A Cup of Tea For Troubled Times

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Issue 320
May/June 2020
Stubborn Optimism

Wisdom and Wellbeing

A Cup of Tea For Troubled Times

issue cover 320

Cover: Lake Mungo National Park, Australia by Russell Curr www.russellcurr.com

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Sara Melendro shares her recipe for golden immune-boosting tea with lemon, ginger and turmeric.

Illustration © Enya Todd / Ikon Images

Illustration © Enya Todd / Ikon Images

This tea combines the powerful phytochemicals found in ginger and turmeric (such as gingerol and curcumin) with the vitamin C in lemon to create a spicy tea that enhances immune function, helps protect against illness and supports wellbeing.

For best results, you need to make this tea with fresh ginger and turmeric root, ideally organically grown. Unlike teas made from leaves or powders, which you normally make by infusion, adding boiling water and leaving to steep, this is made by decoction, simmering the roots in water to extract all the goodness.

The recipe includes a splash of milk or a teaspoon of coconut oil (or similar) and some cracked black pepper. Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, is fat-soluble, and the body can only absorb it if is taken together with a fat. Piperine, a component of black pepper, enhances the effect of curcumin. Honey can be added at the end for sweetness.


Makes enough for 2 cups

800ml cold water
7cm piece of ginger root, unpeeled
5cm piece of turmeric root, unpeeled
2 slices of lemon
½ tsp black pepper (cracked)
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp fat (optional: milk, coconut oil or coconut milk is a good choice)
honey, preferably raw (optional)


Cut the ginger and turmeric into thin slices.

Place the cold water in a saucepan and add the ginger, turmeric and slices of lemon, plus half of the cracked black pepper.

Bring to the boil, cover the pan loosely with a lid so that steam can evaporate, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about half.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the rest of the black pepper and the lemon juice.

Strain the tea into the cups and, if desired, add milk, coconut oil or milk, or other fat, and some honey to taste. Enjoy!

Sara Melendro runs an organic market garden in Devon and campaigns on local and global issues about the environment, food and agriculture.

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