minutes, then strain. Add honey to taste.

Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Oolong tea may reduce swelling and inflammation, due to flavonoids. Also, local honey boasts anti-inflammatory benefits and contains pollen to help balance allergies.

Seasonal Affective Disorder: Feeling down and sluggish with SAD? Seasonal depression is yet is another monster to face in the colder months. I have tackled the symptoms with an arsenal of remedies — and tea is on the list come late fall through early spring.

What Tea Rx to Use: Brew 1 cup of green tea. Steep for 3 minutes. Repeat two times per day.

Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Green tea has 45 milligrams of caffeine (which can give you a physical and mental burst of energy). But also, green tea contains L-theanine — a compound that enhances brain chemicals including serotonin and that can give you a calming sense of well being.

The bottom line: Tea researchers believe it’s the disease-fighting antioxidants in tea (black, white, green, and herbal varieties) that bolsters the body’s immune system and may help guard off viruses, and kind.

Taken from The Healing Powers of Tea 2018.

Good Morning, Chocolate Chai Tea

The first time I experienced chai was when I went to a tea convention in Vancouver, Canada. I fell in love at first sip. Here, this is my Tahoe-ish version that is sweet and spicy. It’s perfect for morning, afternoon, or evening.

1 cup water

½ cup organic 2% low-fat chocolate milk

1 ½ teaspoons chai (loose leaves)

Honey to taste (optional)

1 dollop whipped cream

Cinnamon to taste

In a small pan, combine water and milk and warm on medium heat until hot but not boiling. Add chai and honey (if preferred sweeter). Reduce heat to low fat for a few minutes. Strain into cup. Top with whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Serves one.

Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, and Essential Oils) published by Kensington. Her website is

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