January 23, 2013

And For Dessert: Flu Sorbet!

An ice cream company claims that it has produced a product that could act as a remedy to the flu.

The flavor, “Influenza Sorbet,” is a mix of lemon, cayenne pepper, and Maker’s Mark bourbon. According to Fox News, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the Ohio-based group who came up with the new taste, believes it can help fight the flu with this mix of ingredients. Given with ginger and honey, Flu Sorbet is currently sold at the price of $12 pint.

“This is our flu-season fix. It’s proven to clear nasal passages, ease a sore throat, and soothe the body. It’s modeled on the home remedy my mother and grandmother made when anyone in the family was under the weather. Sniffles, aches, and fevers meant one thing: a mug of hot whiskey with honey and lemon juice, then straight to bed,” stated the description of Flu Sorbet on the company website for Jeni’s Spendid Ice Creams.

In a report by ABC News, the idea for the flavor was first hatched in 2004.

“When the flu hit in 2004, it was like supposed to be the worst flu since 1918 and it was like all over the news people were dying from it. It was horrible and I thought, ‘Gosh I could do this sorbet,’” Jeni Britton Bauer, founder and president of the company, told ABC News.

The secret ingredient is thought to be a small amount of pectin; pectin is also an ingredient used in cough drops.

“I’ve had people tell me it’s the only thing that makes them feel better. It actually does have a physical effect,” commented Bauer in an article by Fox News. “It coats your throat. It’s just what some people need.”

Bauer touts the ice cream as not only a remedy, but a tasty dessert as well.

“It is really delicious,” remarked Bauer in the ABC News article. “The cayenne doesn’t have flavor, it just has the kick, the physical property of the heat, and then all of the other ingredients are just so perfect together. You can just imagine it as a cocktail.”

Bauer has seen an influx of orders in the last few weeks.

“It’s not a miracle. It’s an at-home remedy — like chicken soup,” explained Bauer in the Fox News article.

The popularity of the ice cream may be due to the high rate of influenza activity seen across the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forty-eight states have reported a wide range of geographic influenza activity. There have also been a number of hospitalizations related to the flu, with 49.6 percent of the hospitalizations in adults who are 65 years of age or older.

There are some who are skeptical of the effectiveness of the ice cream.

“It’s cute but I’d like to see the science behind it,” Doris Bucher, a member of a group of New York Medical College scientists who helped develop the flu vaccine used this year, told Fox News. “It might spice you up or knock you out — but it’s no vaccine.”

Image Credit: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

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