Archive for Health

Two Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain and Congestion Relief

Two Natural Remedies for Sinus Pain and Congestion ReliefI am just starting to get over being sick.  I don’t often get sick but when I do, I can typically treat whatever I’ve got going on naturally with my herbs.  Namely Fire Cider.  So, when I woke up with a really sore throat and chills, I started with my usual Fire Cider and Ecchinacea Tincture, plenty of vitamins, fluids, and rest.  Four days passed and it just kept getting worse.  What started as a sore throat kind of cold had me laid up in bed and was starting to feel like it was turning into a sinus infection.  I had missed work and my beloved herbs just weren’t doing the trick.  Here’s the thing with treating yourself naturally: you have to know when to say I need to get help.  In my case, I actually tried going to the doctor but that was an effort in futility as she “just couldn’t fit me in.”  (That in itself can turn into a whole a post about what’s wrong with today’s medical establishment, but I don’t want to get too side tracked here…)  I eventually went to a walk in clinic and found out that I had a sinus infection AND an ear infection.  Oy.  I got some meds and went back home to bed.  I was in bed with this crud for a WEEK.  Today marks Day 11 and I’m just starting to feel like myself again.  I’m still totally congested and not even close to being 100%, but at least I’m back on my feet, going to work, and getting some stuff done.

While I was laid up, the sinus pain and pressure as well as congestion (still got the congestion going on actually!) that I was dealing with was bad.  I’m no stranger to a sinus infection and I still thought it was bad.  But there are a few things that will bring some relief.

Hot Compress

One of my favorite ways to get some relief is with a hot compress.  A hot compress will help relieve some of the pain and it will also help loosen the mucus to help ease drainage.  Just get yourself a bowl full of hot water and a washcloth.  I like to keep the bowl nearby so that when the cloth cools, I can dip it back in again.  Just lay your head back, close your eyes, and place the folded cloth over your eyes and nose.  I like to put another small towel on top to help keep the heat and moisture in.  Some people like to alternate with a cold compress, but I find that the cloth cools enough on it’s own before I dip it back into the bowl of hot water.  Apply the hot compress several times during the day.

Steam Inhalation

I’m not usually a fan of wet heat, actually really hot conditions in general (you’ll never see me in a Bikram yoga class), but I really loved doing a steam inhalation during this cold.  It was so relaxing, I actually felt like I was going to start dozing while I was doing it.  Bring a pot of water to boil.  You can use the pot for your inhalation, just be careful you don’t burn yourself on the sides.  I boiled water in my tea kettle and poured it into a lovely, large glass bowl.  Here’s my favorite part: I added essential oils of Eucalyptus, Lavender, and Peppermint to it.  Eucalyptus is well known for it’s use in inhalants and vapor rubs; it is a decongestant and expectorant, among other things.  Peppermint has a high menthol content, making it helpful with respiratory problems as an expectorant.  And I used Lavender primarily for it’s relaxing qualities.  Essential oils are quite powerful, so you don’t need a lot.  I only used a couple of drops of Eucalyptus and Peppermint; maybe only one drop of the Lavender.   Once my water and oils were set, I leaned over the bowl with a towel over my head and inhaled as deeply as could through my nose.  It didn’t take long before I was coming up to grab some tissues to blow!  If you get light headed or just need some cool air during your inhalation, just take a quick break.  I know I did a few times.  Stick with it for about 5-10 minutes; you can do this, too, a few times during the day.

Other Ways to Find Some Relief

  • Humidity, in general, helps with sinus congestion, including: hot soups and teas, hot showers (but don’t go crazy here, as hot showers are extremely drying to your skin), and using a humidifier.
  • Some people swear by their neti pot.  I have a love/hate relationship with it, personally.  I love the concept of it and when I can do it right and see results, I love it.  But, truthfully, I just haven’t gotten the hang of it yet and have struggled with getting the right angle to get the water to flow out the other nostril.  So, yeah, that’s the part I hate.  =)  But, if you’re a fan of the neti, use a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to help fight an infection.
  • Saline mists are another way of irrigating your nasal passages.  You can purchase some over the counter or you can make your own and use it with a bulb syringe.
  • Please keep in mind that saline mists are a very different thing than decongestant sprays.  Decongestant sprays may bring fast relief, but used over time, they lead to nasal passage damage, inflammation, and the inability to respond to the decongestant.
  • Eating spicy foods can also help open up your nasal passages.  If you’re sick and feeling up to, make sure you do the preparation, too.  It’s part of the treatment!  I know that grated fresh horseradish root always helps clear me up.  Other options include chile peppers and wasabi.

Long story short, listen to your body and know when to seek help.

Most illnesses respond well to natural treatments, rest, and nourishment.  But if your body doesn’t respond in an appropriate manner or quickly enough given the situation, consult a medical practitioner (ideally one who is open to and versed in holistic treatments).  In the case of a possible sinus infection, if you have such symptoms as yellow or green mucus discharge, persistent fever or stiff neck, pain for more than 24 hours, persistent nausea or vomiting, you need to seek professional medical advice.  Using natural sinus pain relief is awesome when it’s simply a mild chronic pain or related to a common cold or allergy, but if you have severe pain that is not responding to any natural techniques, you need to see your doctor.

How to Make Powdered Herbs

If you read the post earlier this week on how to make your own herbal supplements, you may be wondering about the powdered herbs that go inside the gel capsules.  In that post, I talked about simply ordering your powdered herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, but there is another way that is both easy and economical: simply powder them yourself.  Herbs tend to lose their efficacy quicker when they are powdered, so doing it yourself only as you need them will help preserve your herbs over time as well.

Garam Masala Photo

  1. If you grow your own herbs, simply harvest, dry, and store them for later use.  Make sure that your herbs are completely dried before storing.  If they are brittle enough to crumble easily, they should be good.  Any moisture left in the plants will cause them to rot.  This is the most economical way of getting your dried and powdered herbs.
  2. If you don’t grow your own herbs, you can still order them from a sustainable source like Mountain Rose Herbs in dried form instead of powdered.  In the example that I used the other day, you may choose to make some Echinacea herbal supplements, but perhaps you’d like to have the herbs on hand to make an infusion as well.  By ordering your herbs dried, you can do both!
  3. In order to powder your dried herbs, you have a few tool options.  The folk method is tried and true and is certainly a connection with herbalism’s roots: the mortar and pestle.  I will say this, though, as nostalgic as the mortar and pestle is, it’s also a lot of work.  I actually prefer to use a modern tool: a coffee grinder.  Some people like using their food processor, Vitamix, or Magic Bullet, but I only powder small amounts of herb at a time and find that a coffee grinder works perfectly.  Here’s a tip: Keep a coffee grinder specifically for herbal use.  You wouldn’t want your morning cup of coffee to taste like lavender or your lavender massage oil to smell like coffee!  I got a brand new one from a thrift store for just a few dollars.  You don’t need anything fancy, in fact, this one is only $10 on Amazon and I’m sure it would work just fine.
  4. Simply add some of your dried herb material to your grinder of choice and either add some elbow grease (if using the mortar and pestle) or press a button.  Whizz until your herbs are a fine powder.  It shouldn’t take long to grind herbs down, but spices and bark will take a little more time or effort.  Make sure you allow your grinder’s motor to rest, if need be.  Once you’re happy with the consistency of your herbs, let the powder settle before you open your grinder, otherwise, you’ll have an herb cloud escape.  Make sure you clean your grinder well after each use.

That’s it!  Easy, huh?  One of the benefits of making your own herbal supplements that I neglected to mention the other day was that by doing it yourself, you have absolute control over what goes into them.  Some companies include fillers, additives, and preservatives.  Seems kind of silly when it’s so simple to make your own herbal concoctions.

Powdered herbs are also used a lot in cooking; such as garlic powder, turmeric, garam masala, or cinnamon.  Other herbal medicinal applications include poultices, salves, extracts, and liniments.

 

A Super Simple Way to Save Money on Your Herbal Supplements

As more studies come out in support of herbal supplementation, the general population is finding it more acceptable to try taking some Echinacea when they feel a cold coming on or to try talking to their doctor to see if St John’s Wort would help with their seasonal depression.  I believe in herbs and have seen time and again that they are effective.  Some people might argue that herbal supplements are a little pricey, but they don’t have to be… if you make them yourself!

 A Super Simple Way to Save Money on Your Herbal Supplements

I just made my first batch of herbal supplements in capsule form.  To date, the most popular forms that my herbal medicine would take is tea and tincture (although, I do love my salves!).  I heard about the Capsule Machine a long time ago, but realized that I NEEDED to get one when I discovered a post from Frugally Sustainable with her Anti-Inflammatory Capsule recipe.  Being the active girl that I am, I can’t avoid the occasional ache and pain, so I really wanted to try treating them herbally.  The Capsule Machine is this awesome little device that allows you to fill your own gelatin capsules with whatever herbal powders you like.    It is so freaking simple to use!  Here is a great video from John Gallagher at LearningHerbs.com on behalf of Mountain Rose Herbs giving you the how to:

Okay, so how is this going to save you some moolah?

By doing it yourself and buying your supplies in bulk (which, let’s face it, the supplies aren’t very big so the “bulk” won’t take up too much room)!  Let’s say that you want to get some Echinacea supplements to have on hand during this brutal winter that we’re having.

You already saw how easy it is to operate the Capsule Machine, now let’s see how doing it yourself breaks down.

So, let’s see…  Yes, you have the initial investment of the Capsule Machine, but after that…

  1. If you want to use the vegetarian capsules on Amazon for $17.75, it would cost $4.44 for 250 capsules.
  2. You will not use that whole 4oz of powdered herb, but definitely at least half of it at $3.50.
  3. Your grand total for homemade Echinacea Purpurea Root Capsules is $7.94.
  4. It should also be noted that each of the empty 00 capsules holds 700mg, which is almost double that of the NOW Foods sample bottle.

That is 43% LESS than that bottle from NOW Foods on Amazon!!

Beat the Heat: How To Make Refreshing Fruit Water

I actually love drinking water. I love a crisp, clean glass first thing in the morning, after a workout, when I wake up in the middle of the night… well, you get the idea. But not everyone is as crazy about plain old water and, let’s face it, variety really is the spice of life. So, if you need a little variety or if you’re one of the millions that are suffering from this recent heat wave, you’re going to need some hydration options.

One of the easiest ways of adding variety to my water routine is by using my Sodastream Soda Maker. Now, I don’t use it to make any sugary sodas (although, they do sell lower calorie soda syrups or you can make them yourself), but simply to make carbonated water. The fizzy water over ice with a splash of lemon or lime juice is so refreshing! You can also mix in some fruit juice for even more variety.

I also make my own fruit and herb infused waters. You’re not going to believe how simple it is when I tell you…

Fruit Water

  • Grab your mason jar (you know how I love my mason jars) or any pitcher, for that matter.
  • Fill it about 1/4 or 1/3 of the way with fresh fruit and herbs.
  • Muddle a little to release the juices; you don’t need to crush your fruit unless you like a lot of pulp floating around. You also don’t need any fancy tools here, a spoon will muddle just fine.
  • Pour in your clean, cool water.  I recommend spring, filtered, or sparkling water.
  • You can drink immediately, but I like to let the water infuse for a little while (anywhere from 2 hours to overnight, depending on the herbs used) with the fruit to get the most fruit flavor in the water.
  • Enjoy!

It’s *that* easy.

Optional:

  • You can fill the rest of the jar with ice before adding water, if you’d like to enjoy your drink sooner rather than later. The ice also acts as a natural strainer, if you’d like to keep the fruit in the container. The ice will actually last some time while refrigerated.
  • You can also strain the fruit/herbs out of the water if you plan on storing in the fridge for a few days. Honestly, mine never lasts that long, so I never bother doing that.
  • If you’d like it a little sweet, add some honey or agave to keep it healthy; avoid granulated sugar.

Here are a few fruit or fruit and herb combinations to spark your creativity:

-strawberries and lemon
-raspberries and lime
-all citrus
-all berry
-cucumber and mint
-watermelon and rosemary
-peach and lemon verbena
-honeydew, mango, pineapple, basil
-lemongrass and mint
-orange and cardamom
-blackberry and rose

I always have some flavor of fruit/herb water going in the fridge (even if it’s just lemon water) and often, the flavor is dictated simply by what I have on hand (fruit never goes to waste around here!). Get creative! I’d love to hear what combinations you come up with in the comments below.

Beat the Heat: Basic Heat Wave Relief Tips

thermometerThe Northeast and parts of the Midwest have been undergoing unbelievable temperatures this week resulting in the first official heat wave of the summer season.  Ugh!  I’m in Florida and we’ve been dealing with the heat, humidity, and daily rains that are typical for us this time of year.  Luckily, we haven’t had triple digit weather!  It sounds like meteorologists are forecasting some rain for this weekend and with it, hopefully, some relief but, in the meantime, I thought we’d talk about some ways to beat the heat.  I’ve got some basics here for you today and will follow up next week with a few more posts including yummy fruit water, a cooling herbal spray, and even some cooling foods.

Water!

You know the drill…  Get your 8 cups daily.  But in the heat, it’s important to drink more because you lose so much of your body’s hydration through sweat.  If you’re going to be outside for any extended amount of time or working out in the heat, be sure to have a sports drink or snack to replenish the electrolytes and salt that you lose through sweat.  Coconut water is a great alternative to the sugary sports drinks: it has more potassium and natural sodium than the sports drinks on the market.  Wellness Mama has a great recipe for making your own sports drink, too!

Timing Your Workout

If you are going to be outside, try to avoid the hottest hours of the day which usually fall between 10:00am and 3:00pm.  If you workout outdoors, definitely try to plan to get out in the early hours of the day or later in the evening when the temperatures are a bit cooler and the sun isn’t so extreme.  Try not to do any intense workouts if you’re not used to the heat because you’ll reach your target heart rate much quicker.  As a reaction to heat, your body will increase blood flow to the skin in an effort to cool off.  This means that there is less blood flow to your muscles and an increased heart rate.

Clothing and Sunscreen

Wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing will help perspiration (your body’s way of cooling itself) evaporate from your skin.  Lighter colors won’t absorb as much heat from the sun and wearing a hat will help keep the sun off your head and out of your eyes.  Be sure to wear sunscreen: sunburn will keep your skin from cooling off and it’s dehydrating.

Check out my post Be Sun Smart! for some more helpful tips.

Sunburn: All Natural Damage Control

Sunburn

Okay, so we had a little chat the other day about staying safe in the sun, but… well… sometimes accidents happen.  Maybe you forgot to reapply your sunscreen or you missed a spot.  Maybe you were outside longer than you intended and didn’t have a cover up or hat with you.  I’m not going to berate you for getting a burn because, well, sometimes shit happens.   So, let’s talk damage control now.  Here are some all natural home remedies that you can do now to help heal your poor raw, red, inflamed skin.

Cooling Relief

Take a cool bath or a gentle shower.  Hot water will actually intensify the pain, so you definitely want to avoid that.  If you have an adjustable shower head, put it on a gentle setting; high pressure will hurt your burn and if you have blisters, you’ll run the risk of popping them.  Avoid using any harsh detergents,  bubble bath, or any soaps with artificial fragrance.  Stick with a gentle, all natural soap and be sure to rinse completely.

Vinegar is an astringent that will help soothe sunburn pain.  Mix 1 cup of apple cider vinegar (you can also use white vinegar, if that’s all you have) in with your cool bath for relief.  Don’t worry, the smell will subside.  You can also put some ACV in a spray bottle and keep it in the fridge to spray on your burn later.

Use a muslin bag (or a tea towel or cheesecloth to create a bag) and fill with oatmeal (rolled oats, not instant).  Mix in some powdered milk, too, if you have some.  Hang the bag from the faucet and let your tub fill with cool water for your bath.  An oatmeal bath is incredibly soothing for a burn.

If you can’t air dry when you get out, gently pat yourself dry.  Rubbing a towel, no matter how soft, over a fresh burn hurts and will only irritate it more.

For some cooling relief outside of the bath or shower, you can also place cool compresses on your skin.  Dampen a wash cloth or tea towel with cold water and apply to the affected area.  Re-wet and reapply as often as necessary.  If you have some chamomile tea, brew a strong pot and let it cool.  Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil (it will help relieve sunburn pain AND even help prevent peeling) and use a clean cloth compress.

Topical Relief

aloeApply aloe vera to the burn.  Check the label before you buy a bottle, though: you want pure aloe vera; many manufacturers add all kinds of nasty ingredients including artificial preservatives and rubbing alcohol (which will only further dry out your skin).  You can also do what I prefer, and just cut a leaf off an aloe plant (aloe is so healing that the plant will actually heal itself where you cut the leaf off).  Slice down the center of the leaf and apply the gel from the inside to your burn.  You don’t have to rub it all the way in; actually, it’s best if you don’t.  Reapply as often as necessary.  You can put your leftover aloe in some plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later.  The refrigeration with keep the aloe fresh and the cool gel will feel amazing on your burn later.  I actually usually have a stash of aloe in the freezer for emergencies: put some of the gel into ice cube trays and freeze.

Burn around the eyes?  Place some cucumber slices around and on your eyes for cooling relief.

Calendula is a well known herb for treating skin conditions, so you can apply calendula ointment to help heal the inflammation.

Witch hazel is an incredible astringent herb that has been shown to have long lasting anti-inflammatory relief.  Moisten a cloth with witch hazel and apply often. 

There are a few natural remedies that I haven’t tried yet, but only because I so very rarely get a sunburn.  Here are a few of them… Yogurt is supposed to be quite cooling to a burn.  Apply full fat, unsweetened yogurt to your burn and let set to cool your skin; rinse off in a cool shower.  The tannins in black tea help soothe and heal a burn: make a pot of strong tea, let cool, dampen a clean cloth in the liquid and apply the compress to the burn.  A folk remedy that’s been around for ages is to apply potato peels to the burn.  The potato provides moisture and its antibacterial properties will help heal.

As your burn begins to heal and doesn’t appear to be quite as red, raw, and painful anymore, treat your skin to some TLC and slather on a good moisturizing lotion.  I really love Lush’s Dream Cream.  It’s a little pricey but a little goes a long way.  It’s *that* moisturizing.  Vitamin E oil is incredibly moisturizing and is an antioxident so it will help repair the damage.  Look for lotions containing it or apply it directly to the skin.

The Basics

A sunburn can be very dehydrating, so make sure you keep  hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Be extra careful to protect your burn if you’ll be back in the sun before it heals.  Stay in the shade, wear protective clothing, and put on sunscreen of at least SPF 30.  Lightweight, loose fitting clothing will be much more comfortable and less irritating to your burn.

This may sound crazy, but it takes your skin three to six months after a sunburn to heal and return to normal.  Three to six months!  In that time, you’ll burn even faster than you did before so please take necessary precautions to prevent that!!  Check out my article on how to Be Sun Smart.

Blisters and Infection

Blisters and infection are a post all onto themselves and, hopefully, your burn wasn’t so extreme as that.  If you do have severe blistering with red streaks extending away from the blister, feel faint or dizzy, extreme thirst but no urine output, fever, or nausea, seek medical attention.

 

Be Sun Smart!

Beach Chairs with UmbrellasIt’s official!  Summer has arrived!  And with summer, we have the beach and pool, barbecues and parties, baseball, bicycling, volleyball, and all kinds of other amazing outdoor activities that we spend the winter pining for.  But along with all of that outdoor fun, comes the sun.  I *love* spending time outside, but (not to be Debbie Downer) skin cancer is in my family, so I take a few precautions before heading out.  Even if your family history doesn’t include the C word, you should still protect your skin.  Sun exposure can lead to freckles, wrinkles, and discolored areas of skin.  The sun’s UV light damages elastin and when these fibers break down, skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose the ability to go back into place after stretching.  And nobody wants that.  Here are some things you can do to protect your skin and enjoy your summer!

Sunscreen

  • The No. 1 rule of skin cancer prevention: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater, blocking UVA and UVB rays) daily.  Always apply 30 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more often if you’re swimming and/or sweating.  Sunscreen containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide actually block the UV rays.
  • Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen.  Picture a shot glass.  Go pull one out of the bar, if you have to.  That’s how much sunscreen you need to apply to get adequate coverage.
  • Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, neck, and tops of hands and feet.  They are the most commonly forgotten areas and burn quick.
  • Avoid direct sun exposure during peak UV radiation hours (between 10:00am and 2:00pm).  If you are outside, lounging at the beach, at least find you way under a nice umbrella.  And maybe scope out a drink with an umbrella in it, too.

Eat Your Protection

  • You can help protect your skin from the inside out.  Eat a diet with a variety of antioxidant rich foods including colorful fruits and vegetables.  Antioxidants help prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue.  And what is sunburn/tan?  It is an inflammation of the skin due to overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.  (Doesn’t sound too good like that does it?)  Vitamins A, C, E, and the mineral selenium are thought to be helpful for the skin.  They all fight free radicals; vitamins A and C encourage cell and tissue regrowth, helping the body repair itself.
  • Some antioxidant rich foods include: spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, green tea, spirulina, dark chocolate (2 oz. of the good stuff daily!), pomegranates, berries, kiwi, papaya, citrus fruit.

Clothing and Accessories

  • You know that poor pale kid that you see in the water at the beach in a soaking white T-shirt?  He’s actually onto something.  All fabric disrupts UV radiation to some degree, but clothes with a UPF rating of 15-50 does the best job of it.  Not everyone needs to wear special clothing, but it is something to consider if you’re fair skinned or sun-sensitive, children are good candidates, and people spending time at a high elevation, in equatorial regions, or on reflective surfaces (think snow, sand, and water).  While the pasty kid at the beach has the right idea, he isn’t doing too terribly much good in that white T-shirt: it only fall between UPF 5 and UPF 8, so it can let through as much at 20% UV radiation.
  • Protect your face, ears, and neck with a wide brimmed hat.  There are so many fun options for hats!  I always have a baseball hat in my truck, but (admittedly) that’s really not the best option for sun protection.  The wide brimmed, floppy hat not really your thing?  Check out the sporty bucket hats that have UPF protection!  I have one with UPF 50 and love it.  I also love sporting one of my straw cowboy hats.
  • Please, please, please protect your eyes!  Sunglasses with UV protection are a must for protecting your eyes from the UV light that’s not just glaring down from the sun, but also bouncing off the sand and water into your eyes.  You can even find contact lenses with UV protection.

Prevention

Okay, I know we don’t really want to talk about the C word (ssssh… cancer), but here are a couple important points.

  • If a close relative has had breast or ovarian cancer (studies have shown that people with the gene mutation that ups your hereditary risk for these cancers also makes you more likely to develop melanoma) or has had melanoma, see a dermatologist 1-2 times a year for a skin screening and be sun smart.
  • Do your own skin screenings in addition to seeing a dermatologist to familiarize yourself with existing moles and marks and to notice any changes or new growths.  Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you have any concerns.  Do not ignore any part of your body: melanoma most often occurs in places that you’ve been burnt, but can show up anywhere (including hard to imagine places like under your nails).

You don’t have to be afraid to go outside and enjoy the warm weather, just be smart about it!  Apply some sunblock, throw on a hat and go play some volleyball!

Fight the Flu with Fire Cider

This has got to have been one of the worst winters in recent history for the amount of people getting the flu.  It may be the start of spring, but there are still plenty of people getting snow and with that brutal weather, plenty of people are still getting sick.  Not to worry, I’ve got a great antidote that will kick that flu’s…  Well, let’s just say, it works.  It works really, really well.

Fire Cider is my favorite flu fighting herbal concoction!

Fire Cider

Fire Cider is an amazing flu fighter, but it is also fantastic against colds, sinus issues, congestion, or really anytime your immunity needs a boost.

There are many different variations to the recipe attributed to many herbalists, but most people seem to associate the original recipe with Rosemary Gladstar. Because the herbs used are immune boosting, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, decongestant, and stimulate the circulatory system, some people use it as a tonic and drink small amounts daily (especially in the fall and winter). Others use it at the first sign of a cold. You can take a tablespoon straight or even use it in soups, salads, and other cooking creations.  Some folks let it steep for two weeks, others two to three months. I like to start my infusion on the day of the new moon and extract it on the day of the full moon.  I typically use the traditional ingredients listed, but also sometimes incorporate turmeric, jalapenos, rosemary, lemon, astragalus, oregano, etc.  Because  this herbal concoction is a folk remedy, it has a tremendous amount of leeway to incorporate your favorite infection fighting, antibacterial, antiviral herbs depending on what’s available to you.

Fire Cider Basic Recipe

1/4-1/2 cup horseradish root, grated (this is a sinus opener!)
1/8-1/4 cup garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup ginger, grated
1/2-1 whole fresh cayenne pepper OR 1 tsp dried cayenne powder
apple cider vinegar, preferably organic, enough to cover herbs 1-2″
honey, to taste

Place herbs in jar. Pour vinegar and cover herbs by one to two inches. Seal jar tightly with a plastic lid or line the lid with parchment or wax paper (vinegar will react with metal).  Give it a shake every day to stir up the herbs and give it some love.  Keep an eye on it, you’ll be able to tell when your herbs are spent.  Cover the jar opening with cheesecloth to strain herbs (squeeze as much liquid out of the herbs as possible!) and pour the filtered vinegar into a glass jar. Add honey to taste, if you’d like to sweeten it (it’s not for the faint of heart straight up!). Fire Cider may be kept unrefrigerated since vinegar is a natural preservative.

To Use
If you’d like to use it as a tonic, a tablespoon a day would work. Take up to 3 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold or upper respiratory infection and continue throughout the day (every 2 to 3 hours) until the symptoms subside. Drink it straight or dilute it in a bit or water or even tomato juice.  You can make a tea by mixing some with hot water, lemon, and honey.

It can also be used as a base for salad dressings, a seasoning in soups, or even to flavor steamed veggies.

Externally, rub it directly on the skin (avoid cuts) or use as a compress for sore muscles or to aid in peripheral (hands and feet) circulation. You can also soak a clean cloth in it to be placed on a congested chest.

Some Beneficial Properties of the Herbs
Ginger aids in stomach issues including nausea and vomiting and sluggish digestion. It stimulates circulation. Ginger is useful for all types of congestion in the body.

Horseradish RootHorseradish has antibacterial properties and is of benefit in respiratory tract and urinary tract infections. It is often used as a digestive agent. Horseradish is a good diuretic that promotes perspiration. It is an expectorant and mildly antibiotic.

Garlic is an amazing antimicrobial and antibacterial making it useful in treating bladder and kidney infections, yeast infections, strep throats, and ear infections. It supports healthy immune function and opens the pores of the skin to lower a fever. It lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, and has an overall beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system.

Cayenne is an intense circulatory stimulant, promotes the movement of mucous from the body, and is an anti-inflammatory.

In addition to just being tasty, onions are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and high in anti-oxidents.

**Please consult with an herbalist or your doctor before using Fire Cider if you are taking any medication with blood thinning properties.  For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.**