As the temperature drops in the Coal region and Schuylkill County specifically, many people are preparing to cook their seasonal boilo recipe. Boilo is as much a social drink and a cultural drink in our area. Many of you will enjoy boilo with your family this Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. Others will be part of boilo making competitions. However you enjoy your boilo and whichever family recipe you use, it is important to know about the ingredients you are consuming.


To be clear up front, alcohol is not a “health food or drink” by any means. So, it is our recommendation to make this a “mock boilo” and use all of the usual ingredients but keep out the booze. But, if you do choose to imbibe… the spices in this traditional mix do each have their own healing properties.

What Is Boilo Made Of?

There are a variety of ingredients in boilo. A key ingredient is citrus fruits (specifically oranges and lemons), ginger ale, honey, and a specific blend of herbs and spices that can include nutmeg, cloves, caraway seed, allspice berries, cinnamon, and anise seed. The alcohol used is typically a 190-proof grain alcohol. The history of boilo is rooted in moonshine, but many people simply use Four Queens whiskey.

Some people put raisins in their recipe, and others leave half of these ingredients out of their recipe. There are a variety of approaches to making boilo.

The Medicinal Benefits Of Boilo’s Ingredients

Did you know many of the ingredients in Boilo are healthy for you and have certain medicinal benefits. Before we dive into the specific ingredients and their health benefits, we want to stress that drinking alcohol is not beneficial to your health. We are simply focusing on the special blend of ingredients, including citrus fruits, herbs, spices, and honey, in this article.

If these ingredients were cooked together without the alcohol, they would actually make a great cold and flu preventative supplement. Take a look at a breakdown of these ingredients below:

Citrus Fruits (Oranges & Lemons)

Oranges and lemons are two examples of citrus fruits that add a key burst of flavor to Boilo. These fruits, which are high in vitamin C, support the development of collagen, the immune system, and antioxidant activity. Citrus fruits also contain flavonoids, which may have anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular properties.

5 Herbs And Spices In Boilo

There can be a variety of herbs and spices in your boilo. Each of these herbs have their own unique medicinal effect on your body.

1. Nutmeg’s Medicinal Benefits

Nutmeg not only improves the taste of boilo but can also provide health advantages. It has naturally occurring compounds like myristicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities have been researched. Additionally, nutmeg may help with cognitive and intestinal wellness.

2. The Medicinal Benefits Of Cloves

Known for their potent and strong fragrance, cloves also have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. Cloves, which are high in eugenol, have been studied for their ability to enhance liver health as well as dental health.

3. Caraway Seed’s Vitamins

Rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, caraway seeds have an earthy, slightly sweet flavor. They may aid in reducing bloating and indigestion because they are traditionally linked to digestive benefits. Additionally beneficial to heart health may be caraway seeds.

4. Anise Seed’s Licorice Flavor

Boilo has a distinct licorice flavor thanks to the anise seeds. In addition to being fragrant, chemicals found in anise have been investigated for possible antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, anise may help with digestion.

5. Cinnamon Is High In Antioxidants

Adding cinnamon to Boilo not only tastes delicious but may also have health advantages. Cinnamon, which is high in antioxidants, has been researched for its ability to reduce inflammation and possibly improve heart health. It could potentially be involved in controlling blood sugar levels.

Honey Is A Key Ingredient In Boilo

More than just a natural source of sugar, honey is a vital component of Boilo and a natural sweetener. It has antibacterial and antioxidant qualities, and its possible uses include supporting the healing of wounds and relieving sore throats. Honey’s nutritional value is increased by the variety of vitamins and minerals that it contains. If you are looking for local honey, you can find it right next door to PEAK at Healthy Habits in Orwigsburg, PA.

Improve Your Health With What You Eat

Although it’s essential to recognize that drinking alcohol and Boilo doesn’t equate to a healthy lifestyle, learning more about the health advantages of each constituent part can help us learn specific health benefits of the food we eat.

It can be fascinating how these ingredients can be seen in many conventional cold and flu relief medicines that you would find in functional medicine. Citrus fruits’ ability to strengthen the immune system and spices like nutmeg and cloves’ ability to reduce inflammation are just two examples of how different ingredients can add to a complex web of possible health advantages. While we can enjoy the taste of Boilo, let’s be grateful for the history and cultural heritage of boilo in Schuylkill County.

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