Chilli, Honey & Lemon Tea… or cure for the dreaded lurgy


Sydney is rapidly sinking in a big’ol vat of the flu. Everywhere you look people are sick and as per acceptable and encouraged practice, they are all being-strong-and-pushing-through which translates literally to coming-to-work-when-they-should-be-home-in-bed-sharing-germs-with-their-cats-instead-of-with-me.

Needless to say after weeks of public transport with strangers coughing everywhere and meetings with workmates sniffling away, I woke up the other morning with a throat like sandpaper and a stuffed up nose. Great.


Having told roughly 23 people about this drink over the past few days I figured it was easier to simply post it and direct them here. I have no idea where I came across this cure but I swear by it and don’t even mind it anymore. Even RJ – who hates the stuff – specifically requests it when he feels a cold coming on as he knows it helps!

12-07-18_ChilliTea 12-07-18_ChilliTea

Other things to do to speed up getting better – aka tips from your mother.

Eat chicken soup.

They don’t call it Jewish Penicillin for nothing. This magical liquor has been proven to reduce the duration of colds. Something to do with the fat, or the enzymes or the steam – believe it if you wish, don’t if you don’t. You can of course go through the whole deal of making a roast and boiling the carcass for stock and making soup but for a quick fix try this instead:

  • Dice 2 carrots, 1-2 stalks of celery, 1 brown onion and 3 cloves of garlic.
  • Add to a medium-large saucepan with a splash of olive oil and a big pinch of dried Italian herbs.
  • Saute over medium-low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add 1 boneless, skinless [or bone in skin on, whatever] chicken breast and enough water to cover all ingredients. If you have stock powder add a spoonful of that too.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove chicken, dice or shred with two forks and return to pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Eat lots of it.

For a variation:

  • Add 2 legs or thighs – bone and skin are fine here – with the breast and simmer for closer to 30 or 40 minutes, shred or dice before serving, discarding skin and bones.
  • Add a handful of brown rice or pearl barley and saute with the veggies. Simmer 40-45 minutes until grains are tender. You may need to add more water as it gets absorbed.

Gargle with Salt Water and Camomile Tea – not together.

I have 5 kinds of salt in my house. The generic table salt [with iodine] gets used only to soak cuts and for gargling when sick. I’m not a doctor, there are as many sources that support this as those which deny that it works and I can’t be bothered to find one I like. Besides, my mom said it’s good so I’ve done it for years.

  • Add iodized salt to water that is as warm as you can stand and stir to dissolve. The mixture should taste very salty. Gargle before bed, try not to drink anything right after as it will wash away the salt. Do not drink.

The camomile tea trick I just learned the other day. Same thing re sources etc, etc but ask almost any grandmother about this one, and hey, it can’t hurt.

  • Brew a cup of tea using pure chamomile leaves. Allow to cool slightly and gargle as needed. Drink if you wish.

Do you have any natural cures you swear by… and can you send some my way? Now where are those tissues…



Chilli, Honey & Lemon Tea… or cure for the dreaded lurgy


  • 1/2 tsp dry chilli flakes
  • juice from 1/4 of a lemon
  • dessert spoon of honey
  • hot water


Stir together flakes, juice and honey in a large mug or glass. Pour over hot water and stir to dissolve honey. Let flakes steep 3-5 mins.

Strain if you wish. Drink warm. Add a bit more honey to taste if necessary.

Repeat regularly.


  • I originally made this using cayenne pepper but found that the powder sunk to the bottom of the glass and you had to stir the tea before every sip. This version came about when I was staying at a friends house and they had only flakes. I much prefer it.




  1. says

    I haven’t heard of the chamomile gargle but I will remember that one.

    Just a few weeks ago I discovered honey and cinnamon. You mix it up 4 parts honey to one part cinnamon and have a teaspoon morning and night. It’s supposed to lessen a cold and keep you from getting one if you’re well. I haven’t been sick yet so it might work!

  2. says

    I only just emailed the other half to say I could feel a sore throat coming on and then I read this post. i will be tyring the Chilli, Honey & Lemon Tea as soon as a I get home tonight.

  3. says

    Boiling hot milk with two pinches of turmeric and a spoon of natural honey. The turmeric is anti-bacterial and reduces inflammation (so it works on allergy related sore throats too).
    Boiling hot clear chicken soup poured over a tsp of grated fresh ginger and one tablet-worth of dried tulsi (Indian basil-it’s purple) and allowed to steep then squeeze half a lemon/ lime into it before drinking.
    Brandy+hot water+lemon+lime.
    Get well soon.
    Also wearing a mask on public transport helps. You can smirk at all the sick people over the top of it. They should be the ones wearing masks but what the hey. *Japan is awesome like this*

  4. says

    These are all great tips! I just do NOT understand why people go to work when they’re sick. The world won’t stand still while they get well. I love the sound of this tea. Do you ever add ginger? Love it when I’m sick.

  5. says

    I am loving your blog! We are trying so hard to eat ‘whole foods’ with low glycemic indexes (or whatever that is called). I’m now attracted to recipes that try to replace sugars, dairies, flours with better ingredients…and here you are. We just made waffles with sweet potatoes last weekend and this week was sushi rolls with quinoa (instead of white rice). I am having so much fun and we all are seeing the health benefits too! Can’t wait to try out some of your recipes!

  6. Cessie says

    I can totally vouch for this remedy!! JJ kindly let me know of this magic potion when I was home sick a few weeks ago and I lived on the stuff for three days straight – I also added fresh chopped ginger because my mum assures me ginger solves all ails! Glad you shared this one JJ! (although you’rs is much more photogenic than mine was 😉

  7. says

    Lovely combination! My grandmother used to give me hot tea with honey and lemon whenever I had a cold. I loved so much that ever since the I just have my tea with honey and lemon. It’s a great littley home remedy to fight the cold!

  8. Karen S says

    Hi there, I make a smoothie in my blender that really works for us.
    Add a small amount of water into bottom of blender, maybe half a cup.
    Throw in a couple of stalks of celery, one chopped up apple and a clove of garlic. The first time I made this I used two cloves of garlic. After a few minutes I could feel my chest warm up. Very powerful. Now I add a small clove and find that it works just as well. Take it at first signs of a cold. Enjoy!

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