We are officially in the midst of the cooler winter months, so what better time to utilise a few basic ingredients in the kitchen to create simple, delicious, healthy and warming elixirs to enjoy? An elixir is more than just a drink. Its ingredients contain constituents that can help to improve health and wellbeing, and in the case of these winter warmers, support immune function and increase circulation to help the body adapt and thrive in the cooler environment we are faced with.
With ginger and coconut that have warming characteristics recognised in Chinese medicine, turmeric with it’s anti-inflammatory properties (great for when a sore, scratchy throat presents itself), black pepper to improve the absorption of curcumin (the active component of turmeric), and Manuka honey (antibacterial properties), this is a warming, immunity boosting powerhouse.
2 teacup servings:
1cm fresh ginger
½ cm fresh turmeric or ½ tsp powdered
5-10 turns of cracked black pepper (depending on your taste buds)
¼ cup full fat coconut milk (option to use an alternative milk source, eg. almond milk)
¾ cup water
½ tsp coconut oil
Grind fresh ginger and turmeric into a paste. Add all ingredients except honey into a saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 3-5 mins. Strain in sieve or cheesecloth. Add honey to taste.
Ginger, Honey and Lemon Tea
Simple and delicious. Not only is ginger warming and can help increase circulation by reducing the stickiness of the blood, it can relieve stomach discomfort, reduce nausea, and is anti-inflammatory. Slow brewing enhances ginger’s qualities. Manuka honey helps to fight infection, and fresh lemon contains vitamin C to boost immune support and also aids digestion by adding acidity to the stomach.
3cm fresh ginger
2 cups water
Manuka honey to taste
Grate ginger into the saucepan of water and bring to boil. Simmer for 10-20 minutes. Cool to drinking temperature and then strain with a fine sieve or cheesecloth material. Pour into mug, squeeze in fresh lemon juice (1/2 per cup), and stir in honey. Option- add in some sliced garlic- not for the faint hearted but has added antibacterial and circulation increasing properties. You can make the ginger base in a bigger batch then reheat when needed!
Chilli Chai Tea
With a mix of warming spices plus chilli for that extra kick, this is an all-round winter warming bev! Add a black tea bag if enjoying this in the morning to bring a relaxed wakefulness to your day.
Makes 3-4 tea serves:
2 pieces star anise
1 tsp whole cloves
2 sticks cinnamon bark
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp whole cardamom pods
1/2tsp all spice
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or ½ tsp chilli flakes
Milk of choice (I recommend a homemade nut milk such as walnut)
Optional manuka honey to sweeten
Black tea bag- optional
Slice of fresh ginger- optional
In a mortal and pestle grind the star anise, cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, all spice, cayenne pepper/chilli flakes. Place in a glass, air tight container and shake to combine. In a saucepan add ½ a cup milk of choice and a ½ cup of water and bring to the boil. Option to add a slice of ginger here for some extra kick. Fill a loose leaf tea sieve with chai mix. Pour warmed milk into a mug and seep the tea filled sieve (and optional black tea bag) for 3 minutes.
Kula instructor Ashleigh Garnaut has a Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) in Nutritional Medicine from Endeavour College of Natural Health. She is passionate about using food as medicine. Ashleigh takes a holistic approach to health, taking into account diet, lifestyle, and emotional wellbeing.