Fall Colds

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Easy, Natural Cough and Cold Remedy, plus a bonus


Staying healthy in the fall and winter is not always easy. I take Elderberry Tincture and use essential oils to build my immune system. Chicken stock and bone broth help too. In addition, I have relied upon a simple yet effective natural remedy for colds and coughs for many years, and I wanted to share it with you.

This is so easy to make, and it really packs a punch. You probably already have all the necessary items in your pantry. One nice feature about this recipe is that you can make it up quickly, and scale the quantity up or down easily, according to your needs.


  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper*
  • 1 tsp. minced or powdered* ginger root
  • 1 tsp. minced, juiced or powdered* garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar (if possible, use an organic brand like Braggs, with the “mother”)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey (local, raw and unfiltered, if possible)
  • 1 Tbsp. filtered water if you feel you need it


  1. Dissolve the cayenne, ginger and garlic in the apple cider vinegar.
  2. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough or cold. Always shake before using.

You can leave this mixture out on the counter if you make small batches, or you can keep it in the refrigerator indefinitely.

*Spices do not spoil but they do lose their strength  over time. If your cayenne, ginger or garlic powder is over a year old, it should be replaced, and it is quite inexpensive to do so. Be sure to always buy non-irradiated spices, since irradiation negates the health benefits of spices. I recommend buying from Mountain Rose Herbs or The Bulk Herb Store.

Properties of Ingredients

Cayenne Pepper (capsicum) – Cayenne stimulates digestion as well as circulation and blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body. In addition, it helps regulate blood sugar and has anti-fungal, immune boosting, and detoxifying propertiesBecause it stimulates digestion and circulation, cayenne is often added to a wide variety of herbal remedies; it improves the absorption and circulation of the other herbs throughout the body.

Ginger – As a stimulant, ginger increases peripheral circulation. It is used for nausea and motion sickness, and as an aid in gastric and intestinal pain, It also has anti-spasmotic, diaphoretic, immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties.

Before taking ginger it is important to talk with your doctor if you suffer from a bleeding disorder or take blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin or aspirin).

Garlic – Garlic is antibacterialantiviral and anti-fungal – in other words, a powerhouse. It works like a broad-spectrum antibiotic against bacteria and viruses in the body. And unlike with antibiotics, no resistance can be built up against it.

Here is what Dr. Joseph Alton has to say about garlic in a 2012 article on the medicinal uses of garlic:

“Unlike most herbs, studies have shown garlic to have a direct effectiveness against viruses. There are no known antibiotics that will destroy a viral infection. Colds and influenzas can cause miserable symptoms, and some flu cases can be fatal. Garlic probably works in a two-pronged attack on viruses, both directly and by stimulating your own immune defenses to fight harder. Ingesting fresh garlic may decrease the duration of a viral illness. It is thought that taking garlic before exposure to a virus will lessen your chance of getting the infection in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Apple Cider Vinegar – Acetic acid is the main active compound in vinegar. This is a powerful antimicrobial, and can kill some types of bacteria. Vinegar is known to promote the secretions of the respiratory mucous membranes. The potassium in it thins mucus, and the acetic acid prevents bacteria growth, which could contribute to nasal congestion.

Organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (like Bragg’s) also contains something called the “mother,” which consists of strands of proteins, enzymes and friendly bacteria that give the vinegar a murky, cobweb-like appearance. This is a good thing – it means that your ACV is all natural, and full of healthy amino acids, acetic acid and potassium.

Raw Honey – Raw honey means that the honey has not been pasteurized or heated, which kills off the healthy nutrients. It is full of anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals, and is lauded as anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.

Why buy local honey? There are lots of good reasons. Buying local supports local farmers and thus the local economy. When you buy local, you are actually getting real honey. Have you read lately that most of the “honey” on the store shelves is not acutally honey? Finally, it is possible that local honey can help combat seasonal allergies.

GROSCHE MONACO Glass Teapot with infuser

I drink a lot of herbal teas, and I have begun to use nettle and mullein a lot in the fall and winter. However, here is a simple tea I make when I have respiratory issues, such as wheezing or a moist, productive cough. It has worked very well for me over the years.

Ginger Pepper Tea: Pour boiling water over black tea (either loose tea or a teabag will work fine), and add a thick slice of fresh ginger root and about 1/8 -1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes, strain and sip.

→ Get a pdf downloadable version of these recipes here.

Please note that I am not a doctor or a health practitioner. Please do your own research and due diligence before deciding what is right for you, and consult with your doctor if you have questions.

Disclosure: Some of the links on this post may be affiliate links. That means that if you click on them and decide to buy something I will receive a small percentage of your purchase price. The price that you are charged will not change at all. Thank you for supporting this blog!

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Natural Cures Summit Starts Tomorrow

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Tomorrow is the first day of the Natural Cures Summit. Sign up for free!

They are starting off with some powerful speakers and important topics.

Take charge of your health – learn all that you can.

Start now by registering here.

Sign Up Now for this FREE online seminar

Natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Join The Natural Cures Movement led by Dr. Josh Axe, October 6-13. Free and online! 

Learn how to naturally heal your body!

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Natural Cures Summit – Free Registration

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30 secret cures to naturally heal your body! Natural remedies and treatment protocols for specific conditions like hypothyroidism, autoimmune disease, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Join The Natural Cures Movement led by Dr. Josh Axe, October 6-13. Free and online! 

Hypothyroidism? Autoimmune disease? Arthritis? Inflammatory bowel disease? Join Dr. Josh Axe at The Natural Cures Movement to learn natural remedies for these conditions, and many others! Online for free from October 6-13!

Learn how to naturally heal your body at The Natural Cures Movement, free and online October 6-13! Register today and watch the first 2 talks of the summit today! 



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Preparing for the Flu Season Now with Elderberry Tincture

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Prepare4FluI was getting desperate. The flu bug I had contracted had held on for 2 1/2 months. It didn’t help knowing that my grandfather’s mother died at the age of 36 in the 1919 flu pandemic. She nursed her 7 children through the flu, then succumbed to it herself.

Because of my own past experiences with the flu, I kept thinking it would be over any day. But finally I found myself in the doctor’s office, begging for a prescription of anti-viral medication. Because I didn’t have insurance at this time, cost was going to be an issue. But it couldn’t be helped. Or so I thought.

My doctor’s answer to my request was “No, but I will prescribe something better than an anti-viral drug. I’m going to prescribe elderberry tea. This is far better than any pharmaceutical I could give you, and the best anti-viral medicine there is.”

How had I not heard of this before? And how likely was it that a traditional M.D. would give this advice? I am so grateful that he did.

I bought elderberry tea that afternoon and started drinking it like crazy. All I could find was an echinacea-elderberry blend. It seemed to have more echinacea than elderberry, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I decided to get some dried elderberries to add to the tea. The cost? Less than $10. Within two days I was feeling right as rain. Herbs are amazing! I knew that. Honestly, I did. I just didn’t know enough about them.

Although I had used natural remedies in the past, this experience caused me to realize how little I knew about dealing with health challenges by using herbal remedies and food, and just how high the stakes were. I wanted to know more, and to be prepared for the following year, just in case. This was the first time the flu had hit me so hard and for so long.

EB3At first it was all about elderberries. They are so amazing. They don’t prevent the flu, but they do greatly reduce the time you are ill.¹  I learned to make an elderberry tincture for use the following winter (they take time – 6-8 weeks – so you need to think ahead). Dried elderberries became a pantry staple. I didn’t know that I could get powdered elderberry too. Boosting my immune system² with an addition to my morning smoothie sounded wonderful. Then I learned more about making syrups and oxymels (preparations using acid and honey), and lozenges. I discovered that the home remedy for sore throats that I had been using for ages was actually an oxymel. Who knew?

The Experience Continues

Next came a small herbGardenPlants garden. I’m not growing elderberry or nettles yet, but plan to do so in containers next year. In the meantime, I do grow some vegetables, kitchen herbs, and chamomile for tea. I started small, because it had been a long time since I had a garden. Can’t wait to expand. OK, I am chuckling here, because what really happened is that I started small, then couldn’t help myself, and kept adding and adding different plants within the first month.

MoringaTreeMoringa came next. I bought a little seedling from Blue Yonder Urban Farms. Boy has it grown, but until it is big enough to harvest the leaves I am ordering their Moringa powder for my smoothies. Another whole-food, packed with vitamins, protein, calcium and phyto-nutrients. And one package seems to last forever.

Watching plants grow can be an exciting experience. At least it is to me. And walking out my kitchen door to clip basil or rosemary, or to gather tomatoes or strawberries, is such a wonderful thing. I don’t have a big garden now, but it provides me with quite a feeling of abundance. There is such a richness in working in the earth. And I feel “rich” too, knowing that I am eating what I have grown myself without pesticides.

Organic food costs very little when you grow it yourself, so I’m on my way to being more self-reliant. I grow very little of what I eat now, but it is a step in the right direction. I began by taking baby steps, as we all do. The more I learn and the more I do, the more I want to learn and do.

Who knew that a bad case of the flu would turn out to be such a blessing in disguise?


(to download for printing simply click on the title)

This is so very easy to prepare. You will need the following:

  • A clean mason jar
  • Fresh or dried elderberries (I get my herbs at Mountain Rose Herbs or Bulk Herbs)
  • Vodka*, at least 80% proof  (If you are glutten free, use Smirnoff Vodka, as it is not made with wheat)
  • Amber or cobalt blue tincture bottle(s) with dropper
  • Mesh strainer
  • Funnel


Place the elderberries in the jar so that it is approximately 1/2 full. Then fill the jar with vodka. Leave about an inch of headspace at the top. Now close the jar and give it a shake. Label the bottle with the contents and date, and if you want, include the date it will be ready.

It is as simple as that! Now comes “the waiting game”. Place the jar in a dark cupboard, or simply cover it with a paper bag to keep out the light. Try to shake it each day if you remember. The tincture will be ready in about 6 weeks’ time, so you will need to be patient.

When the time is right, strain the liquid into another clean jar or even a Pyrex measuring cup, using the mesh strainer. If you lay cheesecloth over the strainer before you dump the elderberries and liquid in, once the liquid has passed through you can wrap it around the elderberries and squeeze out all of the remaining goodness. You can now discard the berries. Using a funnel (or not) the tincture is now ready to be poured into the tincture bottles. Use amber or other colored bottles to protect the tincture from light. Be sure to label the bottle(s), including the date prepared, and store either in the cupboard or in the refrigerator.


If you are feeling ill, take tsp. three times a day. You can take it straight, or in a glass of water, fruit juice or tea.

*Why use vodka for the tincture? It will last a long, long time. At least a year. Also, a tincture made with vodka, as opposed to vegetable glycerin for example, is much

¹ http://grapesdoc.wpengine.com/superbugs-are-killing-us/ – “In a double blind clinical trial on patients infected with the influenza virus, 90% of the group taking Elderberry extract recovered completely from the fever, chills, body aches, and cough twice as fast as the group receiving the placebo (within 3 days rather than 7).” 



Disclosure: Some of the links on this site may be affiliate links. If you follow an affiliate link to a company or product and then end up buying something, I get a small percentage of the sale for referring you. Your price is unchanged, and buying stuff you were going to get anyway through affiliate links is a great way to support this blog.

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