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).
So, what’s in it, and how do you make one? Keep reading to find out.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
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
- Lemon zest (optional)
- Small saucepan
- 40-ounce pitcher
- Green tea
- Peach tea
AT A GLANCE
One 20-ounce Medicine Ball
HERBAL SPEARMINT GREEN TEA:
- 1 teaspoon loose leaf green tea or one green tea bag
- 1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon dried lemon verbena
- 1 teaspoon dried spearmint
- Water heated and held at 175 degrees F
HERBAL PEACH TEA:
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated apples, chopped
- 1 tablespoon candied pineapple
- 1 tablespoon dried peaches, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried chamomile flowers
- 1 teaspoon dried lemon verbena
- Water heated and held at 175 degrees F
- Honey, to taste
- Teapot or 32-ounce French press
- 20-ounce coffee mug
How to make Starbucks Medicine Ball
Below is a step-by-step recipe.
1. Make the Lemonade
Combine 1 cup of water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan. Bring it to boil over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Pour the simple syrup into a 40-ounce pitcher. Then, add in 1 cup of fresh-squeezed lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. Stir and dilute with cool water as needed.
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a citrus juicer, don’t worry. Before you juice the lemon, roll it on the countertop for a minute. Then, slice in half and twist the halved lemons around on a fork, being sure to extract all the juice.
2. Brew Your Teas
First, heat about 32 ounces of water to 175 degrees F and keep it at that temperature as you add the ingredients of both tea blends.
In a 32-ounce French press, add one cup of the preheated water, the lemon verbena, the chamomile flowers, and all the dried fruit pieces. Stir and make sure all the fruit is submerged.
Next, add one cup of preheated water, the loose-leaf green tea, lemongrass, lemon verbena, and spearmint. Stir everything to ensure it’s well incorporated.
Steep for 5 minutes and press once it’s done.
Pro Tip: For an even more intense flavor, you can use matcha, or green tea powder, instead of loose-leaf green tea. However, mind your ratios, though. For an 8-ounce serving, you’ll only need ½ teaspoon, and you’ll want to brew the matcha in a separate cup first.
3. Assemble the Medicine Ball
Heat 10 ounces of lemonade in the microwave until it’s steaming. Then, add your tea blends within a quarter-inch below the mug’s rim.
Lastly, add honey to taste, and enjoy.
And there you have it: a fruity, herbal tea that’s as delicious as it is healthy. Our Starbucks Medicine Ball copycat recipe is just what you need when feeling under the weather. This drink is packed with antioxidants and other beneficial phytochemicals and helps with anything.
Have you made this Medicine Ball tea? Let us know how you liked it by dropping us a comment below.
How Do You Make a Medicine Ball with Regular Tea Bags?
To make the Medicine Ball with regular tea bags, follow the recipe above:
One mint-based herbal tea.
One peach-based herbal tea.
Fresh or store-bought lemonade.
Can You Use Fresh Herbs Instead of Dried?
Yes, you can use fresh herbs in place of the dried ones in the recipe. To do this, increase each amount of the lemon verbena, let’s say, by two teaspoons. For every teaspoon of dried herbs, you’ll substitute it for one tablespoon of the fresh variety.
Can You Use Sugar Substitutes?
Yes, you can use any sugar substitute you like. However, when you experiment with a new sugar substitute, add it last so it’ll be easier to make adjustments.
- SET FOR SET. (2022). What Weight Medicine Ball Should I Get? SET for SET. https://www.setforset.com/blogs/news/what-weight-medicine-ball
- Harrison, O. (2017, March 24). Here’s The Crazy Origin Story Behind Starbucks’ Latest Cult Fave. Refinery29.com; Refinery29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2017/03/146997/starbucks-medicine-ball-origin
- Kowitt, B. (2017, March 23). How Your Instagram Posts Created a New Starbucks Drink. Fortune; Fortune. https://fortune.com/2017/03/23/instagram-starbucks-medicine-ball/
- West, H. (2019, January 7). 6 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Lemons. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-lemon-health-benefits
- LEMONGRASS: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews. (2016). Webmd.com. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-719/lemongrass
- Kubala, J. (2021, October 18). 5 Potential Health Benefits of Lemon Verbena. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lemon-verbena-uses
- https://www.facebook.com/thespruceofficial. (2022). How to Harvest and Use Rose Hips. The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/what-are-rose-hips-and-what-do-they-do-1403046
- 12 Amazing Health Benefits Of Rose Hips. (2013, April 26). STYLECRAZE. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/amazing-health-benefits-of-rosehips/
- Gupta. (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future (Review). Molecular Medicine Reports, 3(6). https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2010.377
- WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2020, October 20). Spearmint Tea: Are There Health Benefits? WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/spearmint-tea-health-benefits
- Ware, M. (2021, May 4). What are the health benefits of green tea? Medicalnewstoday.com; Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269538
- Starbucks®. (2022). @Starbucks; Starbucks. https://www.starbucks.com/menu/product/2122274/hot/nutrition
- Petre, A. (2019, January 17). 10 Surprising Health Benefits and Uses of Peaches. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peach-fruit-benefits
- Apples. (2018, October). The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/apples/
- Wartenberg, L. (2022, March 16). Pineapple: 8 Impressive Health Benefits. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-pineapple
- The Honey Bear: A Sweet History. (2020). Containerandpackaging.com. https://www.containerandpackaging.com/resources/history-honey-bear
- Honey. (2020). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-honey/art-20363819