Tis still the season of sniffles & sneezes, especially this extra-wintry March week Yogis.
It can be hard for us to contend with the elements at the moment, with the chilly random blasts we're getting, interspersed with heavy rain & wind like yesterday & then the odd much milder sunny day in-between like today, so welcome as it is.
One fab home remedy for navigating our way through this season & helping with the 'everyday' type of colds, bugs & sore throats it brings our way, is what my Mum calls her 'Witches Brew'. I used to protest at her admonitions that I try it. Then (as is always easier really!), I capitulated, tried it & agreed it works!
Witches Brew 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 also helps keep us hydrated.
It's also quite delicious & no, you won't reek of garlic, I promise.
For more information on this kind of home remedy, there’s an interesting piece in the Irish Times from a few years back; 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 Mammies of ours - they really ARE always right ;-)
* One large or two medium organic (or very well-scrubbed unwaxed conventional 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 (just wipe it with a clean damp cloth).
* Two large or three medium or five very small cloves of garlic, peeled but left WHOLE
* Filtered water
* Honey (or maple syrup to make it VEGAN).
* 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 already-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 it to come to a slow gradual boil. Once boiling, reduce the temperature to a low-to-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 helter-skelter of a week since last Thursday, with all kinds of little challenges & minor tribulations, I’m feeling a little tired & in need of some comfort & inner TLC. I’m craving the warmth & goodness inside & out that this drink gives me.
Try it & nurture & nourish yourself a little. We don’t have to be 'run-down' & sick to give ourselves some TLC Yogis. Much like our Yoga practice, think ‘prehab’ rather than rehab, on the inside as well as the outside of our beings, our bodies - our true one permanent ‘home’ that needs & deserves minding & tending to.
If you feel like getting a Yoga practice in, you can choose from Live Zoom Class, On-Demand Classes via the EDYI TV Channel or indeed come along to class with me at the GAA Clubhouse. Remember we have the 'double' Bank Holiday next week - so there won't be ANY Live classes after Monday March 14th until the following Monday March 21st. So I hope to see you on your Yoga mat very soon - be great to see you.
Saturday Classes - Choose from Mellow Flow at 9:30am or Yoga for All at 10:45am. Remember you can come along as a Drop-In (one-off class) to both Saturday Morning classes as well as Monday Community Yoga at 9:00am too.
Book in: https://bit.ly/bookedyiclass
Om Shanti & stay well