Ginger Holy Basil Tonic | Ginger Tonic for Flu and Cold | Winter Tonic Recipe
All these years of blogging has repeatedly made me realize one most crucial aspect of food. That, it is a medicine. It is a cure. As well as a slow poison. Treat it right and it would make you, love you or get on its bad side and make doctor visits a ritual.  Any health based website worth their salt keep telling me that the best multivitamin/cough-cold relief/supplements is actually food instead of those shiny pills that we all consume without second thought. While I still rely on such pills on and off, I am trying to get into the food based medicine bandwagon in the last year.
Ginger Holy Basil Tonic | Ginger Tonic for Flu and Cold | Winter Tonic Recipe
While my learning curve is slow, it helps to have parents who are completely sold on this concept and rely on herbs/plants to treat their minor health setbacks. My mom is Siddha medicine certified and dabbles quite a bit about healing via food.  My youthful years were spent just like any unknowing "adult". Making fun or ignoring or utter indifference to all this "complicated" healing instead of making use of science a.k.a pills. But now being a mom myself, I have backtracked considerably with utmost humility and seek advice from her on and off. So with the advent of cold weather in my part of the world and the first cough, my mom did what she does best. Went into our garden to pick up a cure.
Ginger Holy Basil Tonic | Ginger Tonic for Flu and Cold | Winter Tonic Recipe
Tulasi (Holy Basil/ Thulasi) is a precious plant to Indians - both for religious as well as medicinal purposes. We grow two varieties in our garden named "Krishna Thulasi" and "Vishnu Thulasi". We have used the leaves of both these plants but you can use any one instead. The presence of Ginger and Peppercorns is self explanatory when spoken in the context of cold. These powerhouses come together to make this Kashayam which is a Tamil term to mean Tonic/Herbal Drink. Simple to make with minimal ingredients.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 1 Person
  • Yields: Abt 3/4 cup
  • 10-15 Tulasi (Holy Basil leaves), abt 1/4 cup lightly packed
  • 1 inch Ginger, peeled - see Tips
  • 1/2 tsp Peppercorns
  • 1-1/2 cup Water
1. Ginger: The amount of ginger will depend on how strong it is. The ones I buy is pretty strong and hence this quantity. You can adjust accordingly.
1. Wash the tulasi leaves (Holy Basil) well. Set aside.
2. Grind the Ginger into a paste. I chose to grind it coarsely using my mortar and pestle.
3. Alternatively heat a pan and dry roast the pepper until aromatic. It will splutter.  Switch off flame and set aside.
4. Heat a saucepan with water and add the ginger to it.
5. Now take the washed basil along with the roasted pepper
6. and grind it into a coarse paste. You can do this in your blender as well.
7. Add this paste to the water and
8. close it with a lid.
9. Boil it until it reduces to about 3/4 cup.
10. Switch off the flame and let it cool.
11. Strain it before serving.
Enjoy it warm. A natural remedy for the sniffling noses and itchy throat.
Ginger Holy Basil Tonic | Ginger Tonic for Flu and Cold | Winter Tonic Recipe

Recipe Reference

Mom's Kitchen Notes

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By Ramya Kiran on Aug 3, 2017

Can i use the same recipe on my toddler who is just over 2 years? I dont have tulsi but can i use the normal basil leaves that i get at the super markets?

By Gayathri Garga on Sep 13, 2016

It was soo soothing and great on my sons throat! one question here! can u make it and keep in a flask and keep sipping it through out the day?

My mom insists that this kashayam should be given once a week for children. Ginger and Tulasi tend to increase body heat and hence is not advisable to be taken through out the day. Best prepared fresh and taken 1-2 times depending on how severe the cold is. --DK

By Anuradha on Oct 20, 2015

Tulasi is holy tree of the Lord Vishnu. It's Goddess and all of parts of her body are sacred. In shastra it is said that Only Vishnu can enjoy Tulasi. Why people make remedies from her?

By Meena on Oct 13, 2015

I love this vessel.What is it made of and where is it from?

By Sangeeta on Oct 8, 2015

Thanks for sharing. It would be great if more such natural remedies are shared on this forum

By Gayatri on Oct 8, 2015

Hi DK.. Thank you very much for such a helpful post. It would be great if you can create a separate section for home remedies so that they are easy to find especially when needed! Thanks!

Thank you Gayatri. Will def. try to get more of these --DK

By Sowmya on Oct 6, 2015

that is so healthy and perfect for cold, nausea sickness... nice post!!!