Winter Wellness

Tis the Season of Sniffles.  Ah-choo.  That hacking cough.  With all the Flu Bombs, throat syrups, cold tonics out there, I thought I'd share the Family Tried & True favorite.  

My Cough & Cold Elixir.  

Don't let the name fool you.  This isn't some sweet, namby-pamby syrup.  No sir-eee.  This will kick your cold in the behind.  The ingredients will help boost your immune system, help as an anti-viral, and may help cut that phlegm.  Ick.  The Uncles ask for it.  Jay and Tom like it.  Even Mom will take it, if she feels bad enough.  We're low, and I make at least a half gallon at a time.  Wanna see?

The Original Recipe

As everyone knows, a recipe is a guideline.  You make it once, then tweak it to your liking, right?  

I staredt with one onion, chunked.  Add 6 cloves of garlic, sliced if you prefer.  1/2 thumb of raw ginger, sliced but no need to peel.  We don't need the extra aggravation, if you're not feeling so great.   We'll need the juice of half a lemon (at least! but it's a start), and thyme and rosemary - half a teaspoon each, dried.  You'll also need 100 ml of maple syrup or honey and 100 ml AVC.  

The Real Deal, Today.  

Since everyone likes it, obviously a couple of cups wasn't going to cut it.  So, as any good herbie would do, we adapt and improvise.  I'm not big on precise amounts.  Today, I started with a good sized sauce pan, into which I added:

  • A couple of chopped onions
  • one whole head of garlic.  I smash and peel the cloves.
  • a 2" piece of raw ginger, sliced not peeled ;)
  • 3-12" sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • a handful of fresh thyme
  • 4-3" slices of dried astragalus
  • 3 or 4 chaga chunks...optional


Cover with half water, half ACV.  Set on the stove, turn the heat to low and simmer as long as you can stand the smell.  That's usually 3 or 4 hours.  Be mindful that once everything is cooking, you'll want to pop on a lid and keep on low, low, low heat.  You're not cooking, but allowing the gentle heat of the water and ACV to pull all the healing properties from the ingredients.  You don't want it to boil, or allow the pan to go dry.  YIKES!  You'll have the clearest of sinuses as you are making this.

Once you have turned off the heat, keep the lid on and allow the brew to cool to room temperature.  I usually let it sit overnight with the lid on.  

Once cool, strain and toss the onions and herbs in the compost.

 To your strained elixir, add

  • the juice of a lemon or two
  • 2 cups of maple syrup or honey, give or take
  • 1 cup RAW ACV, give or take.  


Now, grab you longest wooden spoon and stir!  I decided to go crazy and add both maple syrup AND honey.  Yum! 

And since I was already going crazy, I added about 1/3 cup of homemade elderberry juice. This is almost too good. Once finished, bottle in the vessel of your choice, label and refrigerate.  Enjoy in good health. 

This is almost a Switchel, which is a darn tasty 'Amish' beverage of honey or molasses, water and ACV.  But that's another topic, as is the homemade elderberry juice.  

Shots, anyone?