The thought of making your own herbal tea from anything besides a premade tea bag was foreign to me until I met The Chiropractor.  (Lots of basic health-promoting things were foreign to me, let’s face it.)  I thought the only way you could enjoy herbal tea was to buy a box at the store and drop a bag of it in a steaming mug.

Meeting The Chiropractor’s grandmother taught me differently.  We went to her home in Amarillo for the holidays when we were engaged and I was introduced to a real, live, amazing specimen of what healthy living (plus good genes) can look like–Grandma Ellen.

Let me just say, Grandma is a pretty impressive lady.  She got a college degree in nutrition back in the day when few women attended college.  Today she is 90 years old and completely independent, and her health is pretty stellar.  She grew up on a ranch in Texas and I believe she is the definition of sturdy.  I’ve heard recent reports of her getting on the trampoline and playing in the pool with the great-grandkids.  In the last few years she has traveled to Jerusalem, Hawaii, Alaska, and dozens of stateside destinations to visit family and a few sites.  She had plans to go to Russia until the 2020 pandemic hit.

She has her own chiropractor on hand (her son, Brandt’s Uncle Brock) and so she gets regular adjustments and massages.  She continues to research supplements and vitamins and is very careful and intentional about what she takes into her body.  Last year she was at our place in Georgia for Thanksgiving and due to the number of guests we had, the only sleeping arrangement that really worked out was for her to be on the couch.  She was happy and grateful for it and got a great night’s sleep.  (She did that earlier at our apartment in Dallas too.)  She really is amazing and if I could have half of her vitality at her age I probably wouldn’t mind living into my 90s.

Grandma Ellen’s health is an inspiration to all of us and we want to replicate her aging process on ourselves, but we don’t all have the discipline that she’s developed.  So, we’ll see how that goes. But I’m going to at least try!

Anyway, back to herbal tea.  We were at Grandma’s house and I had some kind of cold.  She suggested that The Chiropractor make me some garlic tea.  That was my first exposure to drinking hot water that had simmered with fresh minced garlic.  It seemed a little strange but worth a shot.  I honestly can’t remember if it worked or not, probably because I was focused on trying to learn how to fit into this huge family of 10 kids and a million cousins that had gathered.

But what I do remember vividly is that a few weeks later we were at my mom’s house in Georgia and again I was still fighting something.  This time The Chiropractor cooked up a concoction so strong I could barely get it down.  I think it took me like an hour and I complained the whole time.  But I was feeling so miserable that I finally emptied my mug.  And within another hour or two, I was feeling a TON better. I don’t think I’d ever felt that kind of rapid and lasting improvement even from the various medicines I’d tried over the years.

Now, whenever I feel something coming on, I make up a batch of this.  I don’t always have all the fresh ingredients on hand but that’s how it works best.  And here’s what I’ve learned: the stronger and more potent you make it, the more effective it is.  In essence, make it as strong as you can tolerate.

What besides the garlic gives it so much kick?  Here’s the recipe we follow:

-fresh garlic, 2-3 cloves (or more) minced
-fresh ginger, about an inch length of root chopped us as small as you can
-ground cinnamon, as much as you want
-cayenne pepper, as much as you can tolerate

Add water and bring to a boil.  Let it simmer a few minutes.  Then add:

-fresh squeezed lemon juice
-honey or maple syrup to taste (I prefer maple syrup but we don’t always have it on hand).  This is what makes it tolerable at all…
-a dab of Kerry Gold butter if you’re into it like we are–it’ll melt right away and give it a little rich creaminess

Now the most important thing–you’ve got to down all the chunks of ginger and garlic that will be floating in the bottom of your mug.  There may be a little chewing required depending on how small you chopped.  If you absolutely can’t take that final step, the liquid is still great for you.  But just go ahead and swallow it all.  Your immune system will thank you.

And if you incorporate natural health practices like this maybe you’ll find yourself in the company of folks like Grandma Ellen, shown here on her evening walk at our family reunion last summer, when you’re in your 90s.