Have you heard of a little island in the Caribbean named St. Lucia? No? Two years ago, that was my answer too!
But last March, I had the opportunity to venture 4,000 miles from home with my mom to celebrate her 60th birthday. And I fell in love. With the culture, the people, the landscape, the weather, and a certain special someone.
That certain special someone is now my boyfriend. And he won me over with this tea.
He learned how to make this tea from his parents and was taught that it’s the perfect remedy for all sorts of ailments:
- Upset stomach
The herbal brew is made from plants grown in the Caribbean. It’s made with ginger, turmeric, bay leaves, broad leaf thyme (Cuban oregano), and cinnamon sticks.
My version is slightly modified since I have never come across broad leaf thyme here in the United States.
Whenever I feel a cold coming on or am feeling under the weather, my boyfriend tells me to “drink some tea.” It’s what he grew up on. Not Dayquil or Theraflu like most of us kids in the United States.
Herbal medicine is still alive and well in St. Lucia. It’s inexpensive and in my experience, it works!
Let’s take a look at what these herbs and spices are thought to help.
I have written extensively about the health benefits of ginger in other posts on my website: Fresh Lemon Ginger Tea, Ginger Berry Smoothie.
I have written more on the health benefits of turmeric in my Lemon Ginger Turmeric Juice post.
Cinnamon adds a lovely sweetness to this recipe. I find that I don’t need to add any sweetener to this tea and really love it.
And it doesn’t hurt that cinnamon can help with:
- Balancing blood sugar
- Reducing “bad” cholesterol
- Killing harmful microbes
Learn more about the health benefits of cinnamon in my post on Simple Antimicrobial Pho.
I had no idea that bay leaves could be used for anything other than making soup or broth until I visited St. Lucia.
The fresh bay leaves that grow there are extremely fragrant and wonderful. But you can use any bay leaves for this recipe.
There is limited research on the health benefits of bay leaves, but one study shows that they may help support a healthy blood sugar response .
One day when I felt a cold coming on, I was really craving this medicinal tea, but I had not made it before. I told my boyfriend about my symptoms and he replied that I should “make tea.” He was referring to the Lucian brew.
But I didn’t think it was possible to make in the US since I had never seen one of the ingredients (broad leaf thyme) here. So I decided to get creative and ended up using lemon balm instead.
Lemon balm is known for its stress-relieving properties and for being very supportive to the nervous system .
P.S. In case you’re wondering, the beginnings of the cold never progressed to anything! I thank this tea.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp dried lemon balm (or 1 leaf of fresh broadleaf thyme aka Cuban oregano if it is available to you)*
- ~2 inch piece fresh turmeric, peeled & sliced (optional)
- ~3 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & sliced
- 8 cups water
- Add all ingredients to a large pot and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 30 minutes (or longer for a more potent brew). Let cool slightly before handling.
- When ready to serve, pour tea through a fine mesh strainer into a mug. Enjoy hot or cold. I enjoy this tea without any sweetener or milk, but you are welcome to add these if you prefer.
- Store tea in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Alternatively, leave the pot on the stove top for up to 3 days (without straining out solids) and reboil before serving.
If you try this recipe, I would love to hear what you think! Leave a rating below or tag me on instagram (@sibowithhope).
 Khan I, Shah S, Ahmad J, Abdullah A, Johnson SK. Effect of Incorporating Bay Leaves in Cookies on Postprandial Glycemia, Appetite, Palatability, and Gastrointestinal Well-Being. J Am Coll Nutr. 2017;36(7):514-519.
 Scholey A, Gibbs A, Neale C, et al. Anti-stress effects of lemon balm-containing foods. Nutrients. 2014;6(11):4805-21.
Jean Nick says
FYI: The bay leaf of the Caribbean is from a completely different plant than the bay leaf found in your supermarket spice section.
Thanks for sharing that, Jean! I prefer St Lucian bay leaves in this tea, but both are tasty =)