Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe (aka Honey Citrus Mint Tea)


The common adage says that healthy foods and beverages don’t taste delicious. But that’s not the case with Home Grounds’ Starbucks medicine ball recipe.

Made with an intriguing blend of spearmint, green tea, lemongrass, honey, and a few other sweet surprises, this Medicine Ball is healthy and delicious to the last drop.

Curious? Keep reading to learn about this drink’s health benefits, and you can make one at home.

What’s a Medicine Ball, Anyway?

Medicine ball is not what you’d usually look for in your local Starbucks.

Evoking images of CrossFit gyms, functional exercises, and minimalist, zero-drop shoes, the medicine ball is a weighted, basketball-sized ball used for various free-weight exercises. People use medicine to build strength and encourage natural movement (1).

But if you’re reading this, you’ll probably anticipate that whatever this is, it’s caffeinated. And you’d be right.

How Instagram Created a Cult-favorite Starbucks Drink

The Medicine Ball, a.k.a. honey-citrus mint tea began as a customer-created, secret menu item. Instagram’s #StarbucksMedicineBall hashtag made it famous (2). Eventually, it became so popular that it became part of Starbucks’ regular menu and made its way onto our list of Starbucks’ most delicious drinks (3).

Like Starbucks’ Strawberry Acai Refresher, Matcha Green Tea Latte, and the Pink Drink, the Medicine Ball is made with a host of healthy ingredients.

So, what’s in it, and how do you make one? Keep reading to find out.

Lemons

The first ingredient in this Medicine Ball tea is lemonade. This lemonade is a powerhouse of nutrition: made with water, lemon juice, sugar, and lemon oil.

Lemons are high in vitamin C, pectin, citric acid, plant compounds, and other polyphenols. This combination of beneficial phytochemicals may reduce cholesterol, aid in weight loss, maximize iron absorption, lower your risk of developing cancer, and lower your blood sugar levels by slowing down the breakdown of simple sugars (4).

But as Healthline notes:

However, to get the benefits of fiber from lemons, you need to eat the pulp.

So if you plan to make this Medicine Ball at home, keep the pulp for a nutritional boost.

Lemongrass

Next up, we have a staple of all Thai and Malaysian dishes: lemongrass. This self-propagating herb is lemony, fragrant, and essential in Thai curries and stews. But it’s more than just an excellent aromatic ingredient.

According to WebMD, lemongrass has antibacterial and antipyretic properties. Also, it may help to decrease blood sugar levels, reduce pain, ease menstrual difficulties, and reduce oxidative stress through its antioxidants (5).

Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena is a flowering plant with mild, lemony notes and bright, sweet flavors. As a common ingredient in teas and essential oils, lemon verbena contains many phytochemicals that help the body protect against cell damage resulting from oxidative stress.

What’s more, lemon verbena may also improve your quality of sleep. 

For anyone who lies awake tossing and turning, lemon verbena may reduce anxiety and stress.

Last but not least, it may also contribute to weight loss by improving the bacterial ratios in the gut microbiome. Some studies also demonstrate that lemon verbena may suppress hunger and increase satiety (6).

Rose Hips

Did you know that rose hips are fruits related to the typical crab apple? If you didn’t, well, honestly, neither did we.

Every rosebush produces them. While rose hips are usually tart, some rose varieties produce sweeter hips than others (7). These accessory fruits to the rose plant can be red, orange, or even black (8).

Aside from being the main ingredient in palinka, an eastern European fruit-based brandy, rose hips may prevent the spread of certain cancers in the body. They may also reduce cholesterol, ease arthritic pain and swelling, and stimulate collagen production, which minimizes signs of aging.

Chamomile

People have long used chamomile to treat various ailments. They harvested it from the flowers of the Matricaria plant (9).

As a mild sedative, chamomile soothes and calms the body and mind, making it a safe, natural remedy for nightmares, anxiety, and insomnia. Its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties are also used to reduce nausea and ease indigestion.

Spearmint

While peppermint and spearmint belong to the mint family, spearmint has less menthol than peppermint—making it the mellower choice for blended teas like the Medicine Ball.

As with many other herbs on our list, spearmint contains antioxidants that protect cells against free radical cell damage. Moreover, spearmint’s carvone may help lower blood pressure levels, soothe indigestion, improve cognition, and manage blood sugar levels (10).

Green Tea

It should be no surprise that the Medicine ball should include this nutritional powerhouse (11).

Because it’s packed with antioxidants, catechins, polyphenols, and caffeine, green tea is very beneficial for your health. It may increase metabolism, encourage cardiovascular health, reduce stroke risk, and improve mental clarity and overall cognition.

Dried Fruit

This ensemble of antioxidant-rich herbs is a colorful blend of dried peaches, apples, and dried candied pineapple pieces (12).

First, peaches—you guessed it—are high in antioxidants, which have many benefits, like protecting against certain cancers and oxidative stress. The phytochemicals in peaches may also help boost your immune system, aid your body in eliminating harmful substances, and help your skin retain moisture better (13).

Apples have high antioxidant levels, too. As with peaches, apples contain pectin, which takes longer to digest and increases satiety (14).

Lastly, pineapple, while being high in antioxidants, also contains bromelain. While it works in conjunction with antioxidants to reduce cell damage due to oxidative stress, this digestive enzyme also breaks down protein. Breaking down protein molecules into amino acids and peptides allows for better protein absorption (15).

Honey

By now, the link between honey and the iconic flip top honey bear is as strong as between helium and balloons. And as with all marketing decisions, this was not an accident.

In 1957, the creators of Dutch Gold Honey searched for packaging that’d set their product apart from their competition. Now, whether because we all fell in love with Winnie the Pooh or have a soft spot for bears in general, the honey bear is here to stay (16).

Sadly, up until recently, the true heroes of this story remained unacknowledged, maligned, and feared. Sure, honeybees aren’t what you’d call particularly cute or cuddly, but it’s through their unrelenting work ethic that we even have honey at all.

Since ancient Egyptian times, honey has been loved for its sweetness, and with over 300 varieties, cultures worldwide have been using it for their beverages, snacks, sauces, main courses, and desserts. And it’s easy to see why.

According to the Mayo Clinic, honey is packed with antioxidants, may help heal wounds when topically applied, improve memory, and reduce anxiety and depression (17).

Looking for some more Starbucks secret menu drink ideas? Peter Reviews Stuff gives his honest review of Starbucks’ Medicine Ball and gets a few other Secret Menu ideas from the barista.

So now that we’ve looked at all the ingredients, how do you make a Starbucks Medicine Ball recipe? Keep reading to find out.

The Starbucks Medicine Ball Copycat Recipe

This blend of herbs, fruit, lemonade, and honey is as delicious as it is healthy. To make the Medicine Ball, you’ll be putting together two tea blends: an herb-infused spearmint green tea and an herbal peach tea blend.

MEDICINE BALL INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • Water
  • Lemon zest (optional)
  • Microplane
  • Small saucepan
  • 40-ounce pitcher
  • Green tea
  • Peach tea

AT A GLANCE