We make this lemon ginger turmeric tea every few days in the winter, and I drink potfuls of it any time I have a sore throat or cold. It’s soothing, tastes great, and the spices, honey, and lemon are great if you’re feeling under the weather.
This type of ginger spice tea has its roots in ayurveda, which is linked to the practice of yoga. You might see similar teas served at different studios, and almost all workshops worth their salt will offer a type of yoga tea. I first started drinking it when I did my yoga teacher training about ten years ago.
For some more cosy cold-weather drinks you can make at home, try cranberry ginger tea, spiced pear cider with a shortcut method, or dairy-free hot chocolate. If you have access to elderberries you can also make a honey elderberry syrup and have a spoonful everyday for some extra vitamin C during cold season.
I often use this tea as the base for ginger beer (page 215 of my cookbook).
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Spices: you can alter the recipe to increase or decrease certain ingredients if you like it to have a more pronounced cinnamon flavour, for example. Other additions could be cloves, star anise, or fennel. I forgot to add the pepper to the ingredient shot.
- Turmeric: if you can’t find fresh turmeric, you can either substitute a small amount of dried (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) or leave it out. Fresh turmeric is getting easier to find these days, though, and I can’t recommend trying it highly enough.
Step by Step
This is a mix it and forget it kind of recipe, with a fairly long simmering time that you don’t need to be around for. I think it could also be made in a slow cooker but haven’t tried this.
1. Prep the spices: wash and chop the ginger and turmeric, and break the cardamom pods. Add to a pot with the water.
2. Cook: bring to a low boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least half an hour.
3. Add-ins: turn off the heat and stir in the lemon and honey.
4. Serve hot: strain the tea and serve hot or warm.
To get the most benefits from turmeric, it should always be combined with pepper. All of the spices in this tea are great for reducing inflammation, but turmeric is an anti-inflammatory powerhouse.
Both ginger and turmeric can help with inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis when used over time, but can also cause blood thinning, so discuss this with your doctor if you take blood thinners or if you’re pregnant.
Too much turmeric can upset your stomach, but the amount in this tea is unlikely to have that side effect. You should have a happier stomach thanks to the ginger, but if you do find that it bothers your stomach, don’t drink it.
How to Store
Storage: without the added honey and lemon, the tea can be kept out at (cool) room temperature for about 24 hours but it’s best to refrigerate, especially after adding those. Keep in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three days and gently reheat if desired.
Make Again: the same spices can be used once or twice again for the tea, but will lose their potency over time. We usually make two batches from one set of spices and steep the second batch longer to draw out those flavours more.
- Don’t boil the honey: there are some benefits to using raw honey, so avoid cooking it along with the spices, but add it after removing the tea from the heat.
- Add lemon to taste: especially if you’re drinking a lot of it, because that lemon will start to make your teeth feel funny after a while. Use less lemon, or omit it, if you’re planning on drinking this for several days in a row.
- Use a tight-fitting lid: you don’t want to reduce the tea during cooking, so a good heavy lid without holes is ideal. It’s just going to be simmering, not boiling, but the liquid shouldn’t evaporate much if possible.
More Fresh Ginger Recipes
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Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea
- 1.5 litres water
- 12 cm piece fresh ginger roughly chopped
- 6 cm piece fresh turmeric roughly chopped
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 6 cardamom pods outer shell removed
- 4 whole peppercorns
- Juice 2 lemons about 6 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon honey*
- Add the water to a pot. Add the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, and peppercorns. Bring this to a low boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to an hour.1.5 litres water, 12 cm piece fresh ginger, 6 cm piece fresh turmeric, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 cardamom pods, 4 whole peppercorns
- Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and honey or the apple juice, depending on your preference. Serve hot. You can drink this continuously throughout the day, but one cup every day will help reduce bloating and inflammation.Juice 2 lemons, 1 tablespoon honey*
- The tea is best served hot but you can also drink it cold. It will keep on the stove without the additions (lemon or apple juice) for a couple of days. You can keep adding water to the same spices and repeat the process a couple of times, as long as they stay covered with water in between cooking.
* For American cup measurements, please click the pink link text above the ingredient list that says ‘American’.
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. If this information is important to you, please have it verified independently.
This post was first published in January 2017. It has been updated with minor changes to the recipe as of January 2023.