. : cocoa
buzz : .
hot chocolate for the...
Every so often, overwhelmed by a
sweet tooth and a singular love and respect of
decadence, I'll put away the spicebush, nettle,
myrica, rooibos, or whatever tea and make up a big
pot of hot cocoa to share with friends. Inevitably,
within a few sips someone will be pulling me aside,
quizzically asking me, "What did you put in that
Sometimes, under the spell of
mischievous faeries, I sneer suggestively and reply,
"Sorry, can't say...", or ask hesitantly whether
they've been looking for a job (he he).
The real answer, though, is: Cocoa.
People no longer remember that
cocoa is a powerful, sacred, medicinal and darned
tasty plant. The chocolate of mass appeal in our
country is but a shadow of true cocoa, being mostly
refined sugar, and even the gourmet hot cocoas sold
at exorbitant prices abound in artificial flavors
and ingredients. Fortunately, anyone can easily, and
within minutes, whip up a cup or pot of steaming
cocoa that not only tastes better than virtually
anything they could buy, it's good for them to boot.
Good for you cocoa?
Indeed. This simple recipe provides
a tasty drink with immune stimulating and even
anti-viral/antibiotic properties, and also offers a
plethora of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
(for one cup)...
spoonful unsweetened cocoa powder
spoonful local wildflower honey (ideally raw,
hot water to fill a mug
added antimicrobial effect:
propolis extract (about 30 drops - 1 squirt - or to
1 quart water
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup unsweetened
4 "squirts" Propolis
Simply combine the ingredients in
a pot and warm to just the right drinking
temperature (you can adjust the cocoa-to-honey ratio
to make the drink more bitter, if you prefer). Try
not to let to get too hot; you'll do in some of the
virtues of the honey if you do. When reheating, be
sure to stir/whisk it up well so the cocoa powder
that settled to the bottom doesn't scorch.
To this cocoa base nearly infinite
embellishments can be made. I very often add
marshmallow root to the water (1 ounce dry root
infused in cold water for 4+ hours) to make a
moistening soothing tea, which renders the cocoa
active against the dry respiratory issues that
accompany influenza and many common colds. I may
also add a spoonful of elderberry syrup per cup of
cocoa, which not only tastes good, but possesses the
ability to inhibit the reproduction of viruses.
Combined with the propolis extract, this makes for a
very effective and decidedly delicious immune
enhancing hot cocoa that works quite well for colds
If there's lower bowel looseness,
the water can be replaced with cinnamon tea, which
possesses astringent, demulcent and diaphoretic
qualities, and blackberry syrup can further enhance
its astringency and the flavor of the cocoa.
Traditionally, cocoa was enjoyed
with stimulating spices like chili (yup, like in
that movie Chocolat!), and a pinch can be
added per cup to give the cocoa extra kick.
...or for a real kick, add some
blackberry liquor. Cozying up in front of the fire
with your sweetie? A maybe a few squirts of maca
tincture or root powder might be nice…
As you see, the only limits on
potential is one's imagination.
The cocoa (of course) provides the
flavor (and the chocolate-euphoria), the honey
sweetens it up and possesses antibacterial,
antibiotic, antiviral, antiinflamatory,
anticarcinogenic, anti... well, the list goes on and
on. The propolis is notably antimicrobial
(antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal,
antiallergenic, antioxidant, antiblah blah blah...)
and it's extremely nutritious.
An important consideration is, of
course, the quality of the cocoa. Hershey's, Nestle
and most other supermarket brands do not cut it as
good quality (they may not even cut it as actual
cocoa). There are a slew of organic cocoa powders
from raw to roasted to alkalinized, though sometimes
they don't actually taste awesome. Ghirardelli's
unsweetened cocoa powder is perhaps the best tasting
and most easily found I've tried, but it isn't
organic fair trade. Try different stuff. See what
you like best.
Propolis extract may be available
at health food stores (though I recommend making
your own tincture of the pure resin in grain
alcohol), and in addition to its medicinal virtues
acts as a sort or creamer/vanilla substitute,
flavorwise. Should you not be able to find it,
though, the cocoa is still quite good for you
without it, having more of a "dark chocolate"
flavor. You can also often find honey with propolis
mixed into it.
This cocoa (with the propolis) is
incredibly good at combating sore throat from colds
and flus - even strep - and bringing back your long
lost voice... drink it when its easier to croak than
talk. And, if you have children who've yet to
appreciate the flavor of echinacea, you'll have no
problem getting them to slurp down some nice,
immune-stimulating hot chocolate. Ditto in regards
You can also make an insanely good
"hot fudge" by heating honey over very low heat in a
saucepan, mashing up some fresh blackberries (or
whatever-berries) in it, and adding cocoa power to
taste and desired consistency.