A Hot Lemon-Ginger-Turmeric Drink to Boost Your Immune System and Soothe Your Throat
As a singer, I need to keep my voice healthy and in performance condition, just as I need to keep my body fit for shows. I do this through regular vocal exercise and coaching, and by ensuring that my physical health and immunity are strong.
When I am feeling run down and at risk of catching a cold, I have a go-to hot drink that revitalizes my immune system, clears out congestion and brings healing warmth. A friend who is a runner also uses it before races on cold mornings to keep her throat clear and breathing free. When you need a pick-me-up or vocal soother, mix these ingredients (preferably organic) into a mug, add boiling water, and enjoy.
Soothing Hot Lemon Water Recipe
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon: While the sour taste gets your saliva flowing, helping to soothe inflammation of your throat and vocal folds, lemons are high in vitamin C, with one lemon providing about half your recommended daily intake. This vitamin boosts your immunity by helping your white blood cells function better. It has been shown to reduce severity and shorten recovery time for colds and pneumonia. Vitamin C also improves your body’s ability to absorb iron, which helps prevent anemia. Plus, its antioxidant properties help support your cognitive function. In many spiritual traditions, lemons are thought to have a protective energy. In Hinduism, for example, they are considered an expression of the fiercely compassionate goddess Durga, who upholds righteousness while severing our ego.
1 tbsp freshly grated ginger: This strongly warming spice helps reduce inflammation and reduce fever, while protecting your respiratory system, supporting digestion and easing nausea. It is also a good source of antioxidants. The ancient science of Ayurveda uses ginger to support digestion, joint health and circulation. I like to use freshly grated ginger root, rather than the dried powder, as it is more balanced (dried ginger is considered too hot for some constitutions), has greater vitality and retains more of its nutrients.
1 tsp turmeric powder: I use the powdered form of this knobby root that looks very similar to its cousin ginger (except for its bright yellow-to-orange flesh), because the fresh root can be tough to find while on tour. There are excellent organic powdered versions that will last for months. It is the ingredient that makes mustard and curries yellow. Less heating than ginger, turmeric is bitter, astringent and pungent. A natural antibiotic, it strengthens digestion and improves intestinal flora. It purifies the blood and encourages the growth of new tissue. It contains bioactive compounds, such as curcumin, that are strong anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. It supports healthy brain function, lowers your risk of heart disease, and has even been shown to act as an antidepressant and reduce anxiety. Used in various ritual worships for its protective and purifying properties, in India it is also associated with the Divine Mother and is said to grant prosperity and purify your subtle body.
For an extra boost, you can also add the following to your power healing drink:
Echinacea tincture, as directed on the bottle: The purple coneflower has been used by Indigenous people in North America to treat various ailments for centuries. It has been medically shown to boost the immune system, while remedying inflammation and anxiety and even lowering blood sugar. Some studies suggest that taking echinacea in liquid form, such as a tincture, is more beneficial than swallowing it as a pill, because the liquid gets a chance to start working on the mucous membranes of your throat as you swallow. I personally use a glycerin-based tincture, as alcohol dries out and irritates the throat and voice.
1-10 drops of grapefruit seed extract: Hailed as a powerful antifungal and antimicrobial by health enthusiasts, I have found this intense bitter to help nip potential respiratory infections in the bud. I have read of (but not confirmed) its successful use for skin infections, digestive issues and household cleansing. But I have had good success in adding a drop of grapefruit seed extract (with a pinch of salt) to a neti pot while on tour, to help prevent colds and sinus infections, or clear them quickly.
Sweetener: To balance the heat of the ginger and the bitterness of the turmeric and grapefruit seed extract, you may enjoy adding a teaspoon of honey or maple syrup, or a few drops of stevia. My personal favorite is honey, especially Manuka, with its soothing and antimicrobial qualities.
Parvati is an award-winning singer, composer, producer, yogini, author, and Founder and CEO of the international charity Parvati Foundation. Her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).