The tea that I spent too much money on every flu season at college is really just a bunch of bark and roots and peels. Buy the elements in bulk—smile gleefully at their names—then mix them together. But at this point, do not smell. It will not smell good, or reminiscent of the sweet, velvetty syrup you got in those pre-made tea bags. Steep or simmer—20 minutes or 15 minutes, respectively, and your Throat Coat will be ready to be worn.
If your scale has trouble reading single grams, don't worry; we're not baking here. Or if you're worried, double the recipe. This stuff doesn't go bad. —Ali Slagle
licorice root (broken up into 2-centimeter pieces)
slippery elm bark
wild cherry bark
fennel seeds (or bitter fennel fruit)
cinnamon bark (broken up into 2-centimeter pieces)
bitter orange peel (or sweet orange peel)
In This Recipe
Combine all the ingredients. When you're ready to make tea, you have a two options: Bring a cup of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of tea, then simmer gently for 15 minutes. Strain, pour into a cup, sip. Or, put a tablespoon of tea in a tea pot or mug—or in a tea bag and then in a tea pot or mug—and add a cup of water. Let steep for 30 minutes before drinking. I've found that the former method is better at activating the slippery elm, which gives the tea the soothing, "slippery" feeling.