Nutrition Corner with Soeon Park, L.Ac

Su Jeong Gwa is one of the most popular traditional beverages for Korean Lunar New Year. My modern version of the tea is one of many recipes that people use. For the cold winter season, I recommend drinking it warm after holiday meals. My version uses cinnamon, ginger and dried red dates (also known as jujube) and is meant to promote immunity and digestion and also help with a hangover. The taste is naturally sweet and spicy so no sugar is needed. Nutritionally, cinnamon and ginger have antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant effects. In addition, red dates have 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit, making this tea one of the best beverages to prevent winter colds. It is often garnished with pine nuts, which are a good source of iron.


Cinnamon sticks (50 grams/1.75 oz.); 4 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger, sliced; dried jujube fruit (50 grams or 4-5 pieces, available at TOW clinics as well as Chinese and Korean markets); 6 cups water; pine nuts for a garnish (1 to 2 teaspoons)


Bring to a boil 3 cups of water with the ginger and in a second pot three cups of water with the cinnamon sticks; separate pots help to maintain a strong aroma and taste. Reduce to low-medium heat for each pot, cover pots, and continue boiling gently for 40 minutes. Strain each tea and then mix them together. Bring the tea to a boil with the jujube fruit, cover pot and boil gently over low-medium heat for another 40 minutes. Strain tea. Serve warm with a sprinkle of pine nuts for a garnish. Makes about 4 cups.