Winter is synonymous with cold, dark days, and warming comforts like blankets, fires in the hearth, but also, colds and cases of the flu. Recently, I made up a batch of immunity boosting tea that was just too good to not share.
And it all started with a walk.
It was a misty, gray day. One of the last of autumn before the light shifted and plunged us into the dark days of winter (or, theoretically dark days- I’m in perpetually sunny California). I was ambling along the river on one of my daily dog walks, and I spotted a thicket of wild rose bushes, the red rose hips glowing like ornaments against the fading and muted vines. I admired them as I walked past, but continued on my way.
Yet even after I got home, the thought of those hips, perched on the end of their thorny branches, gracefully bending from their own weight, stayed in my mind. Shortly after my walk, I met up with my best friend, and we started talking about her fear for the upcoming winter illness season.
As a pediatric nurse, she’s constantly around sick people and kids, and as a result, she’s also regularly sick throughout the winter. The images of those rose hips, glowing along the river bank, called out to me during our conversation. I needed to turn them into a tea blend for my friend. Not only to help her manage and recover once she gets sick but to avoid her getting sick in the first place.
Why You Need an Immunity Boost
You know that guy who openly sneezes and hacks down the store aisle, with no concern for other people? Don’t pretend, I know you also give him angry sideways glares and silently judge him, blaming him for that cold you better-not get.
Regardless if you’re a nurse like my friend or not, chances are, you’ll be exposed to illness all winter long- in line at the grocery store, the passenger next to you on the bus or the train, the co-worker at the desk next to you.
We all know that general healthy habits are the best way to prevent illness, but there are other sick people out there. But you don’t need to go live in a bubble.
I like to think of this as the winter workplace and social protection tea. Don’t wait until you have caught a bug to start healing. Lower your chances of getting sick by getting your immunity in top shape, ready to fight off anything that comes your way.
Now is the time to rely on our herbal allies, and let nature give us that extra immunity-boost! Make up a pot of this tea, pour it in a thermos, and drink throughout the day to help warm you through the chilly season and protect against winter viruses!
The Herbs of the Immunity Boosting Tea: What’s in it and Why it Works:
Rose hips are the ripe fruit of the rose, and fresh or dried, they are rich in vitamins and are said to have antifungal and antiviral properties, and contain potent antioxidants. They are reported to have 20 times as much vitamin C as oranges.
Elderberry has immune-enhancing and antiviral properties and is a powerful natural remedy for treating viral infections like colds, cases of flu, upper respiratory infections and herpes outbreaks. When it comes to herbs for colds, elderberry is basically the best bad-ass you can have at your side.
Echinacea is one of the most popular herbs in western medicine, and for good reasons- it’s one of the top immune-enhancing herbs. It’s elderberries superpower sidekick. It increases the body’s natural resistance to infections and illnesses and is best taken in small, frequent dosages.
Well known as a warming spice used in cooking and baking, it’s also a potent medicine. It is used to boost vitality, improve circulation, and clear congestion. In this tea, it adds it’s healing powers and also it’s delicious flavor.
Like cinnamon, sage is a common cooking herb and is an easy-to-use remedy. Sage is an herb that “dries” up the body and is a great ally in combatting winter illnesses. It is useful for fighting inflammation, particularly in the mouth, throat, and tonsils.
Immunity Boosting Winter Wellness Tea Recipe
- 4 parts dried rosehips
- 2 parts dried elderberries
- 2 parts chopped echinacea root
- 1 parts cinnamon chips
- 1 parts dried sage
- Use a scant tablespoon of herb blend per mug, and let steep 10 minutes. Or, brew a half-gallon at a time using a half cup of herb blend. It will store in the fridge for a few days, and you can reheat as needed.
- Enjoy 1-3 cups throughout the day when you’re surrounded by the coughs, sniffles, and sneezes of your housemates and family, fellow travelers, coworkers, or patients.
A note about the measurements: I create all of my tea blend recipes using ratios, referenced as “parts”. This could be whatever kind of measurement you like. I usually use teaspoon measurements to start with, so it’s easy to divide down as needed, but you could use tablespoons, cups, handfuls, or whatever container you have laying around.
If you are using whole rosehips, it can be hard to get an accurate measurement, so just eyeball it. You can never have enough rose hips. If you're buying the hips, choose crushed rosehips, which are easier to measure. However, if you've foraged for yours like I have, keep whole or make sure you know how to clean them. If they get opened up, the insides are full of tiny, irritating hairs- which are used to make itching powder.
Legal mumbo-jumbo: I am not a doctor and the information I provide is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment. Read my full disclaimer here.