Healing Hot Toddy for Common Cold Symptoms

This healing home remedy is also a tasty drink for common cold symptoms.  This recipe treats mild or beginning symptoms such as:

  • chills (morelemon and honey tea than fever)
  • cough with clear or white phlegm (not yellow or green)
  • nasal congestion
  • a tickle in the throat (but not a sore throat!)
  • headache
  • bodyaches
  • a floating pulse

These symptoms are called ‘Wind-Cold’ in Asian medicine.  This warming tea is not for ‘Wind-Heat’ (which likely would have a sore throat or cough with yellow phlegm).

The alcohol-free version below might be somewhat akin to the western remedy ‘Dayquil’, so you can think of this as a ‘sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy-head, chills & fever’ herbal remedy.

Adding a little whiskey (1-2 oz) would make it more like ‘Nyquil’,  or ‘the best sleep you got with a cold’ medicine.  I haven’t tried Nyquil, but as my friend Nina says “Anything is better than Nyquil and seriously, bourbon wrecks me less.”


4 cups boiling water

2 lemons, juiced

1 lemon, sliced

2 TBS honey

1 TBS grated Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

4 Juniper Berries, crushed fine

1/8 tsp Red Pepper (Hua Jiao) optional

4 large pieces of Anise Seed (Da Hui Xiang)

2 Cinnamon sticks (Rou Gui) cracked and partially crushed


Bring 4 cups water to a gentle boil. Place fresh ginger, crushed juniper berries, red pepper and 2 anise seed into a tea infuser set in a tea pot. Pour boiling water over infuser and allow the mixture to infuse for at least 7 minutes. Remove infuser from tea pot.

Take out two large glasses or mugs (that will hold two cups of water). Divide lemon juice between two glasses and add about 1 tablespoon of honey to each glass. Divide hot toddy mixture from tea pot between the two glasses and stir to combine with honey and lemon.

Place a couple slices of lemon into each glass. For decoration, you can add another Da Hui Xiang, a couple of juniper berries, and a stick of Rou Gui, as desired.

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