This natural, delicious drink will boost your immune system. 

By Ananda Eidelstein

As the infamous cold season approaches, there are sniffles, sneezes, and coughs everywhere you turn: in the office, riding the train, on the sidewalk, etc. But this natural homemade tonic (which I suggest always having on hand) will support your immune system, so if you do catch whatever's going around, you have a new trick to get you back up and running ASAP. The best part? It comes together in just 10 minutes.

Start with a large knob of ginger (about 4 inches), rinsed and sliced. (No need to peel it). Place the ginger in a medium pot with 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 star anise, and 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and let it steep, covered, for about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a liquid measuring cup (or anything in your kitchen large enough to hold and store it) and stir in 2 tablespoons raw honey, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and the juice of one lemon. That's it! You have a reviving elixir ready to enjoy. Drink it warm, cold, or at room temperature.

To store, cover and refrigerate and consume within two days. Just make sure not to reheat it once it cools, since the raw honey will lose its healing properties. If you prefer it warm, skip the honey and sweeten to taste after you reheat.

So how does this magic elixir work to support your immune system? It’s packed with immune-boosting ingredients (ginger and cinnamon), as well as anti-bacterial raw honey. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, and although it's normally used to promote healthy digestion and aid nausea, it also has the ability to reduce aches and pains. Because of its detox properties, it can also help fend off bacteria, as can star anise. In this elixir, star anise also lends a helping hand for cough and flu.

Countertop’s Golden Honey (raw honey blended with turmeric and other spices) works wonderfully in this tonic—use it in place of traditional raw honey. It acts as a nutritionally dense and functional sweetener. We also love it stirred into our tea, and drizzled on almond butter toast. 

I’ve been sipping on this tonic to fend off or shorten unwanted colds. And recently, I made a big batch and passed it around like candy for the office. It got rave reviews, and some even said they felt better from it. Not only is it good for you, but it's delicious, too!

RELATED: The Easiest Way to Grate and Peel Ginger

Craving some soup to warm you up? We've got you covered with eight perfect soup recipes. And I do swear by a good lentil soup, as well. Stay healthy, friends!

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