Rivers of Qi Acupuncture & Fertility Blog

Simple Immune Boost Drinks

Kitchen Staple Ingredients  •  Sweetener Optional  •  3-7 minutes

a photo of a hand squeezing lemon into a glass with lemon, mint, and ginger tea.

March 13, 23   •  by Jessida Putkaew

It's March and people are still getting sick like it's December. This flu season is a wild one, between California's over-delivery of rain and the almost complete elimination of masks, our immune systems are now doing what they did when we were 2 years old. They've been re-introduced to germs that were kept away via masking, so since the Fall of 2022, our bodies have been rebuilding and increasing antibodies, in hope that we will be strong as a community like we once were. 

photo of lemon, ginger, mint, and a drink glass with a spoon and cutting board.

Here are simple drink combinations with items often found in our kitchen and pantries that help to boost your immune system and give it the building blocks it needs to keep our antibodies in good shape:

Honey + Lemon

Honey + Ginger

Lemon + Ginger

and you guessed it, Honey + Lemon + Ginger!

Ginger before Honey

To get the most out of your ginger, use fresh ginger, sliced into less than a centimeter thickness slices so they look like coins. This gives the ginger ample surface area so that the ginger properties come out into the water when you boil it. Boil the slices for 7 minutes with  1.5-2 cups of water per ginger root. After 7 minutes, the water should be golden yellow and spicy. This pot will usually make a few cups. You can find the right amount of spiciness for your personal taste by diluting this with additional water when making each cup of your final drink

Ginger is great for colds, to reduce inflammation, and to aid digestion. It's a great triple duty herb. Let the boiled ginger juice cool down a little bit, then you can stir in honey or lemon juice.

Honey Before Lemon

If you are using honey, and are already sick or the weather is neutral to cold, mix with hot but not boiling-hot water. The heat from the water will help to melt the honey just enough to make it drinkable, but you don't want it to be too hot as it will "cook" and reduce some of the properties of honey that come in it's raw form. I suggest buying honey close to its raw form to keep the most of the antiviral and antibacterial properties as possible. You even want to stir enough so that the liquid is only warm by the time you add lemon to not cook off the vitamins in the lemon juice either. So honey before lemon. 

For a Cough

you want to use a very small amount of hot water. Start with 3 spoons of water and add a spoonful of honey.  Stir. This should be a thick consistency. then squeeze in up to half a lemon into it depending on your preference of sweet to sour. This mixture should be quite sweet and sour. It is not meant to be drank like a glass of water but rather to be sipped on like cough syrup. It should help soothe the throat and can be made and sipped up to 4 times per day while the cough persists. 1 glass per day if you are maintaining immunity such as if there is a sick person in your household, workplace, etc. 

No sugar, No honey, Just Spice Me

For those not consuming sugar or reducing the amount of sweet in your diet, lemon and ginger are powerful in helping you through a cold or flu. without sweet to combat the spiciness of ginger, you will want to dilute the boiled ginger (how to boil is described in the section above). Dilute the boiled ginger with as much warm water as you like, add lemon juice, and sip this all day. Optionally add a small pinch of salt for balancing out electrolytes if you tend toward dehydration or have been feverish and sweating out fluids. 

Bring the Mint

Some people like the nasal passage opening properties of mint as well when feeling congestion start. Mint, like many herbs is not perfect for everyone. Mint is suitable if you don't tend to feel cold and are not the kind of person who feels "cold all the time". If you tend to "get hot easily", hate to wear thick clothing, or dislikes heaters, mint could be perfect for you. Rip or muddle fresh mint leaves or brew mint tea, add lemon juice, and a small amount of honey as a refreshing drink that can be enjoyed hot or cold.