The other day I woke up with a massive headache, which I suspect mostly likely occurred as the result of a long train ride and sugar overdose the day before. The latter involved a certain moist, lemony German secret-family-recipe cake with special powers over me, what could I do? And did I mention chocolate? There was chocolate. Verdammt.
I decided a powerful antidote was in order to frighten this bad boy away. It was certainly no time for messing around. So I came up with this wholesome, zingy, energizing tea to deliver the punch. It contains four ingredients– ginger root, lemon, anise seed, and cinnamon–each possessing an array of excellent health benefits. I can’t say definitively whether due to the tea or not, but the headache vanished within an hour.
Traditional medicine and modern scientific research have revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, direct anti-inflammatory effects, and the ability to sooth menstrual pain, nausea, and pain from arthritis (WHFoods and WebMD).
Several research studies on the healing properties of citrus fruits such as lemons and limes have shown that they contain cancer-fighting antioxidants and antibiotic properties. In addition, lemons are an excellent source of vitamin C, which neutralizes free radicals and reduces inflammation in the body. Vitamin C has also been shown to prevent rheumatoid arthritis (WHFoods).
Anise seed has been used for centuries by the Greeks (see ouzo, possibly my favorite alcoholic beverage ever) for both flavoring and medicinal purposes. Besides its lovely, warming, black licorice-esque flavor, modern research shows anise seed to have aphrodisiac properties, relieve gas and muscular cramping, stimulate the pancreas, act as an expectorant, and relax the body (Herbco.com). Fun.
I grew amazed when reading about cinnamon’s manifold health benefits–who is this guy? Studies have shown that cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets, controls blood sugar, boosts brain function, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, demonstrates antimicrobial properties, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure (WHFoods and McCormick Science Institute). That’ll do.
Spiced Lemon Ginger Tea
1.5 tablespoons grated fresh ginger or 3-4 thin slices (I keep a piece of the root in a plastic bag in the freezer so I can always have fresh, easy-to-grate ginger on hand)
1/2 teaspoon ground anise seed or grated star anise
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups water (more or less depending on how strong you like it)
Directions: Put water in a pot or kettle to boil. Meanwhile, measure the ginger, anise, and cinnamon into a large measuring cup or teapot. Pour boiled water over the tea mixture, stir, and let steep for about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and stir. Then, pour the tea through a fine mesh strainer into a mug. I enjoyed this unsweetened, but feel free to sweeten the tea with honey, agave, or sugar to taste. Makes two servings.
I’ve added this warming, rejuvenating, cleansing tea to my waking up ritual–perfect for chilly winter mornings. Zing, zing, zing!