As flu season drags on, chances are you’ve either had the flu and still have a lingering cough or you are desperately trying to avoid getting sick as those around you wheeze and sniffle. Maybe it's time to try a different kind of flu shot — a fruit-based one.
Los Angeles' juiceries offer liquid relief this season in the form of fortified juice shots, intended to help prevent illness or restore health.
Our city has a reputation for being obsessed with health trends, but since we also top national charts for worst air quality — which contributes to allergies and makes flu suffering worse — it's no surprise there’s a demand for immunity boosts here.
The herbs and supplements in these beverage shots may not come with medical guarantees, but they’re more fun than a needle in your arm. (And as NPR reports recently reminded us, flu shots you can get from your doctor this year are just 23 percent effective.)
So when you've had enough of re-watching all the seasons of Downton Abbey and counting the characters who die from Spanish influenza, you might drag yourself out to try some of these healing tonics and speed your recovery. Here’s a guide to some of the wellness shots you can find around town and their ingredients that help ward off the flu or relieve your symptoms.
Hot Shot at Juice Served Here
Oregano oil and jalapeños dominate this fairly spicy juice shot, aptly named Hot Shot ($4), at Juice Served Here. Both of these ingredients help clear mucus and get your sinuses draining. Lemon, ginger, and Himalayan salt complete the sinus-clearing mix, and mulberry chasers help cut the heat after you drink. 8366 West 3rd Street, Beverly-Grove. 323-944-0409; 57 East Holly Street, Pasadena. (626) 578-0101.
Anti-Candida Shot at Erewhon Natural Foods
Candida is a yeast that is a common cause of infections. The anti-candida shot ($6.75) at Erewhon Natural Foods includes apple cider vinegar, pau d’ arco (a bark with antiviral properties), oregano oil, ginger, lemon, and cayenne pepper. It’s an acidic drink that can burn a little going down, but your sore throat will thank you. (And it’s tastier than just gargling with straight vinegar to kill the beasties.) Battle candida and help your flu symptoms all in one gulp. You'll find the anti-candida shot shelved with the fresh-pressed bottled drinks, though there are additional wellness shots on the menu at the juice bar. 7660 Beverly Boulevard, Fairfax. (323) 937-0777.
Wellness Shot and Recovery Shot at Open Source Organics
The Wellness Shot ($2) at Open Source Organics is as bracing as a shot of whiskey; after you down it, the orange slice on the side becomes a useful chaser and not simply a cute garnish. A heavy dose of ginger gives the shot its bite and provides anti-inflammatory and cleansing benefits. The green sediment is chlorella, an algea that is a strong source of vitamin B and is used to promote beneficial bacteria and support your immune system.
The Recovery Shot ($3) here is milder, tasting mostly of beet juice. The other ingredients are lemon, ginger, cilantro, and zeolites. What are zeolites, you may be trying to ask but can’t quite manage through your febrile haze? Zeolite is a clay-like mineral that absorbs heavy metals and toxins to draw them out of your system. So drink up and speak better!
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These shots are also bottled in a larger size ($5) for you to take home and enjoy, enough to share with your whole coughing household. 7107 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. (323) 806-2072.
Healing Turmeric Shot at The Punchbowl
Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory, so when you don’t want to pop Ibuprofen anymore, try a shot glass of this spice to calm your irritated sinuses, glands, and lungs. The Healing Turmeric shot at The Punchbowl has a mild coconut water base, so the spices take center stage. The turmeric in the shot is fairly gentle, while the added holy basil has a strong medicinal flavor. Holy basil is a plant used to treat the flu, as well as combat stress and inflammation; it is commonly used in Hindu religious practices in India and is an ingredient in Thai food. Turmeric is a common ingredient in Indian food, so it's no surprise these dominant flavors in this shot produce an intensely savory beverage. 4645 Melbourne Avenue, Los Feliz. (323) 666-1123.