Whether you’re hosting a dinner party and want to impress your guests with a unique and savory refreshment, or you simply want to incorporate healthy healing beverages into your families routine, these recipes are sure to please.  While taste buds are dancing, the body will rejoice in the medicinal properties of delicious and nutrient dense libations to share.  No matter the palate, this selection of non-alcoholic beverages has something for everyone to enjoy!

Saffron and Lemon Cooler

Incorporating the subtle flavor of saffron, the aromatic freshness of cardamom, and the sweet tang of lemon juice, this drink is a real crowd-pleaser.

Healing Properties:  Saffron, also called the sunshine spice, is an antidepressant and combats symptoms of PMS in women.  A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that saffron was just as effective as Prozac in treating mild to moderate depression.  Another study in the Journal of Integrative Medicine found that saffron improved symptoms of major depressive disorder.  The International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology published a study that found 15 mg of saffron twice daily is an effective treatment for PMS.  The sunshine herb is also good for your heart by lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.  Memory need a boost?  Saffron’s chemical constituents crocin and crocetin have been proven to aid in learning and memory.  Research has shown promising results in saffron’s ability to potentially treat and prevent cancer.  That’s not surprising considering it’s high in antioxidants and flavonoids which have protective properties within the body.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

What you’ll need:

8 strands pure saffron thread

4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

6 tablespoons raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom seeds

4 1/2 cups iced water

1/4 teaspoon salt

Crushed ice

Let’s get started!

  1. Grind the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle until pulverized.  Alternatively, mix with a few drops of warm water and pulverize with a spoon.
  2. Transfer the saffron powder or saffron water to a large bowl and add the lemon juice, sugar, powdered cardamom seeds, water and salt.  Serve over crushed ice in chilled glasses.

Lemon Barley Water

Barley water is historically known as a famous tonic that’s both satisfying and soothing.

Healing Properties: Barley is soothing to the stomach and kidneys alike.  It is high in fiber making it great for the digestive system.  The high soluble fiber content aids in constipation prevention, regulating bowel movements, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.  It helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, and it balances gut bacteria.  It decreases potentially harmful bacteroides and increases beneficial bacteria in the gut.  Barley is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamins B and E, copper, zinc, magnesium and folate.  It is also high in calcium, which is great for bone support.  Last but certainly not least, barley aids in weight loss by promoting the release of hormones that control appetite and may boost metabolism.  It makes you feel full and satisfied, decreasing your desire to eat more.

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Soaking Time: 1 hour

Yield: About 12 glasses

All natural ingredients:

1/4 cup pearl barley

6 3/4 cups water

8 lemons

3/4 cup raw sugar

3 easy steps with 4 natural ingredients:

  1. Wash the barley in several changes of water. Drain and place into a saucepan with 4 1/2 cups of water.  Use a citrus peeler to peel very thin rinds off the lemons and add them to the barley water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Juice the lemons and place the juice in a large bowl.  Add the sugar and the barley mixture, stir well, and add the remaining 2 1/4 cups of water.  Let mixture soak for 1 hour.
  3. Strain the mixture into a large jug and chill.  To serve, pour into chilled glasses half filled with ice, garnish with a slice of lemon.

Anise Flavored Fruit-and-Nut Shake – Thandhai

Thandhai is well known throughout India and is generally taken either in the morning or late afternoon.

Healing Properties:  Anise has a flavor similar to licorice and has many medicinal qualities.  It is cooling to the body and relieves upset stomach, nausea, bloating, constipation and gas, making it a great after dinner drink to aid in digestion.  Anise is also known to alleviate menstrual discomfort and increases sex drive in women, while combating symptoms of andropause, or male menopause, in men. Anise can be used as a diuretic, or an expectorant to increase productive cough thanks to the active constituents thymol, terpineol and anethole, and can even stimulate the appetite.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Yield: About one liter

All you need is:

10 whole green cardamom pods

15 whole black peppercorns

5 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1/2 cup white poppy seeds

6 teaspoons broken raw cashew nuts

16 blanched raw almonds

16 raisins

2 1/2 cups chilled water

1 teaspoon rosewater

5 tablespoons raw sugar

1 1/2 cups almond milk

Next steps:

  1. Grind the cardamom pods, peppercorns and fennel seeds to a fine powder in a coffee mill.  Set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Grind the poppy seeds in a coffee mill and add to the bowl.
  3. Grind the cashews, almonds, and raisins to a fin paste in a food processor or blender with the aid of a little water if needed.
  4. Add the bowl of ground spices and 1/2 cup of the water and blend for 3 or 4 minutes until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Add the remaining water and blend for an additional 2 minutes.
  5. Place a sieve in a bowl and line the sieve with two or three layers of cheesecloth.  Pour the contents of the blender through the sieve, gathering the corners of the cheesecloth and squeezing all the liquid into the bowl.  To this liquid, add the sugar, rosewater, and almond mild.  Mix well and chill.  Serve in chilled glasses.

Strawberry Raspberry Rhubarb Punch

Strawberries, raspberries, fresh rhubarb, and ginger combine wonderfully in this delicious party punch.

Healing Properties: While rhubarb isn’t an extremely nutrient rich food, it is high in Vitamin K and fiber.  One study found that participants who ate 27 grams of rhubarb stalk fiber daily for one month lowered their circulating cholesterol by 8% and their LDL or bad cholesterol levels by 9%.   A 3.5 ounce serving of rhubarb has 26% of the RDI for Vitamin K, which isn’t talked about much, and takes a back seat to it’s more famous counterparts like Vitamins D, C and B.  This underdog has some surprising health benefits, other than its widely know function of assisting with the blood clotting process.  A 2014 study on Vitamin K that followed more than 7,000 participants with high risk of heart disease found that those who consumed the highest levels of Vitamin K were 36% less likely to die from any cause at all, compared to those with the lowest intake levels.  Studies have also shown sufficient Vitamin K intake causes a 51% risk reduction in developing type II diabetes and a 46% risk reduction for developing cancer.   A 21% risk reduction for coronary heart disease is coupled with a 57% reduced risk of coronary heart disease mortality.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 6 cups

Grocery list:

17 1/2 ounces fresh rhubarb stalks, chopped

3 cups water

3/4 raw sugar

7 ounces raspberries and strawberries mixed (reserve a few for garnish)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1 cup dry ginger ale

1 1/2 cups lemonade

Ice cubes

Chilled water (optional)

To Do list:

  1. Place the rhubarb, water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan.  Cover with lid and simmer over low heat until the rhubarb softens.  Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate.
  2. Puree the rhubarb in a blender or food processor.  Strain it, and discard the pulp.  Puree the raspberries and strawberries with the lemon juice and combine with the rhubarb juice.
  3. Just before serving, stir in the fresh ginger, ginger ale, lemonade, and ice cubes.  For a thinner punch, add chilled water.

Orange Ginger Cooler

Orange juice combined with cardamom, fresh ginger and fresh mint all come together nicely in this thirst-quenching beverage.

Healing Properties: Ginger originated in China and is in the Zingiberaceae family along with its sister spices cardamom and turmeric. Ginger is great for treating nausea in post-op and chemotherapy patients, or even nausea caused by sea-sickness.  Studies show it is most effective in combating morning sickness in pregnant women.  An analysis of 12 different studies that had over 1,200 participants found that 1.1-1.5 grams of ginger can significantly reduce nausea in pregnant women.  Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, and consuming just 2 grams a day can significantly decrease exercise induced muscle pain.  Pain associated with osteoarthritis is also decreased with ginger consumption. One study found that 2 grams of powdered ginger a day lowered fasting blood sugar levels by 12% in type II diabetics.  This study also discovered a 28% reduction in  ApoB/ApoA-I ratio, indicating a reduced risk of heart disease.  On top of this, ginger also helps with chronic indigestion and menstrual pain, and helps fight infections with antibacterial properties.  Finally, ginger may improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Yield: about 8 cups

What to buy: 

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon finely ground cardamom seeds

2 cups hot water

1/3 cup honey

3 cups crushed ice

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

3 cups fresh orange juice

Let’s Juice!

  1. Grind the mint leaves, ginger, and cardamom to a paste with a mortar and pestle or mince them in a food processor.  Steep the pulp in the hot water for 1/2 hour.  Strain the mixture through a cloth or sieve, collect the juice and discard the pulp.
  2. Blend the mint and ginger juice and the honey in a large bowl.  Add the ice, lemon juice, and orange juice.  Serve in chilled glasses garnished with an orange ring and mint leaves.

You can find all of these recipes and more here: 

Dasa, Kurma. Great Vegetarian Dishes. Botany: Naresvara Dasa, 1990, Print.

Dr. Carlie Bell-Biggins is CEO and Founder of Monaco.  As a licensed Natural Medicine Physician, she believes in the Healing Power of Nature and the undeniable efficacy of her Individualized Health Care approach.  She has written both Didactic and Clinical Health Care Curriculum and managed Medical Faculty for various college’s Health and Wellness programs.  In private practice, Dr. Bell-Biggins motivated clients to reach their Personal Health Goals with Individualized Natural Health Solutions.  She travels to lecture on various health care topics as an Expert in Natural Health and a Leading Voice in the Natural Health Care industry.