Witches Brew

Garlic chilli and ginger

Whenever I feel like an immune boost this is my go to recipe. When I was studying Acupuncture a good friend told me about ‘Witches Brew’. I made it and was amazed how much better I felt the next day. If I’m ever feeling achy, have a sore throat or feel like I’m fighting off a cough or cold, this always picks me up.

All of the ingredients work together to tonify and strengthen your immune system and are well known for their powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

What you may not know is that this drink also has wonderful properties in Chinese medicine. Chinese food energetics are used to restore and maintain health. The flavours, temperatures and methods of cooking are all factors in Chinese food energetics.

For example there 5 flavours: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Pungent and Sour. Foods flavours have different actions on the body and can affect your health. These flavours complement each other in different ways.

Looking at the ingredients in Witches Brew we can begin to understand why this has such a powerful effect on restoring health.

Ginger, chilli and garlic are all heating and Pungent so have the actions of moving Blood and Qi. They also have the properties of counteracting cold, resolving phlegm and reducing wind-cold-damp (regarded as pathogens in Chinese medicine often associated with colds and the flu!).

The lemon juice is important as this provides Sour flavour and also has beneficial properties. It promotes Qi and Blood circulation and it also removes toxins and resolves phlegm.

Finally we add Honey, this has a Sweet flavour. Often used in recipes in Chinese medicine to promote blood circulation and remove toxins.

So, knowing how all of these ingredients work in the body, it is no wonder that Witches Brew works so well at shaking off any cold or cough and helps to boost your immune system.

Here is how to make Witches Brew. . . .


  • Ginger – 1 inch of fresh ginger, skin scraped away and finely chopped
  • Chilli – 1 small red chilli, deseeded and cut into little pieces
  • Garlic – 1 medium clove of garlic thinly sliced
  • Honey – 1 teaspoon of good quality honey
  • Lemon Juice – juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 litre water


  1. In a pan with a lid add 500ml water
  2. Add the ginger, chilli and garlic
  3. Bring the pan to the boil and turn down to simmer
  4. Decoct the mixture for at LEAST 20 minutes. This is important and necessary the draw all of the active ingredients into the mixture
  5. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice to the pan
  6. Pour out enough to fill one mug, add the honey and stir until dissolved (keep the rest of the mixture to warm up again later).

Optional – I always eat the bits of chilli, garlic and ginger that are in the mug. This does make the brew very strong so beware!

For more information on Chinese Food Energetics Daverick Leggett has a wonderful book with clear explanations. I have a copy in clinic so have a look next time you are in.

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