Changing of the Seasons Does Not Have to Mean Illness
It almost seems like I woke up one day and it was October. Dazed and confused, I wonder where the golden days of summer have disappeared to. If you leave in New England, like I do, this past summer was a tad disappointing. It seemed to rain A LOT. Do not get me wrong, I love rain. Those rainy nights lying in bed, listening to the rain fall from the distant, open window is so relaxing. Not to mention, letting your inner child run wild through the rain drops, dancing like no one is watching… or how about those quirky umbrellas, like the one here pictured with my friend Brian. Look how much fun that alone inspires.
Still, it seemed like rainy days were many and with a turn, fall has arrived in full view. Colder temperatures are here, less sun, more darkness. With the summoning of Autumn, also comes the fear of getting sick. The Flu has already attacked some of my community and colds are close behind. Now is a good time to prepare and stock herbal and holistic precautions and remedies.
Elderberries are a necessary in your herbal medicine chest. They aid respiratory infections and can help prevent and calm the flu. They are 99% effective against the H5N1 strain and were even proven to be effective against the H1N1 strain that scared us all back in 2009. Herbalist and Author of the book “Alchemy of the Herbs,” Rosalee De La Foret writes, “Researchers further discovered that it was the flavonoid content of the berries that can block a virus from entering a host cell.”
Elderberry is good for influenza, as mentioned above but it is also good for respiratory infections. You can make or buy as an extract or syrup. In fact, the syrup may remind you of some remedies you have taken as a child. Some herbalists suggest taken the syrup week days when having an infection, then keeping the week ends to allow your own immune system to step up. Wise Women’s Herbal has a nice blended syrup to aid with colds, flu and to boost your immune. You can also try making it with the following recipe:
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
2 quarts fresh rip elderberries
1/4 ounce freshly grated ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Combine berries with 1/4 cup of water in large pot and simmer until berries are soft. Strain out the pulp, reserving the liquid. Add in the ginger and cloves, simmer uncovered until the liquid reduces to half of its original amount. Pour the juice into a measuring cup and note the amount. Return the juice to the pot. Add the same amount of honey, stirring until completely combined. Let cool, and then bottle. Label with contents and date. Store in the fridge. Contents are good for up to 12 weeks.
To treat or fight off a cold, flu or respiratory infection, take 1 to 2 TBSP several times throughout the day.
Fire Cider Tonic
I came across this about two to three years ago. I had carried around a cold for weeks. The holidays were approaching fast, adding extra stress. I decided to try some Fire Tonic and was surprised at how quickly I felt like myself again. What I found out after, was that this was a remedy used by farmers and ancestors for many years. The idea is that farmers would take roots and fading herbs and make this remedy. It would sit for about six weeks. They would take it daily to ward off any illnesses.
Made using Apple Cider Vinegar, you basically add roots like onions, garlic and horseradish. Lemon and herbs like rosemary, cayenne and thyme add an interesting taste of pungent once settled. The benefits of this nutritional tonic is amazing. I try to take this every day once fall hits.
It is important to note that the term “Fire Cider” has been in the public eye recently. The company Shire City has trademarked the term recently. This means that legally, herbalists cannot call their product this. Why this is a big deal is because it is a term that herbalists have been using for ages. Herbalist Rosemary Gladstar is credited with coining this but I believe that it was called this perhaps even prior to her popularizing it. Please read more about this here.
Try to make your own if you are able. I just feel so empowered when creating herbal remedies. It is you connecting to mother earth and creating your own medicine. Talk about magick. You can find some great recipes at Mountain Rose Herbs.
Cayenne is a great sweat tea. Personally, I am not a fan of sweating but I do understand the importance of this bodily function. Drinking a cayenne tea at the first sign of a flu or cold can shorten the duration and aid with overall healing. Use a small amount, only a 1/4 to 1/2 tsp when using a quality powder. Be cautious not to use too much or you may feel nausea coming on. Add boiling water to the powder. Also add lemon and honey to taste, let sit and cool. Sip slowly. See what you can stand for temperature. Cayenne tea works best the hotter you can stand it.
Four Thieves Vinegar
The concoction has great antimicrobial qualities. It seems to help with keeping colds and flu at bay. It is an overall great winter tonic that reminds me of similar qualities as Fire Cider Tonic. Take daily to ward off infections, colds and flu.
Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe
Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar
Garlic cloves ( gather many, peel skins)
Start with a wide mouth mason jar. Add peeled garlic to fill much of the jar. Then pick four optional ingredients, add. Fill the remaining space in the jar with the apple cider vinegar. Use a plastic cap, plastic wrap or wax paper over metal cap to prevent rusting. Wait six to eight weeks and take a TBSP or shot daily.