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Immune-Boosting Tea (with a Bite): Ginger, Lemon, Honey, and Cayenne Pepper

This is for those of you who like the idea of catching a buzz in your morning tea.

(Well, probably not the type you are thinking, but still.)

Immune-Boosting Tea (with a Kick)


When I was pregnant with Penelope I gave up much of my herbal teas, since many of them contained ingredients that could be harmful for pregnant women. I tried to find ones I liked that were deemed “safe” but pretty much got a headache reading about it all, so I made things simple: I drank hot water, with lemon and honey. I wound up liking this basic combo so much that I stuck with it and, in the midst of cold season, added a few more ingredients which resulted in a yummy, spicy, immunity-boosting concoction that I now drink on a daily basis.

If you like a bit of ‘zing’ or ‘bite’ to your tea, you’ll especially love this recipe.

The ingredients are as follows:

  • 1/2 inch piece fresh grated ginger
  • 1 standard-size mug filled with boiling hot water
  • squeeze of fresh lemon
  • 1 tbsp local honey
  • dash of cayenne pepper

I’m no doctor but I can tell you that these ingredients have been known for many years to contain healing properties and help strengthen the immune system, and with cold season upon us, I’ll bite. Here is the break-down of the benefits of these ingredients:

CAYENNE PEPPER is said to contain healing properties and has been used for many years to boost immunity, fight off colds, and detoxify the body.

LEMON and GINGER have been known to work together to promote digestion and circulation, also helping detox the body. You’ll also get a nice boost of Vitamin C with your lemon. HONEY is said to help soothe a scratchy throat and relieve cough symptoms.

STEP 1: Grate your ginger. (It has to be fresh, not powdered). I have one of these little strainers that fits right into the top of an average-size teacup, and grate the ginger right into it. (You don’t want to grate it directly into your cup unless you like ginger bits floating around in your tea.)


Step 2: Boil your water, and pour it right over the ginger. Allow this to steep for 3 minutes.


Step 3: Cut a lemon in half, and squeeze a half into your cup. Let the strainer catch any seeds.

Step 4: Remove the strainer, and stir in the honey.

Step 5: Sprinkle a dusting of cayenne pepper – just about enough to create a thin layer at the surface of your tea.

Stir it all up, and enjoy your immunity-boosting tea with a kick!

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I’ve had this combo minus the Cayanne pepper….and it’s awesome. I never thought to get a little strainer like that though. Gotta get one!

But I have had cayanne pepper in a glass of water before when I was starting to feel sick and I honestly now that the last two times my meter was down the pepper water made me feel better right away. I heard it’s no good for people with high blood pressure though, not sure…but old folk beware 🙂

Thanks for that tip, I didn’t know that about the cayenne!!

Hi Ali,
We do this drink too though I haven’t seen your method! We just throw everything into the mug and pour in the hot water. Hmm… Maybe we should make these adjustments!
Enjoying the conversation you’re moderating on the porch today 🙂

Thanks Lori!! I loved being there today. About the lemon, I had *heard* it helps to wait until the tea is just a bit cooler before adding it to get maximum benefits vs. putting it right into the hot hot water. I say *heard*, because who really knows if that’s true! But that’s why I add it later

I wonder if you could substitute turmeric for the cayenne pepper as well?

[…] I like good herbal teas, but on the day-to-day when I’m home, I make my own concoction. It’s simple, cheap, and has immune-boosting properties. You can find the recipe here. […]

I want to try this but don’t know how much water you used. Did l miss something in the recipe? Thanks

Just an average-size mug! 12 oz? 16 oz? Just boil enough water like you’re making a cup of tea. The strainer I have fits right over the top of it. So I grate the ginger into the strainer and pour the hot water right over it, directly into the mug. I hope that helps! (And thanks – I just edited the recipe to include that note!)

Love your post. I make ‘Hot Honey with ginger, lemon zest and juice, cayenne or piquin pepper (depending on what I have on hand) and local raw honey. I make a new batch each time I open a jar. Anyway, it is immune boosting. My mom takes a spoonful a day and never goes to a doctor or needs to. And it tastes so good. What a combo, huh? Thanks for sharing!

Thank you! I agree – it tastes AMAZING. I like a little ‘kick’ in my tea!

Hi Alessandra! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I was surprised to learn about healing properties of cayenne pepper.


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