Winter Tea Tonics to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

    Tea tonics can fortify you during the cold months. (Comstock Images/photos.com)

    These tea and herb combinations will warm and strengthen you during the cold months ahead. 

    Roasted Barley and Black Tea. Roasted barley is very popular in many Asian cultures. In Japan, it is known as mugicha, and is also very popular in the summer as an iced drink.

    Roasted barley with black tea is good for warming the body. It strengthens the stomach, promotes a healthy spleen, and helps with slimming.

    This takes a little time to make, but you can make several servings and save some. 

    1. If the barley hasn’t already been roasted, place 1/4 cup barley in a heated cast iron pot or skillet and cook for a bout 3–5 minutes until it is golden brown. Do not add water or oil. Be careful not to burn the barley.

    2. Place the roasted barley in a saucepan with 4 cups of water. (If you have a grinder, you can grind the grains before adding to the water). Cook until the water starts to boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. 

    3. While waiting, brew black tea in a separate cup. 

    4. You can either add the brewed tea to the saucepan with the barley or you can pour both into an empty teapot. Make sure you strain out the tea and the barley before drinking.

    5. Add honey or rock sugar if desired. It is ready to serve. 

    If you have some left over, you can keep it in the fridge and rewarm it or make iced tea out of it later. 

    Astragalus and Oolong Tea. This combination is good for the lungs, promotes healthy breathing, and cools the body if one is feeling hot from a slight fever. 

    Break up 1–2 tablespoons of astragalus into a few smaller pieces and brew in a covered cup with a small amount of boiling water. Let steep for at least 5 minutes. 

    In a larger, separate cup or pot, brew the oolong tea for about 3 minutes in a tea strainer, but do not fill the water up all the way. Remove the tea leaves from the pot and add the brewed water from the astragalus. 

    Where to Purchase Ingredients 

    Barley can be found in many conventional grocery stores and natural food stores. Astragalus can be found in Asian grocery stores.

    The best quality black and oolong teas are available in specialty tea shops but you can buy less expensive black tea in any grocery store and oolong teas in natural and Asian food stores.

    Rock sugar is the purest form of sugar. After it is dissolved in water, it can moisten a dry esophagus and aid in protecting against laryngitis. Rock sugar can be found in some organic and specialty grocery stores and also in most Asian grocery stores. 

    Note: If you are pregnant or nursing, please consult your doctor before drinking any of the tonics listed above. For early stages of pregnancy, drinking a small amount of ginger tea is good for alleviating morning sickness. Pure red rooibos tea is also mild enough to drink during pregnancy. 

    Benjamin Chasteen is a certified tea expert who enjoys teaching tea classes and giving tea presentations for various occasions.

    For questions or comments write to NYC_Health@epochtimes.com



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