3 modern herbal tea recipes that are not your lola’s salabat

  • No tea, no shade to your lola’s trusted mix—these concoctions are refreshing as they are comforting

There’s nothing like a warm cup of salabat (ginger tea) to soothe an impending sore throat. But you got to admit, you wish it were iced or at least sweetened, or came with a lemon wedge or a sprig of mint to make it more “tolerable”—not that that’s its purpose.

So we asked the country’s first certified tea master Renee Sebastian, a woman with an encyclopedic knowledge of tea leaves, this question: What if our lola’s salabat was made modern?

Here’s her answer along with two other herbal tea concoctions*:

The perfect salabat

A soothing blend for common colds, sore throat, and flu-like symptoms


1 thumb-sized ginger (approx. 5g) 

1 pc. lemongrass stalk 

20g coconut sap or light brown sugar 

200mL water 

1 chamomile tea bag


For the ginger-lemongrass syrup:

1. Bring water to a boil.

2. Pound ginger and lemongrass until the aroma is released.

3. Add ginger and lemongrass to the boiling water. Reduce to medium heat. Cover and simmer until liquid reduces to half.

4. Add coconut sap sugar and dissolve into liquid.

5. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

6. Store the resulting mixture, including the ginger and lemongrass, in a bottle or jar. It can last up to 30 days when refrigerated.

For the salabat:

1. Steep the chamomile tea bag in a cup of boiling water for 5 minutes.

2. Mix 45 mL of ginger-lemongrass syrup.

3. Stir and enjoy hot or iced.

Gumamela Maria Clara

A fruity tea that can help lower blood pressure, alleviate indigestion, or aid with menstrual cramps


4 tsp. loose gumamela or roselle tea

1 1-inch-thick fresh pineapple slice

1 tsp. lemon juice

¼  tsp. banana essence or flavoring

1L water

100g light brown sugar


1. Mix gumamela tea, lemon juice, pineapple, and water. Bring to a boil.

2. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

3. Dissolve light brown sugar into the mix.

4. Add banana essence. Stir.

5. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 3 minutes.

6. Strain. Serve hot or over ice.

Green Sambong Tea

An herbal drink that can aid with urinary tract infections and kidney stones


10 pcs. dried or fresh sambong or alagao leaves

1 pc. pandan leaf

1 2-inch-long lemon peel

10mL lemon juice

1L water

1 pc. Sampaguita green tea bag or any jasmine green tea variant

Light brown sugar or honey to taste


1. Mix sambong, pandan, lemon peel, and water. Bring to a boil.

2. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes.

3. Add lemon juice and Sampaguita green tea bag into the mixture and simmer for another minute and a half.

4. Remove from heat and strain.

5. Pour into cup and add light brown sugar or honey to taste. Serve with a slice of lemon.

To enjoy iced, bring mixture to room temperature before refrigerating for an hour or two.

*DISCLAIMER: The following tea blends are not intended for medicinal purposes and may not be used to treat diseases. Not suitable for children, pregnant, or lactating women.

This story originally appeared on Southern Living Homegrown Issue 2019

Nolisoli.ph © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.


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