Family remedies

Cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks

Cloves, star anise, and cinnamon sticks

I grew up with the old fashioned grandmother. Nanny grew her own food, raised chickens out back, wore an apron most of the day, hummed old gospel hymns over collard greens and black eyed peas, made dumplins from scratch, and frogs legs on special occasions. 

Culture is critical to one's foundation. It stays with you long after folks pass on, long after the lessons end. 

Maybe it's that I am the oldest grandchild or perhaps because I was the slowest eater ... whatever the reason, of all the things I learned from Nanny, her love of food is what stuck with me. And as I raised my own children, those family recipes brought comfort, healing and a few new twists. Seeing as it is the cold season, I wanted to share one with you.

This concoction came in handy whenever my family came down with sniffles, sore throat, upset stomachs, fever, or chills. Make large batches to hot drink throughout the day, using local and organic ingredients when possible.

3 cinnamon sticks

3 whole cloves

3 whole Chinese* star anise pods

1 piece fresh ginger root (at least 1")

2-4 quarts water

lemon (optional)

honey (optional)

Bring water to a low boil in stainless or glass pot/kettle.

Add cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and ginger root.

Turn off heat, cover, and steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain.

Serve alone or with a little raw honey and/or lemon.



  • Potential for regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, and improving memory

  • Improves circulation, lowers risk of infection, and healing to the sinuses.

  • Increases digestion

  • Excellent source of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, vitamin A, and niacin


  • Warming and soothing

  • Antispasmodic properties help to relieve coughing

  • Useful at relieving indigestion, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and vomiting

  • Helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure

  • Great source of manganese, vitamin C, potassium, selenium, calcium, fiber, vitamins A, C, B1, B6 and K

Star Anise (Illicium verum)

*CAUTION: Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) is highly poisonous!*

  • Energy building

  • Immune system strengthener

  • Relieves respiratory pain and cough

  • An important ingredient in Tamiflu

  • Good source of calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, vitamins A and C

Ginger root

  • Settles the stomach

  • Relieves nausea and vomiting

  • Promotes healthy sweating

  • GRAS to use during pregnancy

  • Good source of magnesium, B6, potassium and copper