Showing posts with label cold remedy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cold remedy. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Stick Tea for My Sore Throat, Cough, and (Yes!) Cognition from Cleo Coyle

Were you hit with the flu this year? A few weeks ago, it slammed into our house like an NFL linebacker. First Marc went down, and then I did (eesh). 

While we've both recovered from the worst of it (fever, chills, and upset stomachs), Marc is still battling residual blahs, and I'm plagued with a recurring cough and head congestion. That's where this wonderful tea comes in...

In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a cure for phlegmy coughs. I can testify that it works! Brewing up fresh cinnamon stick tea always gives me relief, and its spicy-sweet flavor is delicious, too. 

Yes, I know you can brew cinnamon tea from store-bought bags, but the flavor is not as powerfully good as fresh-brewed from sticks. AND there's an added benefit to brewing from sticks...

Boost Your Brain with
the Scent of Cinnamon

Fresh brewing cinnamon tea from sticks fills the house with the fragrance of cinnamon, a scent you can't get from brewing quickly in bags. And the scent of cinnamon has been linked to improving cognitive brain functions (attention span, recognition memory, response speed, and working memory).

Finally, cinnamon itself is packed with health benefits. Among other things, it's a potent antibacterial agent (great for that sore throat) and it is an anti-inflammatory partly thanks to cinnamaldehyde (a substance found in the spice). One recent study showed that cinnamon can reduce inflammation and muscle soreness.

So let's get that water on and start our tea brewing!

Cleo Coyle has a partner in
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here and here.


As always, the quality of your results depends on the quality of your ingredients. Now I've made cinnamon tea from the less expensive "Cassia" cinnamon sticks, which are the most common found in grocery stores, and I've enjoyed the results. BUT if you want a better quality tea, use the better quality "Ceylon" cinnamon sticks. See more on the differences in the recipe below...

FYI - I get my Ceylon cinnamon from, click here to see the product page. One pound or 64 three-inch sticks cost around $18.00 plus a small fee for shipping, which, for me, breaks down to less than 50 cents per stick. 

To download this recipe in
a free PDF document that you
can print, save, 
or share, click here.

Click here for free recipe PDF.

Cleo's Cinnamon Stick Tea

Makes 2 six-ounce cups of tea 


2-1/2 cups of water
*2-3 cinnamon sticks (see my note on types of cinnamon)
1 teaspoon raw, local honey (optional)
1 small orange (optional)

Directions: Place 2-1/2 cups of water into a saucepan with 2 to 3 cinnamon sticks (see my note below to help choose the amount). Bring water to a boil and turn heat down to a low boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the cinnamon sticks to continue steeping in the water for a final 10 minutes. Strain into a tea cup and enjoy!

**Note on types of cinnamon: The amount of cinnamon sticks you'll want to use for this recipe will vary, depending on the kind of cinnamon sticks you're using, as well as their freshness. Let's start with...

Cassia cinnamon (aka "Chinese cinnamon) sticks are the most common type found in grocery stores. These are hard sticks with a single layer of curl. Because of their hardness, I suggest using 3 Cassia cinnamon sticks to make this tea, rather than 2. Their time on store shelves also tends to make them less potent so that 3rd stick is usually needed to make a good cinnamon tea.

Ceylon cinnamon sticks are softer and also of higher quality and potency. You can recognize them by their many layers. Because they are primarily sold by spice merchants at a higher price point, they tend to be fresher and more powerful. AND they truly do have amazing flavor, well worth the price! I suggest using 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks for this recipe.

Cleo’s Cinnamon-Orange Tea with Honey

After straining the cinnamon stick tea into your tea cup, stir in 1 teaspoon of raw, local honey until dissolved. Grate a small amount of orange zest into the cup (I use the zest of about half a small orange) OR squeeze the juice of one orange wedge into the cup. Then garnish by placing one cinnamon stick into the cup. If you like, slice a thin round of orange and slide it onto the tea cup's rim. Serve warm and may you drink with joy!


The “zest” of a citrus fruit is the grating of its peel with absolutely none of the white pith beneath—because the white pith is bitter and you don’t want that in your recipe! The best tool for this is a microplane zester. To learn more about this handy kitchen tool or purchase it, click here or here.


Check out a sushi chef's unique
way of cutting and serving an orange...

To see a slower version of "Chef Joe's"
orange-cutting video , click here.

Eat and drink with joy!

~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of  
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guardian Angel Chicken Soup and Biscochitos for the New Year from Cleo Coyle

The science is in. Mom's chicken soup is not just for the soul. Properties in white meat chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, and onion appear to help relieve cold and flu symptoms better than over the counter medications (source: New York Times, health/science).

To quote Dr. Patty Quinlisk, medical director of the Iowa Department of Public Health: "[Researchers] looked at people who had these viral illnesses and, believe it or not, gave some of them chicken soup and didn’t give some of them chicken soup and watched which group did better. The chicken soup-eating group did better and got well faster and felt better..."

"The bottom line is," says Dr. Quinlisk, "our grandmothers were probably right and chicken soup really does work for the cold and flu.” 

As one of those hit by this year's flu epidemic, I didn't need to read the scientific research to know homemade chicken soup has healing powers. By the time I'd slurped down a single bowl of the stuff, I was feeling relief from my stuffy nose and sore throat. When my husband caught the illness (thanks to me), I felt terribly guilty and was only too happy to make him more of my soup. I swear, while working in the kitchen, I heard him cry out from the bedroom: "This is great! It's helping! It's helping!"

Curtis Sliwa, founder of
The Guardian Angels

Photo by Mahmood Al-Yousif
via Wiki Commons
So why do I call this Guardian Angel Chicken Soup? For three reasons and the first two have to do with a man named Curtis Sliwa

You may have heard of Sliwa, a New Yorker who founded the Guardian Angels organization. When Sliwa was nearly shot to death in the summer of 1992, the owner of the 2nd Avenue Deli (a legendary Jewish deli here in NYC) sent him chicken soup every day. Sliwa credits this "Jewish penicillin" for helping him recover, and he even repaid the favor by agreeing to represent the Lower East Side in a worldwide pickle eating competition (but that's another story).

The second reason has to do with Sliwa's elderly Aunt Mary, who famously simmered up chicken soup for ailing members of his Guardian Angels' organization. She would take servings of her healing soup right down to them in the subways of New York, where they patrolled. 

The final (and more personal) reason I call today's recipe Guardian Angel Chicken Soup is because of my own Aunt Mary (pictured left) who cooked up something very close to this soup for me when I was feeling poorly. My aunt was incredibly supportive through much of my life. I loved her very much and now that she's gone, I think of her as my guardian angel.

Whether you make this soup for yourself or someone you care about, I sincerely hope it brings you good feelings and good health!
~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle's
Guardian Angel
Chicken Soup
Cleo Coyle, now a CDC
statistic, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Curtis Sliwa's Aunt Mary used a fairly common method for making her chicken soup. She threw the chicken and veggies into the pot and turned up the heat for about 4 hours. I prefer my method, which is done in one hour, and is just as healthy. Just be sure to use white meat chicken. Properties in the white meat are especially helpful for cold and flu sufferers; they also have anti-cancer properties--and that's why I specify using 1/2 of a whole split chicken breast. May you eat with joy and in good health...

Makes about 2 quarts (about 6 servings)


2 quarts (8 cups) cold water

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 bay leaves

1/2 of a whole, split chicken breast,  
      bone in, skin on >>

1 medium to large yellow onion, chopped*

6 ribs of celery, chopped*

4 carrots, chopped*

2 envelopes of Goya's Sazon without Annatto (see my note**)

Finishing salt (such as French Grey or another coarse Sea Salt)

*If you prefer more precise measurements: the chopped onion should measure about 1 cup; the chopped celery 2 cups; and the chopped carrot 2 cups.

**Note: This soup will be bland without adding a mix of spices. The Goya Sazon is my favorite. If you can't find it, try a bouillon cube plus a spice blend that includes onion and garlic powders and ground black or white pepper. Certainly, add any other herbs or spices that you enjoy (e.g. cumin, paprika, thyme, rosemary).

DIRECTIONS: Pour the cold water into the pot. Throw in the smashed garlic and bay leaves. Bring the water to a brisk boil. Place the chicken into the pot, skin side down. (The meaty part of the breast should be submerged in the water.) Boil uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the meat is tender enough to come off the bone and be shredded with two forks. The water in your pot will boil down during this process. Add in 1 to 2 cups of fresh water to replace the water lost.

When the chicken is cooked enough, remove it from the pot. Add the chopped vegetables, and seasoning (Goya Sazon or a bouillon cube and your own spice mix), and boil for another 10 minutes. While veggies are cooking, remove the skin from the breast and the meat from the bone and shred the breast meat. 

When the carrots are fork-tender (10 minutes of cooking should do it), remove the bay leaves from the pot, and add the shredded chicken. If your split chicken breast was particularly large, hold back a bit of the chicken meat from the soup because you don't want to overload it. Add only enough to keep the ingredients balanced.(*Note: If you'd like to make this a chicken noodle soup, this is the point where you'd add your noodles and cook until they're soft.) Cook the soup for another 6 to 8 minutes and...

Eat in good health!

~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.

Visit my online coffeehouse here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes. 

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

As for those Biscochitos,
I'm sharing the recipe in my
New Year's newsletter... 

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting
patiently for the newsletter. The flu really set me back.
But the newsletter is now finished and sent.
I hope you enjoy it!

To sign up for my Coffeehouse Mystery newsletter,
simply send an e-mail 
to the address below
that says "Sign me up."


When you sign up, an auto-reply
will send you a link to the newsletter
and the recipe above. Enjoy! 

~ Cleo

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