Last year was a different story. We were sick ALL winter. For a family that didn't go to the doctor much in the States, we spent a lot of time in the waiting room at the pediatrician here. Blech. Not my cup of tea for multiple reasons.
Oops, I made a punny. (Sorry, that was a terrible joke on top of a terrible pun. Can you ever forgive me?)
Koreans have some unique teas that we enjoy during cold season. The first is bori cha (cha means tea). It is made of roasted barely seeds. It has a nutty, earthy flavor to it, and can be found at any market here. They even have a "baby" version, although it seems to be a marketing ploy, as it appears to be identical to the adult version.
The kids like bori cha alright, although I have to sweeten it with honey for them. I like it as is, but I've always enjoyed unsweetened tea. It is served year round in Korea, hot in the winter and cold in the summer. It claims to be good for digestion, and is supposed to break up cold congestion. I must confess that I never found it to have dramatic results, but it is a comforting drink when you're under the weather.
If "mild and comforting, nutty and earthy" sends you running for the hills, there is another tea option. Yuja cha is a honey citron tea that is also ubiquitous in Korean markets. I've never seen any other "tea" like it, though.
According to our Korean connections, yuja cha is good for preventing colds (vitamin C?) and for treating colds (citrus and honey!). Before you ask, I most certainly do eat the rind and fruit left at the bottom of the mug. You know. For extra vitamin C and stuff. (wink wink)
So whether you prefer nutty or sweet, get thee to thy local Korean market (find one in the U.S. here) and buy yourself an inexpensive soothing drink. Or if you are more of a DIY-er, try out these recipes: bori cha and yuja cha. Your body will thank you!
Do you know of other teas or remedies for colds, Korean or otherwise? Post them in the comments box. I'm always on the lookout for natural-ish remedies.
One last suggestion: The best cold remedy I know of is homemade chicken broth. You can find my recipe here. Have a healthy January!