Got the sniffles? A sore throat? Try oregano-garlic tea
Your throat itches. Your nose drips. Are you doomed to suffer a cold? No. I’ve stopped many a cold in its tracks with this easy recipe for oregano tea. Oregano? Yes! Research now shows oregano has essential… antibacterial and anti-fungal agents. In our Kodiak, Alaska garden, I grow lots of oregano. I didn’t use to.
When I harvest mega-crops like potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes, I never consider oregano as a staple. It’s easy to overlook little plants like parsley, sage, and other herbs. Besides, herbs don’t fill pantries and bellies as fast as fruits and vegetables do. But I’m learning that some have a power-punch that most veggies can only dream of. Like oregano…
What, cows have gas?
No longer confined to jars in the spice cabinet, oregano is a powerhouse of an herb. Want to learn something funny? Here is something you can share at your next coffee shop meeting: Oregano is also being tested for its ability to reduce the methane production (hmm, I think that’s called farting) in cows, which emit about 100 kg of the greenhouse gas per year per cow.
How the pizza herb came to be
Oregano leaves are used in cuisines of the Mediterranean, the Philippines, and Latin America. In Greece, it adds flavor to the classic Greek salads (yum!) as well as their famous lemon-olive oil sauce that marries fish dishes. In southern Italy, oregano (a member of the mint family) is used extensively with roasted, fried, or grilled vegetables, meat, and fish.
Get this: Oregano’s popularity in the U.S. is said to have been sparked when soldiers, returning home from WWII, brought back a taste for the ‘pizza herb.’
On our front deck in Kodiak, Alaska which overlooks the ocean, oregano shares a large container with sage and parsley, the three herbs that I use to enhance my favorite recipe for baking potatoes. You’ll love the taste and beauty of this recipe, called Stained Glass Potatoes. I sprinkle the chopped herbs on a baking pan that’s been coated with olive oil, toss on a few calendula blossoms and then set halved potatoes, cut side down, on top of the herbs. After baking the spuds for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees, the herbs and flowers create beautiful patterns on the potatoes.
My Favorite Tea for Colds
Fresh sprigs of oregano also flavor our vinegars, soups, butters, salad dressings, muffins, yeast breads, and tea. Yes, tea for colds. When I feel the twinges of a cold coming on, I brew a batch of oregano-garlic tea. It’s my favorite cold remedy. The original recipe comes from a student who demonstrated how to make this tea as her final project in my college Organic Gardening class.
“It’s from my grandmother in Mexico. She has many stories of it stopping colds,” she said. “One time, my cousin was going to sing in a church choir. His throat hurt badly. He could barely talk. After drinking this tea all day, he could sing again!
“The tea might give you bad breath but you get used to it,” she added. “Besides, if it doesn’t cure you, it won’t hurt you either!”
I’m not selling anything here. Except for relief from suffering. Truth is, I’ve been able to substantially reduce the symptoms of a cold or stop it in its tracks by drinking this tea. The important thing is to make multiple batches and sip, sip, sip it throughout the day. I usually double or triple the batch. At first, the taste is a little odd, but I’ve grown to really like it.
So the next time you feel a sore throat or cold-flu coming on, give this tea a try.
2 cups water
A few slices red onion
4 to 6 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup chopped fresh oregano or 2 Tbl dried
4 to 6 slices fresh ginger
2 Tbl lemon juice
2 tsp honey or other sweeteners
Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
Pinch of turmeric powder
Directions: Place water, onion, garlic, oregano, and ginger in a non-reactive saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and steep for 15-20 minutes. It will turn a nice pink-blush color. Remove from heat and stir in lemon and sweetener. Pour into a mug and take small sips; inhale the steam, too.
Let me know what you think about the tea.
To your health! Cheers,
Marion Owen lives in Kodiak, Alaska. She is a professional photographer who taught classes through the University of Alaska for 15 years and continues to teach workshops. Her images hang in The Smithsonian and, since the 1980s, have been showcased in Readers Digest, National Geographic Traveler, and The Nature Conservancy, and Patagonia to name a few.