Anti-viral ginger drink: BAM! to the bad bugs!

We’ve had our share of colds and flus already this fall, and it’s only (oiy) the first of December! As I type this, Amalia has caught the awful respiratory bug that put Timothy in the hospital (it appears to be the same one, at least) earlier this month with pneumonia. And I’ve got a sore throat and feel like going back to bed, myself. Blah.

Threats to your good health–in the form of viruses, bad bacteria, and the like–are everywhere this time of year. Kids from college travel home and then return to school, carrying with them bugs from home. They all get run down, and then they share their colds and flus with each other. Daycare centers are full of kiddos with the sniffles and worse. You’re out more, shopping and schlepping and getting ready for Christmas. What’s on the handles of those grocery carts? You don’t really want to know, do you?

You do the traditional stuff, of course, to stay healthy–you wash your hands often, you use antibacterial stuff at every turn, get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, exercise, and so on–but this time of year you need extra help fighting off the bad bugs.

Basically, you don’t want to be a sitting duck to all the bad bugs being forced on you.

It’s time, Gentle Reader, to get serious about stopping some of these viruses in their tracks. Every year I study the best ways to keep all the nasty bugs away, but so far I haven’t found a magic pill to just annihilate the heck out of them.


My research this year, though, just keeps pinging back to fresh ginger root. Did you know that fresh ginger can stop viruses? Here’s a report from the NIH that documents this fact: “Fresh, but not dried, ginger is effective against HRSV-induced plaque formation on airway epithelium by blocking viral attachment and internalization.”

In other words: Fresh ginger can stop this particular respiratory virus (the HRSV, or the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus) so it can’t attach to your airways and make you sick. This is good news, isn’t it? Respiratory viruses are bad news, baby.

Also, other research on ginger has determined that fresh ginger contains upwards of 477 different elements, including many polyphenols and flavonoids that have shown anti-viral properties. Many of these are heat sensitive, however.

So, ginger can stop the HRSV, but it must be eaten (or drunk) in its fresh–not dried–state, and not cooked.

There’s the tricky bit, since I adore ginger but usually eat it in stir-fries or soups or of course the marvelously delicious candied ginger that I love to make. And eat. In intemperate quantities, by the way. (Also, candied ginger is terrific chopped and added to muffins, sweet breads, homemade granola, and pretty much anything. Also good squirreled away in a little baggy and carried in the car, as a hedge against car sickness.)

Here it is. Oh help me. My mouth is watering.

Here it is. Oh help me. My mouth is watering.

But back to our anti-viral drink.

Chris Kresser, a prolific health writer, published an intriguing recipe for an anti-viral ginger drink, made out of fresh ginger, that I have made and am drinking every day. I have high hopes for avoiding all the nastiness that is swirling around me. I’ve got my kiddos drinking it, too. This is what Chris Kresser says about it:

“If you drink the concoction . . . at the first signs of sickness, you can often fight it off successfully. But—and this is a big “but”—you have to drink it at or near the strength I suggest, or it won’t be effective. Some people find this difficult to do, because ginger is so intense, but if you can handle it your immune system will thank you.”

Here's the fresh ginger juice, in the jar, ready for the 'refrig. Yes. It looks a bit scary, but it's good stuff.

Here’s the fresh ginger juice, in the jar, ready for the ‘refrig. Yes. It looks a bit scary, but it’s good stuff.

It’s possible to make this juice without a juicer, but it’ll take you a lot longer. I know this from experience. A good juicer costs less than $100.00, so I consider it a pretty good investment, especially if someone in your family is susceptible to colds and flus. If you buy one, you’ll use it for lots more than this anti-viral ginger drink, too. I’m sure of it.

Guess what? I don’t have a juicer. I know–unbelievable, isn’t it? I’m definitely the type of person who should have at least one juicer, don’t you think? And two chest freezers. Right? 🙂 I use my blender and my food processor, or my simple citrus juicer when I need some juicing done, but I’d love a good juicer. (Psssst: it’s on my Christmas wish list!) This one below is a bit pricey, but a lot cheaper than a stay in the hospital or even a couple of high-priced prescriptions! (All this, I know–from painful first-hand experience.) 🙁

Just click on this dandy little picture to learn more about this one!

But even if you don’t own a dandy juicer like the one above*, don’t let it stop you from making this juice and trying it out! It’s definitely worth a try to keep the respiratory (and others!) viruses that are so prevalent, at bay this germ-ridden season!

I added a couple things to Chris’s recipe, as is my wont. Turmeric, for the record, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, and heck, it’s an awesome color, too, so I added it to my own recipe. 🙂


Here it is. After drinking it for a couple of days, I'm actually developing a perverse liking for it.

Here it is. After drinking it for a couple of days, I’m actually developing a perverse liking for it. And: so far–although everybody and their dog around me has the flu–I don’t have it. So there. (I’m considering it feeding it to the kids intravenously.)

But time’s a’wastin’. You’d better go buy some ginger root, and make this, STAT! Here’s the recipe:

Anti-viral ginger drink POW!
Author: Adapted from Chris Kressler’s recipe, by Amy from
Prep time:
Total time:
Serves: variable
A simple fresh ginger root drink that will fight viruses, especially the respiratory virus HRSV.
  • 2 pounds fresh ginger root
  • several fresh lemons
  • cayenne pepper
  • turmeric
  • salt
  • raw honey, 1 Tablespoon per drink
  1. Juice (or grate, if you don’t have a juicer yet, either) 2 pounds of fresh ginger root.
  2. Pour juice into a jar, cover, and refrigerate.
  3. Place 1 to 2 Tablespoons of this ginger juice into a mug, add 3/4 cup hot water, juice of 1/2 lemon (good thing you’ve got a juicer, huh?) 1 Tablespoon honey (raw honey is also anti-viral) 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric, and a pinch of salt.
  4. Drink 2 to 6 cups of this drink daily, at the first hint of a cold or flu. OR if anybody around you has the first hints of a cold or flu. OR if you just want to hedge your bets. OR if it’s December and you want to stay healthy through Christmastime, for a change. 🙂 OR if you develop a taste for it, as have I. We can belong to the same club. 🙂

I assure you, it’s not bad! Especially if you like the taste of ginger, as I do. Now I’m going to go make myself a cup and put my feet up and read a Christmas book to little Mack . . . my throat feels a bit scratchy . . .

By the way . . . do you have a Christmas Advent tradition? Here’s a fun one we are doing this year: A Christmas Book Countdown! Join us!

Click here for more references on anti-viral properties of ginger!

* By the way . . . on the non-juicer-having front: I ran my ginger root through my food processor, and then dumped it all into a colander with a bowl underneath, and pressed and pressed  . . . and that’s how I got the juice out. It worked well, but of course not as easy as using a juicer. But it can be done.

Now–bottom’s up!

I’m linking up this week with two fun link-up parties: Kelly the Kitchen Kop does an awesome “Real Food Wednesdays” and also New Life on a Homestead’s Barn Hop.  If you have a bit of time to hang around on the web learning awesome new things, do join me, won’t you? 🙂


23 thoughts on “Anti-viral ginger drink: BAM! to the bad bugs!

  1. Janice Wald

    #ultra blog I think it’s great you have a health blog. People need health tips. What part of the country are you in? I always recommend Echinacea. As a teacher it’s really helped me combat students’ germs.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Of COURSE garlic is a great addition. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to get my kiddos to drink it with garlic, but I’ll try anything to keep healthy.

  2. Barbara

    I didn’t know all this about ginger 🙂 We’ve got one cold going on in our house right now and I pray it doesn’t spread. I like the idea of adding garlic to the drink. 🙂

    To your health,

    P.S. Hope you get that juicer for Christmas!

  3. Chef William Chaney

    I believe that Penny has the drink nailed down. If you add the garlic to your recipe you are really going to help your overall health. I drink as much ginger as I can,and Turmeric is a must in my diet. I will add this drink to my list of drinks for the winter. Perhaps over ice when the warmer weather returns.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Hmmm. I love the idea of a clove of smashed garlic in that drink but that takes me to an unpleasant episode in my childhood, involving my conscientious Grandma, trying to get me to drink hot garlic tea. Maybe with enough honey . . . ? I’ll try it. . .

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Lisa, I love it too! I drank it several times a day when I felt like I was getting the flu, and somehow avoided it entirely! I added a crushed garlic clove for a few times, but that is a little intense! *phieew!* Glad you like it!

  4. Pingback: December Fourth - Second Breakfast

  5. Kathleen

    Basil, Thyme, Oregano are ALL antiviral.

    I believe Sage is both antiviral and anti inflammatory
    I breath in sage essential oil 20x in each nostril when
    my sinuses start getting inflamed. *Important: don’t ingest essential oils
    They are super concentrated. Safest is to use the herbs for teas, oils for breathing when you feel you need it to help inflammation in your nose, or to help incapacitate a virus that has gotten in through the nose.

    Not only ginger, but ALSO thyme, basil, oregano can be used to make a tea, which if you drink a cup of it (1 tbsp per 8oz -10 oz cup steeped 2-10 minutes, the longer the better) will get rid of a viral infection.

    Last year my husband kept coming home with viruses, seems like as soon as we got rid of one, another popped up.. and I picked one or two up while shopping. One time a little kid with a snotty nose touched my hand.. and I was in the middle of my shopping! Thankfully I did have a spray bottle of antiviral spray I make myself from water, basil oil, and lavender oil with a bit of vanilla thrown in to help the scent) and sprayed that on my hands immediately.

    But a total of EIGHT times last winter, viruses tried to invade us. We helped stave off most of them for my husband, but he struggled with his chest feeling heavy for months (it’s really hard for me to get him to drink the tea regularly). Between prayer on his behalf, combined with the times I was able to get him to drink the tea, we got through the winter without him having to be hospitalized. I had a total of one day with sniffles and slightly runny nose for a few minutes.. a day or two where a slightly scratchy feeling in my throat popped up.. one day with a slight headache.. all of which were pushed back with the tea.

    I drink 3-4 cups a day at the slightest sign of a virus/cold, and also add fresh ginger to the tea when I can. This has been a life saver!

    Oregano makes a strong bitter tasting tea.. which I am fine with if I have run out of thyme.. but generally I use the thyme. You can also add things like Cardamom seed, cinnamon, ginger, a small amount of anise (don’t overdo it, as too much is bad for you, but anise is good for helping in clearing lungs) and allspice to make the tea taste better.

    I buy empty tea bags online, and a pound of thyme as it’s cheaper online in bulk than getting it in the grocery store, and add the spices and herbs to the small tea bags. You can fit about a tbsp or close to it in the bag, with some additional spices and it works very well.

    I hope this helps. You don’t need the ginger to be super strong if you use one of these herbs in combination with it. A bit of sage should also help with inflammation in the lungs

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      How did I miss this comment? Thank you, thank you! Now I have another reason to raise a LOT of herbs next summer!! I’m going to order some supplies and make myself some anti-viral tea this month. Thank you again!!

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