Before we get into Cold & Flu season, I like to be sure my Herbal Remedies are prepped and ready to go. Many remedies take a little time to prepare, so it's important to make them before you need them.
Fall / Winter Herbal Remedies I Make Every Year
I have written blogs on several of these, so please go check them out.
Fire Cider to prevent and fight illness by boosting immunity and fight infections.
Honey Onion Cough Syrup to soothe a scratchy throat and calm cough.
Elderberry Syrup to prevent and fight illness by boosting immunity.
Ginger Prep for ginger-lemon tea to hydrate, calm the stomach, and clear sinuses.
Lemon Prep for ginger-lemon tea (see above).
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Okay, I hope you have read some of the previous blog posts and watched some YouTube videos, but maybe you didn't and you just want to know how to make these remedies. While all these recipes are customizable, here is the basic info:
Ingredients: quantities are just a suggested place to start, feel free to use more or less of any ingredient (except vinegar)
1 quart canning jar
1/2 medium onion, chopped
6 inches of ginger, somewhat peeled, then chopped
1 small hunk of horseradish root, somewhat peeled, then chopped (or a heaping tsp of prepared horseradish)
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed or chopped
1 inch chunk of hot pepper (Cayenne, Jalapeño, Fresno, or 1 small Thai chili)
Enough raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to cover the ingredients in a quart jar.
Roughly chop the ingredients and place them in a quart jar. Cover with apple cider vinegar. Shake the jar and place in a dark, cool place for 3-8 weeks, gently shaking a couple of times a week. The longer it sits, the stronger it will be. Once the vinegar has darkened and the chopped ingredients begin to look 'spent', strain through cheesecloth (squeezing out all the vinegar) and then place in a vinegar curette or a glass bottle. I keep mine on the counter, but it can also be kept in the refrigerator. I have read that fire cider is good on the counter for 12-18 months as long as it is cool and out of sunlight. I use mine pretty quickly so it's not on the counter for more than a couple of months.
As with most recipes I love, the ingredient list is just a suggestion. You can easily omit an ingredient or add others. For example, I have made this without horseradish and it still worked great. I have also added a bunch of fresh thyme, which is not only delicious but also adds more antibacterial/antiviral properties. If you don't like so much spice, omit the hot pepper and just add a few black peppercorns. A chunk of turmeric root is also a nice addition.
How to Use:
Let your food be your medicine! Fire cider is delicious in a vinaigrette. You can also take it by the spoonful every morning as a preventative (just rinse your mouth with water after because vinegar is very acidic and not that great for your teeth), or use it along with honey-onion cough syrup to fight a cough and enjoy it's cold-fighting benefits.
Honey-Onion Cough Syrup
1 cup local raw honey
Finely slice and chop the onion and gently cook it down with a little bit of water. Cook until onions are soft and translucent. Do not allow them to burn or brown.
Remove from heat and add honey. Allow to sit in the warm (not hot) pan. Then transfer to a jar and refrigerate.
How to Use:
Eat it by the spoonful as a cough syrup. Add some Fire Cider to up the cold-fighting benefits. Use it to sweeten your tea, add to vinaigrettes, or spread it on toast. It's so yummy!
1/2 - 1 cup dried elderberries
fresh ginger, 1 inch chunk
2 cinnamon sticks, broken
2-4 black peppercorns
4 cups water
1 cup local raw honey (at least 1/2 of the final liquid measurement after simmering down)
1/4 c brandy (optional)
Simmer berries and spices in water until reduced by half (to equal 2 cups). Strain out the berries and spices. There should be 2 cups of liquid. If you have more, but it back on the heat and cook down a little longer, or add more honey. If you have less than 2 cups, add a little water to bring it up to 2 cups. Stir in the honey until completely dissolved into the elderberry liquid. Bottle, label, and refrigerate.
How to Use:
Eat it by the spoonful to support your immune system. Drizzle over pancakes, waffles, ice cream, yogurt, or oatmeal. Use to sweeten tea. Add a tablespoon to a flute of Prosecco for a delicious celebratory drink!
Ginger Lemon Tea
fresh ginger, 1-inch chunk chopped
2 lemon wedges
1 cup boiling water
1 tsp local raw honey [soothes cough or sore throat]
small pinch of cayenne pepper [clears sinuses and warms the body]
1 shot whisky, bourbon, or brandy [additional cough relief, makes it your own homemade Nyquil ;-) ]
Bring water to a boil. Place ginger in a mug and fill the mug with water. Allow ginger to steep 5-10 minutes. Remove the ginger and squeeze the lemon juice into your mug. Add any additions and drink.
How to Use:
Drink it hot while snuggled up in a comfy blanket or while soaking in a warm bath. Or, let it cool and add a little ice if a cold drink sounds better to you.
Additional Things to Have On Hand
Peppermint Tea - great for headaches and stomach issues. (avoid if you suffer from heartburn). Learn more about peppermint HERE.
Soup/Broth - whether you make and freeze some chicken noodle soup and veggie broth or simply add a few cans to your pantry, it's important to have some soothing foods on hand. Nobody wants to cook or go grocery shopping when coming down with something.
Echinacea - whether it's a bottle of tincture or a tea blend, echinacea helps support your immune system.
Pick up some eucalyptus - whether you choose a eucalyptus rub (think Vaporub), essential oils, or a shower bomb, eucalyptus is great when your head is all stuffed up.
Clean your neti pot and prepare to make neti solution. You can make up a blend of salt and baking soda to quickly make a solution when you need it. You just need non-iodized salt, baking soda, and distilled water. Find more information HERE.