Ginger Soothes the Savage Throat
There hasn’t been much cooking going on here at Midwestern Exposure this week. I’ve been laid flat by a nasty case of tonsilitis, which has made eating solid food downright painful. However, I have been soothing my throat with one of my favorite herbal comfort aids, ginger tisane with lots of honey. A tisane is essentially an herbal or spice infusion made from anything other than tea leaves. Now that we’ve made this lexical clarification, I’m going to revert to calling this beverage “ginger tea,” even though no actual tea is involved. Ginger is one of the rock stars of traditional Eastern medicine, and modern research has found quite a bit of scientific evidence to support ginger’s claim to medicinal fame. My Portuguese grandmother would chew a fresh slice of ginger root when she felt nauseous, because that’s what the fisherman on her home island of Madeira did to combat seasickness. It turns out she was right: ginger has been shown to be more effective than Dramamine. Ginger stimulates circulation, reduces inflammation, and helps clear the sinuses. Mixed with sugar or honey, which are humectants, ginger tea has a moisturizing, soothing effect on sore throats, too. And did I mention it’s absolutely delicious?
Soothing Ginger “Tea”
1 piece of fresh ginger root, approx. 2″ long
3 cups fresh, cold water
honey or raw sugar to taste
Optional: slice of fresh lemon
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Meanwhile, peel and slice the ginger root.
When the water has boiled, reduce heat to low, add the ginger root, cover, and just barely simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Strain out the ginger, mix with sugar or honey to taste, and serve immediately. If desired, garnish with a slice of lemon.