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Soothing and Breathing

February 27, 2010

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For the past couple of weeks – seemingly forever – I’ve been sick with some sort of annoying viral thing that is probably a common cold. Aside from the general inconvenience of it all, one of the most aggravating aspects of it is the impact it has had on my tea drinking. I still have the desire to drink good tea, but the congestion in my head and chest makes it so that I can’t taste things accurately. Foods and beverages that are normally delicious don’t taste right, and don’t taste as good as they ought to. I have continued to drink tea, but I tend to drink tea and other non-tea infusions based on what kind of physiological change I want to effect, not based on what I want to taste.

Last week, in lieu of missing work and resting, I was taking NyQuil at night and DayQuil during the day in order to remain relatively functional. This is an effective strategy, but it made me feel like I was operating from inside a large blanket of lukewarm fog. And it was not a soft, comforting fog; it was more like an annoying, thick, impenetrable barrier between my brain and the world. Some people like that feeling. I don’t.

So after three days of the nullifying medicine cycle, I decided to hold off on the bright orange syrrupy narcotic for as long as I could during the day. Before I left for work that day I thought about whether I had any helpful, counteractive infusion-ready substances around the house. I had some gingko leaf, which is good for clearing brain fog, and cloves, which have analgesic properties and can help with respiration. (There weren’t as many cloves as I would have liked because most of them had been placed into little metal tins to be batted around the living room floor by one of the cats, but there were enough to be worth using.) Unfortunately, I did not have any mint at the time, which would have been my chosen third ingredient. But I took what I had with me to work and steeped them in a glass teapot for about five minutes with boiling water.

I can not, of course accurately describe that the resultant brew tasted good. With my palate as out of alignment as it was, it’s hard to say, but it did taste refreshing. More importantly, it helped make me feel better. If I remember correctly, I infused that same pot about three times, until it seemed too weak to be worth the effort to drink.

Hot liquids of just about any type are somewhat soothing during this sickness, but I must say that I’m more than ready to drink good tea and fully appreciate it again very soon!

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