I can still remember exactly how it was as a kid, on the couch with some sickness, sipping on some herbal tea that tasted like grass. I now find myself as a mother, calling my mother asking what teas did she give me as a child. Natural remedies and holistic healing has been a part of my family as long as I can remember. I may not have understood as a child, wondering why they didn’t just give me some cough syrup. As an adult, I am intrigued by the idea of making medicines, salves, tinctures, etc. I still haven’t been able to re-create my grandmother’s Swedish Bitters recipe (although I am confident I’ll get it).
As I began to learn about our bodies and their amazing abilities to fight infections and viruses, I realized that I didn’t need over the counter medicines that only masked the problem. I also didn’t need the disgusting chemicals that are added to those products. Here is a sample inactive ingredient list for Nyquil Cold and Flu from a government website:(http://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/archives/fdaDrugInfo.cfm?archiveid=38575)
“acesulfame potassium, alcohol, citric acid, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Red No. 40, flavor, high fructose corn syrup, polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, purified water, saccharin sodium, sodium citrate”
Well, well, well. Pretty gross, huh? And that’s in medicine! So this is why I have made my own medicine for the last couple years. I have had great success with the few different recipes I have come across on Pinterest (LOVE that site!). Before starting your own medicines, make sure you have glass jars that have been cleaned and sanitized. The size of the jars will depend on the amount of medicine you plan on making. Another important tool in natural medicine making is a fine mesh strainer, or I like to use cheesecloth that you can find in your local grocery store. Alright…let’s make some medicine!
Elderberry Syrup (Recipe from A Blossoming Life)
- 1/2 cup dried elderberries
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup raw, local honey
- 2/3 cup Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar
Fill a pot with water and add the dried elderberries. Bring to a boil and let boil for 30 minutes. Take off the heat and mash the elderberries well (a potato masher works well). Strain out the liquid into a separate container using the cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Once strained and cooled, add the local honey to the elderberry liquid and mix well. Then add the apple cider vinegar and stir. Place in a jar and put into the fridge for up to 6 months. Adults-1 tbsp/day Children-1 tsp/day
*Elderberries have a high antioxidant capacity that enhances immune function*
Homemade Gingerade (From Cottage Life on Pilgrim’s Farm)
- 1 medium sized root of ginger, grated
- 4 cups hot water
- 1 lime, juice and zest
- raw local honey, to taste
Steep the grated ginger in 4 cups of hot water until the water cools. Strain the ginger juice using cheesecloth. Add the juice of 1 lime to the strained ginger liquid. Sprinkle in lime zest (or you can steep with the ginger in step 1). Add enough raw honey to taste. Store mixture in the fridge.
*Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a powerful antiviral agent *
The last of my favorite medicines is a simple one. It’s an easy-peasy lemon and honey “marmalade”. For this all you need is about 2-3 organic lemons, raw local honey, and a clean, sterilized jar. Wash and slice the lemons thinly and put them into the jar. Pour enough raw honey to cover the lemons. Put on the jar and store in the fridge. Ginger slices can also be added to the mixture, if desired. When cold/flu symptoms hit, add a couple spoonful’s to a mug of warm/hot water and enjoy the relief!