The cold and flu season is starting early in some places (eg. my household). On average, a child can catch between 4-5 colds per year, while an adult can come down with a cold 2-3 times per year. The flu virus can take out even a grown-up for a full week at a time. In my household, when the first symptoms appear, or better yet - even before they show up - I like to make these natural tonics to soothe, comfort, and boost the immune system.
1. Apple Green Tea Tonic
I love this drink because it gives me a mini-boost of caffeine while adding a jolt of vitamins and minerals that I need to stay healthy. Green tea is high in polyphenols which are phytochemicals that function as antioxidants. In particular, the flavonoid catechin is associated with the benefits that studies have found with green tea.
Put in a saucepan - 4 cups water, 1 organic apple (cut into wedges), 1 cinnamon stick, 2 inch piece fresh ginger (sliced), 1 tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of black pepper, and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Bring to a boil and simmer on low for 30 mins. Add 2 green tea bags and simmer for another 5 minutes. After the tea has steeped, remove the tea bags and add in 2 tbs honey and 2 tbs organic apple cider vinegar. Strain tea into a teapot and serve hot.
2. Spicy Cider Tonic
You may have heard of "fire cider" - a long-time favorite in the herbal community, this drink is even bottled and sold in stores nowadays. Our adaptation is less spicy (although you can certainly amp up the spice if you wish). It's a flavorful combination of hot, sour, and sweet. Better yet, each ingredient brings different anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and digestive properties that can help you stay healthy.
Combine 1/4 cup grated fresh ginger root, 1/4 cup grated horseradish root, 1/8 cup crushed garlic, and a pinch of cayenne pepper in a mason jar. Top up with organic apple cider vinegar to cover the herbs by 1-2 inches. Seal tightly and let sit in a cool place for 2 weeks. When ready to drink, strain and add honey to taste.
3. Honey Ginger Tonic
Mix together 1/4 cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/4 cup raw local honey, and 1/4 cup hot water. Stir until dissolved. Grate some fresh ginger into cup before drinking.
Fresh ginger can be spicy, so don't overdo it. Use raw local honey for its natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The ginger helps to settle the stomach, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Apple cider vinegar has vitamins, mineral salts, amino acids and other polyphenols.
4. Cayenne Lemon Tonic
Put 1/4 cup raw local honey, 3 cups warm water, 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice, 1 tbs minced fresh ginger, and a pinch of cayenne pepper into a blender. Blend until well-combined.
The spiciness of the cayenne pepper helps to clear out the sinus. It is also balanced by the sweetness of the honey, and the freshness of the lemon juice (which also gives your body an extra boost of Vitamin C!) If preparing this tonic for a child, feel free to omit the cayenne pepper for a gentle drink.
5. Turmeric Citrus Tonic
This drink is best consumed on a regular basis to support a healthy immune system. With fresh orange and lemon juices as a base, this tonic contains high amounts of Vitamin C and antioxidants, which help to fight off colds and flus.
Blend 1 peeled orange, 1 peeled lemon, 2 tbs Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, 1/2 inch of fresh ginger root, 1/2 inch of fresh turmeric root, and 2 tbs honey together until smooth. This gives you a strong concentrate that you can store in your fridge for a few days. Add 2 tbs of this concentrated tonic to a glass of warm water to drink.
We hope you enjoy these warming tonics this fall and winter. Stay healthy!