My Winter Wellness Medicine Cabinet
After being knocked out with a 18 hour cold, I knew it was that time to start preparing my winter medicine cabinet.
I had, thankfully, already prepared Elderberry syrup - something just told me last week that this was something I needed to make and right then.
I know that preparing things for the times of winter illnesses is a very relaxing process - like after you make them, you can rest because you know that whatever comes your way, you are ready. If you are the medicine maker in your home, and you get sick, you can let yourself rest because you know that it is all taken care of.
These are the remedies we prepare (not just once a season but when we are well and are out or low).
1) Elderberry Syrup
This is now a quite popular remedy for cold and flu season..and for good reason! My recipe includes Rosehips (sometimes Hawthorn berries), Licorice root, Orange peel, Cinnamon, and Black pepper. Sometimes I will throw in turmeric, but not all the times. I don’t really add Echinancea anymore because to use it effectively, you take it differently than the timeline/dose in Elderberry syrup.
2) Fire cider
Burn that cold away - or just keep that defense system up with fire cider. Just like Elderberry, the recipe can change slightly based on taste preferences and what you have available.
My Eld cider (fire in Swedish) this year contains - ACV, garlic, onion, turmeric, jalapeno, cayenne, and lemon juice.
Last year is had horseradish but I wasn’t able to find that at the time of making this last batch. I have an additional Eld Cider (called Eld Cider #2) which has less jalapeno in it, making it a little more mild for those who have that taste preference. **My Eld Cider will not be available for purchase until January.
I was actually surprised how much I enjoyed fire cider. Sinus congestion? BAM. Your nose will be running ready for action shortly after a shot.
Even just ACV, garlic, and onion - with a healthy addition of honey, makes a beautiful oxymel for kids to enjoy with out all the extra spice.
While my dose in pregnancy will be about half a normal dose (and diluted with water), I know I can trust this to take care of us.
3) Double Immuni-TEA
This tea blend has been in our family for years and in the homes of many happy customers. Its a blend of Nettle, Echinacea purpurea herb, Echinacea angustifolia root, Elderberries, and Peppermint (I substitute Fennel in for nursing mothers who want to opt out of Peppermint).
Safe for the whole family and such a delicious tea, that even people who don’t like tea will find a little delight in drinking it to get well.
Make a large batch of the dried herbs and when the day comes you need it - make several cups at a time and keep it warm in a thermos.
Children don’t need to drink a whole cup…even little ones can enjoy a tablespoon of it on demand through the day. If you are wanting to give it under 1, just leave out the honey and give a 1/2 -1 teaspoon at a time.
4) Sore Throat Pastilles
A little slippery elm or marshmallow powder mixed with a little honey. Roll into a ball and let air dry for 24 hours, then store in fridge.
The beauty of this incredible simple remedy is both the honey AND the mucilage (AKA slimy) of slippery elm or marshmallow. It coats and soothes the inflammation of the throat plus is a very sweet taste!
Get kiddos involved with making them - it might be a little more messy but its lots of fun!
If you don’t want to make it, you can buy Thayer’s Slippery Elm lozenges online. We have used them before and love them.
5) Herb Infused Apple Cider Vinegar
Now this remedy I actually used for my hair rinse for a while before I thought “hey, why not dump this in the bath too?” Before, I had just been using regular raw ACV (with the mother) while sick, along with magnesium flakes or Epsom salts.
This bath helps to stimulate that lymph, open pores (allowing heat out), increase circulation, and boost a little natural detoxification (from the herbs, ACV, magnesium and hot water). We use it for any feeling under the weather but also fevers and congestion.
I use Yarrow, Rosemary, Calendula, Chamomile, Lavender, and Rose (but sometimes not the Lavender or Rose, I go with what I feel but the first four always).
Add a heavy splash to your bath about 1/2-1 cup to your bath.
Keep tuned in for a how to post for making this!!
6) Bone Broth
While this is a powerhouse all year round, it is especially helpful in the winter. Deeply nourishing for the body, it is a easy to digest food for times of illness. Sometimes, when a body is really fighting a virus, it has no energy to eat or if nausea or vomiting present - eating is the last thing that will be happening. Bone broth is there is provide hydration and nutrition.
For those that can tolerate a little more, a little egg dropped into the hot broth can make for a great snack to really give the body energy to fight the virus (it just happens to be one of my favorite snacks anyways). I talk about how much I love it for moms during the postpartum period….its just amazing.
We have both beef and chicken bone broth on hand but beef is my favorite. Use good quality bones - but I have also seen organic bone broth available in the frozen food section at Walmart.
7) Neti Pot with Echinacea or Yarrow
As someone who used to struggle with chronic sinus infections (and got all the lovely antibiotics to go with it), I really REALLY appreciate this. The neti pot on its own is a great way to help with stagnation in the sinuses but the addition of Echinacea or Yarrow tinctures will help to kick infections to the curb.
Additionally, Yarrow will help to dry up the sinuses (it is an astringent herb), so if you just have a lot of mucus, with or without infection….try about 5 drops of Yarrow tincture in your Neti pot (each side)
8) Essential Oils
My favorite essential oils during this time are: Lavender, Chamomile, and Fir needle. Fir needle is my favorite for respiratory support. It is supportive of the lymphatic system AND is gentle enough for children.
Remember Eucaplytus is generally not recommended for children under 10, and even E. radiata contains quite a bit of 1,8 cineole - one of the constituents that can cause breathing issues in children.
Get a roller ready at 1% (1 drop in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil) for children to rub on their chest. Adults can have about 3-5%. Don’t forget you can also diffuse it! If adding to bath, dilute in a carrier oil first.
What about Thieves or OnGuard? While a powerhouse of essential oils, the following populations should avoid it: children under 10, pregnant women, people with epilepsy, and seniors. No exceptions.
So there you have, the remedies we use throughout the winter season. Now, its not exhaustive - we will switch things up as the energetics of the illness calls…and we do compresses on the head or lymph nodes to help feel better but you can bet that we will call upon these remedies.
What are your favorite remedies during the winter season?
**This post was also a podcast episode! If you would like to hear me talk about this more in depth, head on over to listen to this episode