ginger, cinnamon and cloves in water

Doctor Mama’s 5 Minute Cure for the Common Cold

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Everyone in my house has been sick for the past week. Whether it’s all the pollen in the air or the huge springtime temperature swings we get here in LA, not even my 4 month old has been spared a runny nose. For whatever reason, I also cannot take any over the counter cold remedies because they make me dizzy, and I can’t be dizzy when I’m trying to take care of a rambunctious pre-schooler and newborn baby.

So what’s a doctor mama to do? Whip up a 5-minute remedy from ingredients lying around my kitchen.

black mug of tea with lemon slice
I swear even the steam is a decongestant

There’s no Cure for the Common Cold

Image by LOLOGO from Pixabay

I know that. Even though I know that the viruses that make us feel lethargic and sneezy and drippy cannot be cured, it doesn’t mean that there are not things you can do to help yourself feel better. Here are my usual tips:

  • Shower before bed. The steam helps loosen up all the postnasal drip so you get a bit more sleep.
  • Eat lots of citrus fruit. Vitamin C helps decrease the length of colds by a day or two.
  • Green tea. Full of antioxidants.
  • Nasal saline spray. This again helps keep your nasal passages and sinuses nice and clear. You don’t want your sinuses to get blocked or you can develop a secondary bacterial sinus infection. This is also good for little kids–if everything drains out of their nose they may be less likely to get ear infections (your nose, sinuses, back of throat and inner ears are all connected).
  • Humidifier at night. Again, steam and moisture help to keep everything running smoothly. If your nasal passages are moist, you are also less likely to get nosebleeds.

Why is this drink a cure for the common cold?

About an inch of fresh ginger

First of all, ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. It helps provide some immune support. You also need lots of water when you are ill, as your body runs on water. The lemon is an excellent source of citrus and vitamin C. Honey is another natural anti-inflammatory and anti-tussive (it stops you from coughing), but interestingly it also has antibiotic properties to help you fight infections. Do NOT give honey to infants less than one year old due to a potential risk of botulism.

The cinnamon and cloves are just there for taste.

And if you’re not sick? It really is a tasty beverage.

ginger, cinnamon and cloves in water

Dr. Mama’s Ginger Lemon Tea

Quick, easy and cures what ails you. The only thing I would recommend is definitely trying to get fresh ginger–the dried stuff makes an odd tea that tastes grainy.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Drinks
Keyword: ginger tea, healthy beverage
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 inch fresh ginger sliced or grated (you don’t need to peel it)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 lemon sliced
  • honey to taste


  • Bring the water in the saucepan to a boil over high heat.
  • Add the ginger and spices, but not the lemon. Turn off the heat.
  • Let steep for about 5-10 minutes (it’s fine if you forget about it and let it sit longer–the taste will be stronger).
  • Using a mesh strainer, strain the tea into a serving container (I like Mason jars). Discard the used spices. 
  • Add a slice of lemon and squidge of honey to a mug. Pour the hot tea over it and enjoy!


This is delicious hot or iced. When I’m sick, I do prefer it hot, but as a refreshing ginger tea, it’s quite nice when cold.

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