Immune Boosting Lemon, Cayenne and Ginger Concentrate
Immune boosting botanicals are something I try to incorporate into my daily routine, and on the rare occasion that I get sick, I double down on the healing and inflammation-busting ingredients in my pantry. Earlier in the fall, I was surrounded by people with really bad colds—the kind that just shut your body down. My husband got it, and I watched him suffer through it for about a week until I began to feel the symptoms coming on myself.
I panicked a little, because who has time to be sick? Then I went straight to the kitchen and whipped up an immune boosting lemon, cayenne and ginger concentrate. I made 16 ounces of this concentrate to store in the refrigerator, and then I added a few tablespoons of it to hot water and drank 5-6 cups of this elixir over the course of 3-4 days. That might sound like a lot, but it was soothing and made me feel better like a healing broth would. It was also delicious. The best part, however, is that it helped keep me from developing a full-blown illness.
We know that lemon is rich in vitamin C and helps detoxify your system, but ginger and cayenne pepper add a lot of immune boosting power to the mix, too. Ginger has the ability to help prevent and treat infections because it activates T-cells, a group of white blood cells that help destroy the cells infected by virus. Ginger’s spicy kick stimulates blood circulation and opens up your sinuses, and it’s rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Cayenne pepper also offers a lot of vitamin C and bioflavinoids that help your body produce white blood cells, especially those in your lymphatic system that cleanse your cells and tissues of toxins. Additionally, cayenne pepper helps build healthy mucus membrane tissue that defends against viruses and bacteria.
Beyond the immune boosting reasons to sip this concentrate, it’s the best remedy I’ve found for banishing cold hands and feet—a constant struggle for me in the winter. The spices truly warm you up. Here’s how to make it…
Grate or mince 3-4 tablespoons of fresh ginger. Bring 1 ½ cups water to a simmer in a small pot. Add ginger and let simmer and steep for 20 minutes. Strain the water into a mason jar or other glass container. Add the juice of 2 lemons. Add 1 small dash of cayenne pepper. Add 1 tablespoon of manuka honey or raw honey for added sweetness and healing properties (optional). Store concentrate in the refrigerator and shake well before each use.
To drink, you can either take shots of this concentrate (careful—it’s spicy!) or you can add 1-2 tablespoons of it to hot water and sip. Having the concentrate prepared and on hand makes it easy to enjoy this immune boosting elixir throughout the week. In fact, I’ve been sipping this healthy tonic all winter as a tasty alternative to herbal tea. I can’t get enough.
Do you make something similar? What’s your go-to immune boosting cocktail?