Do you need a rejuvenating boost to get over the winter woes? It’s harder to stay healthy and energetic during the winter. Less sunshine, colder weather, and the pull to load up on carbs can all work against you feeling your best. Plus, it’s extra tough to stay well when you’re constantly surrounded by people with colds and flu.
The good news is, keeping healthy and vibrant can be simple when you incorporate rejuvenating health tonic beverages into your daily routine. Drinks that are supercharged with powerful immune-boosting herbs, spices and other botanicals strengthen your immune system, lift energy and mood, quickly tackle any germs that sneak through, and relieve symptoms should colds or flu strike.
Here are six soothing, uplifting beverages that make it easy to stay healthy despite those winter blues.
1. Ginger, Cinnamon, Turmeric Tea
This sweet and spicy tea will recharge your immune system, fight off illness, balance your blood sugar, and keep you going all winter long.
Ginger adds an extensive list of healing powers to this warming brew. (1) Studies confirm ginger’s effectiveness against a long list of diseases (2), including:
· Viral and bacterial infections
· High cholesterol
· GI (gastrointestinal) upset
Along its ability to fight off viruses and calm inflammation, cinnamon keeps blood sugar under control— a must when the cold weather has you craving more carbs. (3) Clinical trials show that cinnamon lowers fasting blood sugar and improves insulin response in people with diabetes and prediabetes. (4)
Best known for its bright golden color, turmeric contains one of the world’s most studied natural compounds: curcumin. Packed with curcumin, this warming spice offers a substantial immune system boost, fighting viruses, bacteria, free radicals, and inflammation. (5) Clinical studies show that curcumin in turmeric works to conquer cancer, treat depression, and relieve arthritis pain as effectively as NSAIDs.(6, 7, 8)
Makes 2 cups
1½ tsp. fresh grated turmeric
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
3 cups of water
Step 1: Put turmeric, ginger, cinnamon sticks, and water in an uncovered medium saucepan.
Step 2: Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes (flavors intensify with more time).
Step 3: Strain the tea into two cups and enjoy.
2. Tulsi Tea
The Hindu religion considers tulsi – also known as holy basil – sacred, revered for its therapeutic potential. This ancient medicinal herb acts as an adaptogen, a compound that brings balance to your body. Along with that balance, tulsi also has strong detoxifying properties that help your body deal with a wide variety of stressors (from pollution to emotional distress to cold weather). (9) Tulsi also offers direct protection against bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. (10)
Clinical trials show that tulsi effectively treats a variety of health conditions, including (11):
· Viral infections
· Type 2 diabetes
· High blood pressure
· Chronic stress
You can count on the “Queen of Herbs” to keep you healthy, balanced, and calmly energetic all winter long.
Makes 2 cups
2 tsp. dried tulsi leaves
2 cups boiling water
Step 1: Place 1 tsp. of dried tulsi leaves in each cup (works best using a tea ball).
Step 2: Pour boiling water into each cup, then cover the cups, and let steep for at least five minutes.
Step 3: Strain the infusion (or remove the tea ball) and enjoy.
For an extra healthy boost, you can steep your tulsi tea with ginger and cinnamon for added spice, or with hibiscus flower for a hint of sweetness and greater benefits.
3. Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus plants offer much more than garden decoration. Since ancient times, hibiscus flowers have been brewed into medicinal teas and used as remedies for everything from constipation to liver disease. Modern research shows that hibiscus can treat high blood pressure and high cholesterol, fight obesity, and kill cancer cells. (12, 13, 14)
And when it comes to keeping you healthy during the winter season, this sweet-tart tea really shines. Studies show that hibiscus has strong antiviral properties— strong enough to kill even highly infectious strains of bird flu and other deadly flu viruses. (15, 16) Hibiscus also boosts your immune system’s own effectiveness when pathogens attack.
Makes 2 cups
1½ tbsp. dried hibiscus flowers
2 cups water
Step 1: Place the water in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil.
Step 2: Turn off the heat, then add in the hibiscus flowers.
Step 3: Cover the mixture and let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes.
Step 4: Strain the tea into two cups and enjoy.
For a flavorful extra immune boost, you can steep your hibiscus tea with a cinnamon stick.
4. Elderberry Syrup
When it comes to fighting colds and flu, elderberry is a time-honored remedy that offers potent support. (17) Numerous human clinical trials have shown that elderberry shortens the duration of infections and relieves symptoms quickly. (18, 19) One study found that flu patients taking elderberry got symptom relief four days faster and used less medication than people taking placebo. (20)
Along with fighting infections, elderberry supplies several essential vitamins and minerals, offers protection against inflammation, strengthens the immune system, and regulates blood sugar. (21, 22)
Elderberry syrup is commonly found wherever vitamins and herbs are sold. You can turn any hot beverage into an antiviral powerhouse by adding elderberry syrup. Mix a spoonful into a cup of hot water or herbal tea to make a sweet and tangy winter tonic.
5. Botanically-Enhanced Medicinal Mushroom Tea
Medicinal mushrooms come packed with curative compounds that can help you sail through the winter without even a sniffle. And when those medicinal mushrooms are combined in a healing blend, their immune-boosting and protective powers multiply. I recommend a researched, botanically-enhanced mushroom formula containing some of the most well-studied medicinal mushrooms, including:
· Coriolus (Turkey Tail)
· Ganoderma (Reishi)
These mushrooms offer strong antiviral and antibacterial activity, fighting off cold and flu viruses while nudging your immune system into action. (23) On top of that, medicinal mushrooms have been shown in several clinical trials to fight various forms of cancer, improve quality of life for people suffering from chronic diseases, and restore healthy kidney function. (24, 25, 26)
Add a teaspoon of botanically-enhanced medicinal mushroom powder to one cup of hot water for quick, effective immune system boost. You can sweeten this medicinal mushroom tea with honey, or enjoy it as a savory brew. For added immune support, you can mix botanically-enhanced medicinal mushroom powder into any hot drink, including cocoa, Chai tea, and coffee. You can even add a shot of mushroom powder into your favorite soup.
6. Modified Citrus Pectin Tonic
For a quick immune system boost, gentle detox action, and powerful protection against numerous health conditions, add clinically proven Modified Citrus Pectin (MCP) to your daily routine. The key is to use the correct, extensively researched form of MCP, which is highly bioavailable and bioactive throughout the body. (27) This original form of MCP has been substantiated in more than 50 published studies over the last two decades, and is shown to deliver essential benefits for our most critical areas of health:
· Increases immune system activity (28)
· Removes toxic metals (like lead and mercury) (29)
· Prevents cancer from metastasizing (30)
· Stops tumor growth and kills cancer cells (31)
· Fights inflammation (32)
· Reduces risk of heart disease, including atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), (33) and heart failure (34)
· many other benefits
Add one scoop of modified citrus pectin to one cup of hot water for soothing immune system support, and add a squirt of lemon juice to brighten the flavor. You can also add a scoop of MCP to your favorite herbal tea. Make sure to stir briskly so the MCP dissolves completely. MCP works best on an empty stomach, so drink this healthy tonic away from food.
Lift your glass to greater vitality, with the power of time-tested, researched wellness tonics. These seasonal superheroes deliver outstanding protection and therapeutic benefits, and boost long-term vitality—not just during cold and flu season, but all year long.
1) Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7.
2) Rahmani AH, Shabrmi FM, Aly SM. Active ingredients of ginger as potential candidates in the prevention and treatment of diseases via modulation of biological activities. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2014;6(2):125–136. Published 2014 Jul 12.
12) Hopkins AL, Lamm MG, Funk JL, Ritenbaugh C. Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in the treatment of hypertension and hyperlipidemia: a comprehensive review of animal and human studies. Fitoterapia. 2013;85:84–94.
13) Morales-Luna E, Pérez-Ramírez IF, Salgado LM, Castaño-Tostado E, Gómez-Aldapa CA, Reynoso-Camacho R. The main beneficial effect of roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on obesity is not only related to its anthocyanin content. J Sci Food Agric. 2019 Jan 30;99(2)
14) Nguyen C, Baskaran K, Pupulin A, et al. Hibiscus flower extract selectively induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells and positively interacts with common chemotherapeutics. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019;19(1):98.
15) Baatartsogt T, Bui VN, Trinh DQ, et al. High antiviral effects of hibiscus tea extract on the H5 subtypes of low and highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses. J Vet Med Sci. 2016;78(9):1405–1411.
16) Takeda Y, Okuyama Y, Nakano H, Yaoita Y, Machida K, Ogawa H, Imai K. Antiviral Activities of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Tea Extract Against Human Influenza A Virus Rely Largely on Acidic pH but Partially on a Low-pH-Independent Mechanism. Food Environ Virol. 2019 Oct 16. doi: 10.1007/s12560-019-09408-x. [Epub ahead of print]
17) Krawitz C, Mraheil MA, Stein M, et al. Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2011;11:16.
18) Tiralongo E, Wee SS, Lea RA. Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients. 2016;8(4):182.
19) Hawkins J, Baker C, Cherry L, Dunne E. Black elderberry (Sambucus nigra) supplementation effectively treats upper respiratory symptoms: A meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials. Complement Ther Med. 2019 Feb;42:361-365.
20) Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.
21) Ho GT, Wangensteen H, Barsett H. Elderberry and Elderflower Extracts, Phenolic Compounds, and Metabolites and Their Effect on Complement, RAW 264.7 Macrophages and Dendritic Cells. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(3):584.
22) Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Elderberry. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Website. https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/integrative-medicine/herbs/elderberry-01. Accessed January 22, 2020.
25) Chang Y, Zhang M, Jiang Y, Liu Y, Luo H, Hao C, Zeng P, Zhang L. Preclinical and clinical studies of Coriolus versicolor polysaccharopeptide as an immunotherapeutic in China. Discov Med. 2017 Apr;23(127):207-219.
26) Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Tung YS, Kwan TH, Mok CK, Leung C, Chan LS. Cordyceps sinensis (a traditional Chinese medicine) for treating chronic kidney disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Dec 18;(12).
28) Ramachandran C, et al. Activation of human T-helper/inducer cell, T-cytotoxic cell, B-cell, and natural killer (NK)-cells and induction of natural killer cell activity against K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells with modified citrus pectin. BMC Complement and Altern Med. 2011 Aug 4;11:59.
29) Eliaz I, Weil E, Wilk B. Integrative medicine and the role of modified citrus pectin/alginates in heavy metal chelation and detoxification–five case reports. Forsch Komplementmed. 2007 Dec;14(6):358-64.
32) Ramachandran C, Wilk B, Melnick SJ, Eliaz I. Synergistic Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Effects between Modified Citrus Pectin and Honokiol. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:8379843.