This blog was originally posted on as part of their Plant Potential Series.



In this series, we spotlight the boundless potential of a single ingredient.


San Francisco-based doctor of acupuncture, Chinese medicine specializing in women’s health, and founder and herbalist of Dr. Anna Gold herbal tinctures, Dr. Anna Gold crafted an immune-enhancing tonic with ginger root. In the Chinese herbal materia medica, ginger is categorized to warm the interior of the body and expel cold pathogens. It harmonizes digestion and the health of your gut microbiome, which is key to immunity. Ginger also alleviates food poisoning, treats morning sickness, supports the lungs to dispel cough, and promotes circulation to the limbs. 




Chef: Dr. Anna Gold


Instagram: @dr.annagold & @drannagoldtinctures


3 go-to ingredients that double as immunity: Ginger, Astragalus, Echinacea. Does sleep count?


Must-have ingredient that delivers an energy boost:  Matcha (caffeine) or Ginseng (no caffeine).


Ultimate comfort food:  Rice Congee. This is what my body craves when I am feeling under the weather. Congee is a rice porridge made from one part white short-grain rice to four parts water and cooked until the rice water becomes thick. In traditional Chinese medicine, congee is considered a medicinal food. It’s a tonic for all sorts of gastrointestinal ailments—stomach flu, nausea, diarrhea, poor appetite, and patients recovering from long term illnesses. You can add different ingredients to enhance its medicinal properties. 

My personal favorite is congee cooked in chicken broth (anti-viral and antibacterial) and minced ginger. When it’s ready to eat, I add some chopped green onions (to ward off colds), a splash of sesame oil (benefits the skin and digestion and its anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant), tamari, and sprinkle in a dash of white pepper.


Favorite healing ingredient: Coconut. I can’t emphasize how much the many components of the coconut fruit heals us, internally and externally. Taken internally, coconut oil protects the cardiovascular system, brain, skin, and joints. It is antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic. 

Coconut water is a better alternative to electrolyte beverages when you’re sick or want to replenish minerals after a workout. In addition to its ability to restore hydration, it also contains potassium, magnesium, manganese, sodium, and calcium. Topically, coconut oil moisturizes the skin, heals wounds, and calms superficial inflammation like eczema. It’s Mother Nature’s panacea. 


Beauty mantra:  Beauty is an illumination of the intentions in your heart and a reflection of the health in your gut. 




Before becoming a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine in 2005, I taught yoga in New York, London, and Los Angeles for 15 years. My love of yoga and Ayurvedic medicine actually steered me back to my East Asian roots. This is my healing recipe for chai that wards off colds and heals digestion. The addition of warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and mustard seeds further supports immunity. While cardamon and fennel enhance digestive properties. The ritual of making this tea from scratch is comforting and rewarding. I make enough to sip all day long. The longer the spices soak in the tea, the more pungent and delicious it becomes. 

Makes 4 servings


2 tbsp grated organic ginger root
2 tbsp grated fresh turmeric root (or 1 tsp of powdered turmeric if fresh is not available)
15 green cardamom pods 
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds 
1 tsp cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
⅛ c loose black tea or 4 black tea bags


Bring 8 cups of water to boil in a medium-size saucepan. While the water is boiling, crush the cardamom pods, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, and cloves in a mortar and pestle until the seeds are cracked and fragrant. Pour the crushed spice mix into the boiling water. Crush or break the cinnamon sticks to one-inch length pieces. Add grated ginger root and turmeric. Simmer the concoction for 25 minutes on low heat. Add black tea. Steep for five minutes. I prefer PG Tips black tea bags in this recipe. If I’m feeling decadent, I’ll use Harney Tea East Frisian loose black tea. 

Put a strainer on top of a mug. Using a ladle or measuring cup, scoop the tea into the cup, straining out the spices. Add honey and choice of creamer to taste. I prefer coconut creamer to the more traditional whole milk. This recipe can be made decaf by either leaving out the black tea or adding decaf black tea, depending on your taste preference. 

Usually, when one leaves black tea to steep in water, it can turn bitter. I don’t find that to be the case here, perhaps because of the intensity of the spices. You can also leave all the ingredients simmering in the pot and scoop out a cup at a time to drink throughout the day, adding honey and creamer as you go along.