It may sound like the most unlikely of flavour combinations – stinky, tangy, sweet – but on the list of grandma’s home remedies, this recipe sits up near the top as a catalyst of good health that can be enjoyed every day.

Perhaps it’s the antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral properties found in these ingredients that makes it a popular brew for strengthening the immune system, as well as for preventing and relieving colds, flu, and other conditions.

Honey can also contribute to the relief of throat pain and irritation.

I discovered this recipe in Hoffman’s Therapeutic Botanical Notes during my student days and I still swear by it to this day. At the first onset of any cold or flu symptoms, make a batch of this tea and sip it throughout the day. A thermos or large coffee mug is the easiest way to transport it around if you are on the go. Yes, you may have garlic breath, but what is worse? – temporary garlic breath, or days suffering through a cold or flu?!


  •  2 cups of boiling water
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger, grated (or ½ tsp of dried ginger)
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • A pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Juice from ¼ lemon, freshly squeezed
  • 1-2 tsp of honey (*New Zealand Manuka honey is best)


  1. Bring the water to a boil, then turn off the element on the stove and add all of the ingredients, except the lemon and honey.
  2. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, then strain the liquid into a ceramic/glass jug or teapot.
  3. Squeeze the lemon into the strained liquid and add the honey.
  4. Pour the mixture into a mug and let the tea cool slightly before drinking.

Note: To maximize garlic’s antibiotic properties, chop the garlic and allow it to sit 10-15min before adding it to the boiled water.

Dr. Sarah Sjovold is a Naturopathic Doctor practising at Livstil Wellness Clinic.  She regularly sees patients in the Langley and Surrey area looking for help with digestion, detoxing. and immune support.

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