Starbucks' Soothing Medicine Ball Tea Now Goes By A Different Name

Even though a Starbucks "secret menu" may be a bit of a misnomer, there are customizable drinks that are off-menu, usually circulated thanks to social media, that get wildly popular (looking at you, Cotton Candy Frappuccino). If you're not in the know, Starbucks may be the reason behind flavored lattes, but its secret menu contains coffee, tea, and Frappuccino concoctions that aren't on Starbucks menus. These drinks can be created with the right blend of bases and syrups — and are often shared en masse by loyal fans. Every once in a while, a secret menu item hits the big time, and the company adds the drink to its standing menu, e.g. the Pink Drink.

And so it also was with the Medicine Ball, a drink that you may have heard someone with the sniffles order. Instead of christening the drink with the name it got famous with, Starbucks now calls it a Honey Citrus Mint Tea, and it's been put on the menu alongside Frapps and Refreshers. Hardcore fans swear that this hot drink can make anyone with a cold feel better, and it became so well known that many baristas learned how to make the drink from memory instead of having the customer describe what went into the beverage. Indeed, you can still order it as a "Medicine Ball," but if the staff doesn't know what that is, simply call it by its new name.

Hot tea, lemonade, and honey make a winning drink

The Medicine Ball, now the Honey Citrus Mint Tea, was and is a mixture of steamed lemonade and hot water, Jade Citrus Mint green tea, Peach Tranquility tea, and honey. Some will also ask for an optional pump of peppermint syrup to increase the mint flavor. Both teas in the drink come in the form of steeped tea bags. The mint green tea contains green tea, lemon verbena, lemongrass, and spearmint; and the peach tea is an infusion of peach, candied pineapple, chamomile blossoms, lemon verbena, and rose hips. Clearly, there's a lot of flavor going on in this hot drink.

Even without the honey and peppermint syrup, the Honey Citrus Mint Tea is sweet, thanks to the lemonade included, but the natural sweetness from the peach and pineapple also comes through. A grande-sized drink with no additional sweeteners than what's listed contains 30 grams of sugar, so this isn't a low-carb drink. It will, however, temporarily help soothe a sore throat.

For medicinal purposes?

Reading the description of a Honey Citrus Mint Tea, one might think it could be a tasty winter drink, so why do people tend to gravitate towards it when they're feeling under the weather? First off, there is no cure for the common cold, and you certainly will be hard-pressed to find any doctor who will prescribe a Medicine Ball to you.

However, there are some elements in the drink that could provide some relief. It's a good idea to stay hydrated when you have a cold, and sipping hot tea helps with this — as well as potentially clearing stuffy sinuses due to the hot, steamy temperature. According to the Cleveland Clinic, honey can help combat inflammation, and it may contain anti-microbial properties that can soothe an aching throat. Plus, green tea is full of antioxidants that strengthen immune systems (via WebMD). Lemonade gives a boost of vitamin C from citrus juice, which, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, may give a small bit of relief to cold symptoms.

While this not-so-secret-anymore menu item may not legitimately cure your coughing or sneezing ailment, it sure might help you feel a little better — and it tastes pretty good to boot. While there are plenty of Starbucks secret menu items you need to try, the Honey Citrus Mint Tea is perfect for when you're under the weather.