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closeup of mason jar glasses with black straws and tonics aka witches brew or winter cold prevention

Photo: Chris Curry

fresh pressed wellness

Witch’s Brew: The Lazy Girl’s Health Tonic AKA Winter Cold Prevention

Try this potent recipe to help keep ills at bay. Let me impart ye olde wisdom to you.

Written On 1/21/2022

Like, every day you read about superfood ingredients that you basically have to incorporate into your diet RIGHT NOW, or you will definitely die a slow, painful death.

It’s kind of intimidating, and it’s most definitely annoying.

Instead of choking down various supplements and painstakingly “balancing” my diet, I got the idea to incorporate a laundry list of ingredients that are fairly universally agreed upon from a benefits standpoint, then make them in a strange potion that I can sip on all week. None of the raw materials are very expensive, and it’s super easy to make a batch during a leisurely Sunday and keep the tonic in the fridge all week.

Does it taste awesome? I cannot truly tell you that it does. But because it’s so concentrated, I just add a shot to whatever water or tea I’m drinking so it’s kind of diluted and not bad at all. You get used to it, trust. The superiority you feel ingesting a daily dose of antioxidants and stuff is well worth it. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. And caliray is not a medical establishment. You’ve been warned. Cool.

TURMERIC: Curcumin is the main active ingredient, and it is a seriously badass anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. You already know we are apparently supposed to be ingesting it at all hours to reap its many benefits, but it’s not often used in Western-style foods. So.

PEPPER: It’s difficult for your bloodstream to absorb the aforementioned curcumin, but this most common kitchen spice helps increase its bioavailability. (Fancy.)

GINGER: A staple on the alternative medicine scene, ginger not only boasts antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but it has been linked to (probably thousands? again, see disclaimer *) of studies that indicate it may lower blood pressure, relieve indigestion, and even decrease menstrual cramps—which seems well worth the price of admission IMHO.

GARLIC: Any witch will tell you regularly consuming this bulbous flowering plant helps to boost immunity. I’d say we need all the help we can get these days?! It can cause heartburn in some and if the addition of garlic to this wonderful concoction really grosses you out feel free to skip it.

SAFFRON: Didn’t see this one coming right? Ancient Greeks have revered this hot little red spice for since ever due to its supposed medicinal qualities, which we now know is due to it being a crazy potent antioxidant. Studies have also linked it to improving mood and libido, meow meow.

CINNAMON: Because it’s an extra spicy spice, some experts (like this one right here) claim it can boost your metabolism. But hey, don’t take my word for it: Google it.


24 oz water

1 fresh turmeric root (about 2 inches or so; a tablespoon of the powder variety is fine if your grocery store doesn’t carry raw turmeric)

1 ginger root (same as above)

3 cloves garlic

1 teaspoon pepper

1 (small) pinch saffron threads

3 cinnamon sticks

Use a vegetable grater to remove the outer layers of the turmeric and ginger, then chop into smaller pieces. Peel the garlic and slightly crush the cloves with the heel of your knife. Throw into a pot along with the water, pepper, and cinnamon, then bring to a boil. Turn to a low simmer mode for an hour, then strain, catching the raw materials and reserving the now golden-brown liquid separately. Throw away the boiled leftovers. Transfer liquid to a glass jar or pitcher and store in fridge. Feel smug.

stay golden