Every natural mama needs some standby herbal remedies to get her and her family through the darkest days of winter. We’re lucky that these days, it’s relatively easy to find natural medicines at our local pharmacy. However, it’s cheaper and certainly more fun to make herbal medicines in the comfort of our own kitchens. Here are five easy herbal remedies you can make for your family today.
Herbal Tea Respiratory System Tonic
This tea is an excellent choice when you’re feeling stuffed up and congested during a battle with the common cold.
Take 2-3 cups per day until symptoms subside.
Ingredients: (makes 3 cups)
1 teaspoon comfrey leaf
2 teaspoons nettle leaf
4 teaspoons peppermint
1 teaspoon chamomile
1 teaspoon mullein flowers
½ stick cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange peel
This deep purple syrup packs an antiviral punch: it can shorten the duration
of colds and flus, as well as lessen the severity of symptoms. Elderberry syrup works best when
taken at the onset of symptoms and is continued throughout the course of the illness.
It can be made and used relatively quickly, but I like to make a batch in
anticipation of cold and flu season just to be prepared.
Ingredients: (makes 1 liter)
1 cup dried elderberries
6 cups water
½ cup raw honey
(Optional immune boosters: cinnamon stick, 12 whole cloves,
2” chunk of fresh Ginger (chopped),
1 tablespoon echinacea, and 1 tablespoon astragalus)
Place berries (and any other herbs) in the pot of water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 45-60 minutes on low.
Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature and strain. Add the honey and pour into a glass jar.
Keep refrigerated. During illness, take 2-3 tablespoons every 3 hours until symptoms subside.
These next three recipes require 2 to 4 weeks of advance preparation, but they’re also well worth the wait due to their effectiveness. Mix up a batch in advance of cold and flu season, or as soon as you get the chance, and you won’t regret it!
This is a surprisingly tasty, tangy and spicy tonic that can be taken daily to aid digestion,
warm the system and clear the sinuses. It can also be taken in concentrated dosages for sore throats, colds, and the flu.
The diverse ingredients of this medicinal beverage are all touted for their powerful
antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting abilities.
½ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup horseradish, freshly grated
¼ cup ginger, freshly grated
¼ cup turmeric, freshly grated
¼ cup orange peel, chopped
¼ cup lemon peel, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
cayenne to taste
honey to taste
apple cider vinegar (enough to cover all ingredients by an inch or two)
Grate and chop ingredients. Place in glass jar and just cover all ingredients with vinegar.
Let the brew sit in a dark cupboard for 4 weeks. Strain. Sweeten to taste with honey.
Take 1 teaspoon every half hour when sick, or 1 tablespoon daily as a preventative.
Immune Support Tincture
This is to be used at the onset of an illness and helps stimulate the immune system into action.
It is also helpful to take during sickness and is easy to administer because it is concentrated and given in drop form.
1 part golden seal
1 part astragalus
2 parts echinacea
1 part horseradish root
1 part Garlic (fresh)
1/4 part cayenne
Chop or grate all ingredients. Place in a wide mouth bottle and cover herbs with glycerin (kid-friendly) or vodka by at least an inch or two of alcohol. Let the mixture sit for 2 weeks. Strain. Rebottle the liquid. Take a few drops (20-30) diluted in warm water every couple hours at the onset of an illness and continue until symptoms subside.
Mullein & Garlic Ear Drops
This is nature’s best medicine for ear infections. It not only clears infection, but itworks as a pain reliever as well.
It is always good to have this on hand for the winter months.
These oils work best when mixed together in equal proportions.
Optional: calendula, St. John’s Wort
To make mullein flower oil, cover the fresh flowers with olive oil, with an inch or two of oil above the flowers (along with calendula and St. John’s Wort if applicable). Let it sit in a warm place for 2-3 weeks. Strain and bottle.
To make garlic oil, take fresh garlic, peel and chop; cover with a thin layer of olive oil.
Warm over very low heat just until the oil smells very strongly of garlic.
Strain well and add to the bottle of mullein oil. To use, this infused herbal oil blend should be heated to just above room temperature, warm but definitely not hot.
Warmed oil is gently dropped down both ears. Use several times a day until symptoms subside,
then take once daily for one week afterwards.
This winter, listen to your body and it’s ancient beautiful knowledge, you will know when it is stressed, tired, feeling “rundown” and susceptible to colds and flus. Then collect your herbal remedies, your wisdom and clarity, and take gentle healing care of yourself and your family this winter. As with all things in the way of herbs, each recipe I’ve provided can be adapted, expanded, and enriched with the herbs you have on-hand and your own common sense.