Witches Brew... does a body good this winter
Tis the season of sniffles & sneezes & snoozy-heads (especially come Saturday morning!).
I hope you're wrapped up warm & staying well. It can be hard for us to contend with the elements at the moment, with the chilly random Arctic blasts we're getting, interspersed with rain & wind & the odd much milder day. I even some wasps flying about the other day!
One fab remedy for this season & the bugs it brings our way, is what my Mum calls her 'Witches Brew'. It helps warm you up from the inside out, giving a good hit of lemony Vitamin C & throat-soothing honey-ness along with the health-boosting, warming & anti-inflammatory qualities of ginger & garlic (yes, GARLIC!).
It's a similar-ish decoction (i.e. an extraction or essence of something, obtained by boiling it down) to what you might think of as a simple Honey & Lemon drink (or Hot Toddy but without the whiskey) & while very easy to make, it has a good dose more of healthy heft. It can help ward off or speed up the departure of head colds & sore throats. It's also quite delicious & no, you won't reek of garlic, I promise.
For more information on this kind of home remedy, there was a great piece in the Irish Times the other day; it mentioned 'ecoimmunonutrition' & funnily enough, this Witches Brew remedy fits right into that bracket.
"so how can we step up our immune system? The answer is to turn to
those superfoods that armour-plate our system: ginger; turmeric;
bone broth; cider vinegar; garlic; seaweeds."
So won't my Mammy be happy? And wow, those Irish Mammies of ours - they
really ARE always right ;-)
* One large or two medium organic (or very well-scrubbed unwaxed lemons - this is important as you are using the WHOLE lemon - you really don't want to be extracting pesticides, sprays or waxes into your healthy drink!)
* A very large knob of ginger (again ideally organic) - about the size of your thumb & no need to peel the skin but do lightly wash it
* Two large or three medium or five very small cloves of garlic, peeled but left WHOLE
* Filtered water
* Honey or maple syrup
* Cloves optional
* Orange Juice (fresh) optional
1. Scrub/wash the whole lemon very well.
2. Chop in half & juice well. Set aside the lemon juice for later.
3. Roughly chop up the whole juiced lemon.
4. Roughly 'bash' the ginger (use a rolling pin for example). You just want to squash it a bit but not to pulverise it. Do the same with the garlic cloves but lightly - keep them whole but a bit 'squashed' to expose the flesh inside a little.
5. Place the chopped lemon skins, the garlic & the ginger in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan & fill with COLD (NOT hot) filtered water & put the lid on. Probably c. 750 mls - enough for 3-4 servings.
6. Bring very slowly to a rolling boil - do not have your hob on full to begin with; you want a slow gradual boil. Once boiling, reduce the temperature to a medium bubbling simmer & keep it on the hob for c. 20-30 minutes more.
7. Turn heat off, remove from the hob you used & allow to cool slightly on a cold hob or bench, still in the pot with the lid on.
1. Using a colander, strain some of the liquid into a cup (or into a glass that has a little cold water already in it). Fill 2/3 of the way. Put the contents of the colander back into the pot with the remaining liquid.
2. Take some of the reserved lemon juice & add to the serving in your cup. You can add in the optional fresh Orange Juice here too if you like.
3. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup to your own taste & add a few cloves too if you like.
You can get another 1-2 'go's' out of the already used lemon, ginger & garlic; just add some more cold, filtered water & follow the steps as above. Bear in mind the first extraction will have the most benefits.
I'm off to make myself a batch right now - after a lovely big walk in the Phoenix Park early this morning with my dog, I am craving the warmth & goodness inside & out that this drink gives me. Try it & nature & nourish yourself too.
Wishing you a healthy & happy weekend; keep moving; stay with your practice at home and/or in class & hope to see you on your Yoga mat very soon.
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