Coriander, Black Cumin, Fenugreek, Fennerl, Cumin, Clove, Cinnamon, Black Peppercorn, Fresh Ginger, Dry Ginger

Drink a quart or more a day of this delicious detox tea  if you are fighting off a cold or flu. You can also take this if you are already sick, to get better more quickly, and to prevent secondary infection in throat, sinus, or lungs. Do not use if you have a raging sore throat or high fever. Do use especially if you feel cold and have clear mucus or phlegm.

This is a delicious tea made from ordinary kitchen spices that is a powerful remedy for common colds and flu. I learned it in Sri Lanka, from my Ayurveda teacher Vaidhya Wickeramasinghe.


Drink from one to 5 cups a day if you feel any combination of the following symptoms:

  • chills
  •  run down
  • fatigue
  •  feeling cold
  •  aversion to wind,
  • mild cough with phlegm
  • stuffy nose
  • runny nose,
  • easy to expel mucus,
  • low fever,
  • mild sore throat,
  • fatigue


In Sri Lanka it is used especially during the rainy season, when people tend to catch colds. It is an excellent balance for the very bitter cold herbs like Echinacea and Goldenseal that are, in the Chinese Medicine view, overused in the USA and Europe for colds.

How it Works

In Ayurvedic theory we are more susceptible to colds and flu when we have  accumulated toxic Ama. This kind of thermogenic, pungent, bitter, aromatic tea removes Ama from the body by increasing our internal fire Agni,  which in turn burns the Ama toxins. This tea also has  a detoxifying affect on the shrotas or channels.


Dr. W’s Ayurvedic Tea for Colds and Flu


6 cups water

Adjust the following, more or less, to taste.
Coriander Seed 3 tbsp
Fresh Sliced Ginger Root 5 medium slices
Dried Ginger Powder 1-2 tsp
Green Cardamom Seed or Pods 1 tbsp
Fenugreek Seed 1 tbsp
Cumin Seed 2 tsp
Black Cumin 3 tsp (get at Indian market or Amazon) if not avail use more plain cumin
Fennel Seed 2 tsp
Black Peppercorns, 1-2 tbsp, (more for Kapha type or if lots of runny nose, less for Pitta type)
Cinnamon Stick or Cassia, 1-2  4″ pieces
Clove 6
Long Pepper,(Pippili) if available, 4 pieces (I have seen for sale at the Chinese market in the Indonesian spice section…also and Indian grocer)
Holy Basil 2 tbsp (grow in your garden and dry for winter or get at Indian grocers in the body-care section as a powder, also at health food stores in tea bags, also Amazon.)


Bring spices and water to a boil. Simmer for around 40 minutes.

If desired, and I do recommend this for Pitta-Vatta and Vatta-Pitta types, add about 1 cup of goat’s, cow, coconut, soy, or nut milk and simmer another 5 minutes.

Sweeten to taste with Honey for Vatta or Kapha dominant and raw sugar for Pitta. But if a Pitta feels cold and averse to wind, I give them honey. Do not cook the honey, only add at the end.

Drink a lot of this through the day, up to a quart, even more,  as soon as you start to feel sick. If you sweat, change clothes so you don’t get a chill. Stay indoors. Eat light food like toast or rice soup. Rest, rest, rest!

Try to use whole spice rather than powder. If you use whole spice you get a clear liquid; if you use powder you can get a muddy broth.


If you are too busy to make the above, there is a product that is very popular in Sri Lanka that is now available on line.
It is very similar to the above recipe, but I warn you, it is very hot. If you are a Pitta dominant you must mix it with milk. You might still get some burning sensations in the lower GI, and use with care if you have a tendency to hemorrhoids.


copyright eyton shalom, oct 2012, san diego, ca all rights reserved, use with permission.

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