It's official. Cold and flu season is here.
After experiencing the first wave of illness in my house this year, I was inspired to share a few recipes that I use, some things I have picked up over the years, that can help boost immunity naturally and lessen the severity of colds and flu.*
Elderberry is known for its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Here is a great, simple recipe. Definitely a staple in our house. I make one batch every year and I can confidently say, even my kids love it.
Good for a boost if you feel you are beginning to get sick or as a preemptive measure if you've been around anyone who is sick . Adults take between 1 tsp and 1 tbsp twice a day. Children 2-5 can take 1/2 the adult dose. Ages 6-12 take 1 tsp twice daily.
- 3 cups fresh elderberries, or 1 cup dried (can be found at natural foods markets)
- 3 cups filtered water
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
- Juice of 1 lime (or lemon juice will work)
- 1 ounce echinacea tincture (also available at natural foods market. You can alternately use dried echinacea – about 1/2 cup)
- Combine berries, ginger, water (and if you're using dried echinacea) in a stainless steel pot. Bring to a simmer. Do not boil!
- Gently simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, until reduced by half.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Strain well using cheesecloth so that you can squeeze the berries.
- At this point you can measure what liquid you've collected (usually about 1 1/2 cups) and combine with equal parts honey.
- Add the lime/lemon juice and allow to cool completely.
- Once cooled, here is where you would add the echinicea tincture.
- Store in a 1 qt mason jar. Don't forget to label with the date. This syrup will keep for up to 1 year.
Hot Ginger Lemonade
Great when you are in the thick of it. This can provide relief when experiencing the fever and the body/headaches of the flu. *Ginger is not recommended for children under 2 or pregnant and/or nursing moms.
- 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch ground cayenne pepper
Simply combine all ingredients with 1 1/2 cups hot boiling water. Strain and drink as a warm tea. Amazing.
Also great when experiencing symptoms of a cold, garlic has wonderful antibacterial properties. This can help reduce the duration and severity of colds. It tastes like regular lemonade with the essence or smell of garlic. Interesting, this beverage can take some getting used to.
- Garlic – a handful, about 7-10 cloves
- Juice of 3-4 lemons
- Honey – 1/4 cup or to taste
- 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger (optional – can be too spicy for children)
- Coarsely chop garlic.
- Pour approx. 1 quart boiling water over garlic (and optional ginger)
- Cover and allow to infuse 4-8 hours or overnight.
- When the infusion is ready, reheat gently (do not boil) enough to get a nice steam rising.
- Remove from heat and add lemon juice and honey.
Can be enjoyed warm or cold.
The last thing I will share with you is a room spray I use to decrease airborne bacteria. The spray incorporates a blend of essential oils known as the Thieves Oil Blend. This mix of essential oils, which I also use as part of a natural yoga mat cleaner, was reportedly used by a group of thieves who robbed the dead and dying victims of the bubonic plague. According to the story, the robbers did not contract the infection. As an added bonus – this room spray smells wonderful!
Simply combine equal parts (5 drops each) rosemary, clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and lemon essential oils with 1 tbsp food grade alcohol and 4 oz. water and keep in a spritzer bottle to spray periodically.
So, there you have it.
Here's to a happy, healthy winter and holiday season for us all!
Lots f Love,
*Thanks and credit to a lovely group of Asheville Mamas for inspiring this post and sharing their cold season wisdom.