Chukku kappi: Kerala's own herbal drink that boosts immunity, relief from flu

This simple herbal drink made of ingredients that are easily available in any household in Kerala has been serving as a great reliever of discomfort to those down with cold and cough for a long time. Some people use it only when they are down with the illness, while there are others who take it regularly for health and wellbeing. All the same, the black ginger coffee or chukku kappi, in local parlance, is a tested concoction in Ayurveda to improve immunity and relieve chest congestion. Listed below are some features of the herbal brew:

» Dried ginger, coffee powder, black pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, basil leaves (fresh), and palm jaggery make for the elaborate and wholesome combination of 'chukku kappi'. However, people also make a quick drink with only dried ginger, coffee powder, crushed black pepper and palm jaggery.

» It is made by boiling all the ingredients together in water for at least 10 minutes and is consumed while it is slightly warm.

» It gives relief to those suffering from cold and fever. Some use it regularly even without illness. It boosts immunity and gives relief to sore throat, running nose, congestion and breathing issues related to congestion.

» While coffee is a stimulant, the dried ginger and black pepper act against the cough. Coriander seeds act as an antacid and is good for stomach and digestion. Fenugreek is good for stomach and intestine as it has fibre content.

» Palm jaggery is rich in glucose, iron and calcium and it refreshes and gives relief to the respiratory tract.

» It has an expectorant effect, aiding the secretion of sputum and treatment of cough.

» It incites taste buds and helps one to have food and gain energy, especially since those suffering from cold experience loss of appetite.

» Gargling with this drink and gulping it down slowly can ease sore throat.

» Some also add cardamom and cinnamon for its medicinal properties and to spice it up.

» The best time to consume the drink is in the morning. People can also take it in the evening and before going to bed.

(Information provided by Dr E P Sarathchandra Kumar, Ayurvedic Doctor, Vechoochira, Phone: 9495085577)