Sunday Tea Hoots 14 – Sick Tea. What tea to drink while sick?

I recently came back from Vancouver. Unfortunately, like every freaking time I go on vacation or leave town, I come home and get violently sick. This time around I thought I was going to break the curse as I didn’t get sick right away (plus I’m from Vancouver, I should be used to the germs) to suddenly get attacked a few days after, and me getting progressively worse and worse each day. Today feels like the worst, like my chest is going to birth a snot baby. I’m generally pretty active, I get my arbitrary 10k steps a day and weight lift 56 Great Grey Owls four times a week. (DEM SQUAOWLS!) I got all my shots, however, something about travel that just gets me every time as otherwise I rarely get sick.

I see this question asked a lot – What tea do you drink while you are sick? What a perfect time to answer this question as I’m sick right now and I momentarily have a clear head from drinking cough syrup.

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Sick Tea

My original sick tea isn’t actually tea, but a concoction that gets stranger depending how desperate I am.

Hot Lemon Tea + Desperation modifiers

Base recipe = 1 Fresh Lemon juiced + Honey.

+ Desperation = Fresh Grated Ginger

+ Desperation + No Fear = Spicy Stuff (hot chili flakes, cayenne pepper)

+ Ultra Desperation + Cannot taste anything due to sick = Hockey puck worth of wasabi

tea modification = switch lemon for hibiscus.

This “tea” is a good one for the evenings as there is no caffeine and cheap. The base recipe is pretty good as it is really just hot lemonade, heck my tea hating husband likes it! The hibiscus mod is a good one for when you are sick of lemons. Either way, this is a good classic concoction of honey and citrus for a good sore throat cough soother. I do the spicy stuff when I’m so congested and cannot taste anything, I have nothing left to lose. Usually part way in, I become un-congested, regain my sense of taste and regret everything.

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Lucky for me, I got lemons in the backyard.

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Garbage Shou Pu

This was a more recent discovery that I think works better than my lemon garbage cup of terror – shou pu’er. There’s something about the thick fermented tea to unclog my congestion. I can also drink shou pu easier than tart lemon. The caffeine keeps me awake so I can clean up last night’s lemon honey disaster I left on the counter and pick up used tissues.

However, this is a job for your garbage shou pu. Do not use the good stuff! Likely you are like me and can only taste snot anyways, so that high end shou would be wasted if you even manage to brew it right. Drink your cheapest and crappiest shou. The shou so bad you can’t drink it normally and hopefully you didn’t trade away or burn in a garbage can in a fit of rage. I really like these dirt cheap $5 for 50 mini tuochas that are mostly dust and twigs, plus I don’t know what “flavor” they are supposed to be. I steep the pu’er western and double strength as I am desperate to stop coughing. Feel free to add honey, ginger and spicy to the pu’er – it’ll taste absolutely disgusting that it should work.

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In the end, lots of cough syrup and drugs will help you not feel like you fell down a flight of stairs. Or you can try looking like a weirdo by drowning be nettie pot or steaming your face off with a towel over your head ontop of a sink full of hot water. Sick tea does help with unclogging snot, but likely just the act of drinking lots of hot fluids does wonders as well, so get some soup in there too…. totally add in a fist of wasabi too.

(Not a doctor, totally anecdotal and this is a weird plague + tea drunk + cough syrup ramble)

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  • OMGsrsly

    OMG. “Hot Lemon Tea + Desperation modifiers” = so true. My favourite weekend/sick day “I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything, and all my food is easily microwavable” modifier is 2 tbsp whisky. This time it’s Collingwood Toasted Maplewood ~fancy stuff, and it is divine. Even at 9am.

  • northernteaist

    My weapon of choice if the old breath tubes ever become blocked is a home brewed chai masala based around a BOP Ceylon, and a fistful of cinnamon, a thumb of fresh ginger, and an egg-cup each of cardamom seeds and cloves in the steeping water. My metabolic rate goes through the roof, and I incinerate the germs. At least, that’s how I think it works….

  • I have had similar run ins with that spicy death concoction many times! Nothing fixes a clogged respiratory system like wasabi! I usually go for a shou when I am having gut problems, something about the fermentation is soothing…and it is easier to consume massive quantities than some of my other fermented choices (looking at you kimchi)

  • aardvarkcheeselog

    The ingredient missing from your hot lemonade is rum.

  • I use the same concoction but substitute maple syrup for the honey. This works best really at the early scratchy throat stage, later it doesn’t do much.

    Am with Amanda on shou for the gut. I’ve tried other herbs like slippery elm for throat and juniper for cough, and finally concluded that the ancestors used these because they didn’t have NyQuil. Modern meds are an advancement, and I’m happy to leave the herbs behind.