Antimicrobial Spiced Chai Latte

ANTI-MICROBIAL SPICED CHAI LATTE
Adults

ANTI-VIRAL, ANTI-BACTERIAL, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY, IMMUNITY-BOOSTING

This spiced chai latte is what I start most mornings with and most definitely when an unwelcome cold or flu virus pays a visit! The warming spices are the perfect antidote to cooler weather and have scientifically proven benefits including antibacterialimmunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Shikimic acid which is the active ingredient of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu is actually derived from star anise! In addition, cloves contain eugenol which reduces blood clotting and can aid in the relief of a sore throat. If only all our meds tasted this good. 

Yield
2 cups 

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup milk of choice (regular, soy or almond work well)
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
8 cardamom pods gently smashed
1/2 inch long thin shaving of cinnamon bark (preferably Ceylon cinnamon)
1 clove
1 star anise
2 teaspoons black tea leaves or 2-3 English Breakfast tea bags depending on how strong you like your tea
Sweetener of choice if using (sugar, coconut palm sugar, agave nectar, honey)

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Method
In a medium sized pot, bring the water and whole spices to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer for 5 minutes. Add the milk and continue to simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add the tea leaves or tea bags, give the pot a stir and simmer for 3 minutes. For a stronger, darker brew, allow the pot to rest off the heat for another 2 minutes. Strain into your favourite cup, sweeten if you like and enjoy. 

Note
For a quick albeit less spiced version, place the whole spices in a tea pot or in a strainer placed in a large mug. Pour boiling water and tea leaves/bag and brew for 5 minutes. Add a splash of milk, sweeten if you need to and enjoy. 




Immunity Boosting Spiced Chicken Soup

It's back-to-school season which means one thing is for certain - colds! Nothing breeds the cold virus like 10 toddlers in a classroom so of course, we had our very own viral visitor this week. As a Molecular Biologist, I am reluctant to admit that I'm rather anti-medication, especially for things like colds and coughs, where they merely provide symptomatic relief and aren't deemed terribly safe for young children. So the first thing I did upon spotting a runny nose was to stick a giant pot of chicken broth on the stove. One toddler a science experiment does not make, but we are now cold-free, well nourished and even have some leftover broth frozen away for that butternut squash soup I'm planning for next week. Hurrah for food as medicine, especially when its this delicious. 

Science Corner
When a health craze makes it way backstage to fashion week, you know it's worth taking seriously (or gone too far). Touted as a magic elixir that can fix all ailments, bone broth is precisely this craze du jour. There is honestly not a lot of scientific evidence for many of it's health claims (like collagen aiding healthy joints or healing of the intestinal lining) although a plethora of anecdotal evidence across many cultures spanning generations is suggestive of many positive health effects. There is some scientific evidence for the immunity-regulating and anti-inflammatory effects of chicken soup, particularly due to the amino acid cysteine which can thin out lung mucus and reduce upper respiratory distress. Bone broth is also rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and phosphorus as well as protein. Here, it joins forces with anti-viral and anti-bacterial star aniseturmeric, ginger, lemongrass, black pepper and bay leaf to create a delicious, heart and soul-warming broth that's a powerful match for any pesky virus. 

Yield
6-8 generous soup servings

Ingredients
500 g / about 1 lb  chicken on the bone (I use drumsticks as toddler loves them)
2 leeks, white and green parts roughly chopped
2 carrots roughly chopped
1 onion roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
1 lemongrass bulb smashed
1/2 inch piece ginger chopped
1 inch piece fresh turmeric root chopped
4 black peppercorns
2 star anise
1 bay leaf
2 L water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (to help extract nutrients from the bones)
Salt to taste
Fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

Method
In a large pot for which you have a lid, place all the ingredients (except the fresh cilantro) and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam that may arise. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook the broth covered for 3-6 hours.

Strain the broth and drink as is with an optional but delicious garnish of freshly chopped cilantro. You can add the broth to your favorite soup recipe, make it a meal by adding in some cooked soba noodles and veggies or use it in any preparation that calls for stock like rice and quinoa, which are immensely flavorful cooked in broth. Store it in the fridge for 3 days or freeze it for later use.