A friend recently emailed to ask what advice we might have for winter tonics, in preparation for coughs and colds that might be coming on during this season. Of course, doing long term immune boosting ahead of time is always good, but here are some quicker solutions that we like to employ as well at the first sign of a scratchy throat when we feel a cold is coming on...
1) Miso soup - this is our vegetarian version of good old homemade "chicken soup" - we make our miso soup with a strong broth of fresh ginger, garlic and cayenne peppers, plus apple cider vinegar, tamari, some kale, carrots, onion and tofu, and then the miso paste stirred in at the last minute (you generally don't want to boil miso or the health benefits are largely lost)
2) Fresh juices - made with organic carrots, ginger, garlic, parsley (and orange or lemon if you have it)
3) Hot lemon ginger tea - boiled with water on the stovetop, and honey or maple syrup added to sweeten
4) Tinctures - taken 3 tsp/day for acute situations - rosehip, astragalus, horehound, echinacea (all prepared in the fall and stocked in the cupboard for winter care)
5) Sage cough syrup and horehound cough candy - see recipe in my earlier post - this syrup and cough candy may not taste divine, but it works wonders to ease coughs and colds
6) Eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil in a hot bath - great for easing congestion
7) Sage steam - to ease congestion (pour boiling water into large stainless steel bowl, cover head with a towel and lean over to inhale the steam and heat as long as you can stand it - this works well for clearing a stuffy nose)
Many more great suggestions in Rosemary Gladstar's The Family Herbal: A Guide to Living Life with Energy, Health and Vitality. Currently this amazing resource book is unfortunately out of print, but try looking for it at your local library or health food store.