My first visit to India in 1995 was an unforgettable experience. For me, it was a revelation and I loved every bit of it — the color, the culture, the contrasts and the food. Unfortunately, as so often happens when we are working hard and playing hard, I came down with one of the worst chest colds I have ever had.
My work schedule was incredibly full and, with only a few weeks to do about three months worth of work, downtime was not an option. Fortunately, one of my Indian colleagues also happened to be a medical doctor. So, I turned to her for advice.
To my surprise, she recommended two therapies: (a) inhaling medicinal steam from a neti pot; and (b) ginger tea. Coming from the United States and having no knowledge of ayurvedic medicine, these recommendations did not make me feel particularly optimistic. However, desperation compelled me to try.
The neti pot was just too “out there” for me at the time. So, I started with the low-hanging fruit — ginger tea. To my great surprise, within 24 hours I was back at work and, within 48 hours, I was a new woman. Needless to say, I was sold!
As we have all been struck down with harmattan viruses over the past few days, our house has been steeped on the aroma of this tasty and comforting tea. Next time you get sick, do give it a try. If the tea fails to cure what ails you, it will certainly lift your spirits.
Country of Origin: India
2 black cardamom pods (badi elaichi), crushed with the side of a knife to split the skin
3 tsp. whole fennel seeds (saunf)
1 large piece fresh ginger (about 5-6 inches), peeled and sliced into disks (or to taste)
3 liters water
4 teaspoons loose black tea (preferably Indian)
1/4 cup demerara sugar (or to taste)
1. Add water, ginger, cardamom, and fennel seeds to 3 liters of water to a stockpot and heat on high until it reaches the boiling point. Reduce heat slightly and continue boiling until the quantity of liquid is reduced by half.
2. Add sugar and black tea. Bring back to the boil and boil for 1-2 minutes.
3. Turn off heat, cover pan, and allow tea to steep for about 5 minutes.
4. Strain and serve.
Editor’s Note: Ginger, which has been known for centuries as an effective treatment for gastro ailments of all sorts, also has many other medicinal properties — including serving as an effective alternative to aspirin. For more information on ginger’s therapeutic qualities, click here.