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Kitchen Herbology

There are many items in your kitchen- in the fridge or sitting on shelves or in cupboards- that are capable of helping your family feel better and heal faster from common complaints such as colds and flu. In ‘olden times’ they were commonly used by moms and ‘plain folk’ to help with everyday complaints and disorders. You, too, can create your own herbal pharmacy for your family. These helpful items are the herbs, spices and vegetables commonly found in most kitchens today. The art of using them to create helpful remedies for family life I call ‘Kitchen Herbology’.

Here are some remedy recipes for you to try. Making them now will ensure you will have them when you need them and for the season of colds.

Tincture: Cold and Sinus Remedy

1 oz each:

Cayenne pepper

Ginger root (sliced but peeling is not necessary)

Fresh garlic (peeled and sliced )

Yellow onion (peeled and sliced)

Horseradish (fresh root sliced or from a jar- as pure as possible- not creamed)

One whole lemon sliced with some of its ‘zest’.

Combine all of the above in a large jar that has a lid. Add enough apple cider vinegar to completely cover everything and to fill the jar. No other type of vinegar is suitable. Shake at least once a day for two weeks. Strain and keep in the refrigerator.

It makes the best sore throat gargle. You can swallow 1-2 Tbsp or add 1-2 Tbsp to a pure juice or add hot water to make a tea. Take every 4 hours for the first 2 days of a cold, flu, sinus congestion, allergies. (Don’t wake yourself up in the night to take it. Sleep is too important to the healing process.) Taper off to every 6-8 hours over the next few days as you start to feel better. This remedy will promote perspiration, bowel movements, urination, mucous elimination. My clients also report they love it as a salad dressing!

Tea: Digestive Tonic

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp peppermint

¼ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp ginger (fresh will be a little tastier and effective)

Place all of the above in a small saucepan. Add 1 cup water. Slowly bring to a boil and simmer very gently for 5-10 min. If it continues to boil, turn off heat and let steep for 10 min. Strain and drink. This is an excellent remedy for indigestion, gas, intestinal discomfort and congestion. Often one cup is all you need for relief.

Juicing: Carrot, Beet and Celery

Put through a juicer 4 carrots, 1 beet and 2 stalks of celery. Prepare them as recommended for your juicer. Drink no more than ½- 1 cup of a juiced drink at one time. They are very condensed and power-packed. Have no more than 3 cups in one day. This combination has multiple health benefits. Altogether they cleanse blood, lymph, liver and gall bladder: support the brain and nervous system; flush the kidneys; remedy constipation; ease ‘growing pains’, support teeth and bone growth.

Add 1 grapefruit for colds and sinus problems.

Just a side note. For centuries the English called vegetables ‘herbs’.

As with any natural healing method, common sense and care must be a part of utilizing these kitchen remedies. When there is high fever, pain, profuse bleeding, difficulty in breathing, disorientation, always seek medical help immediately. These remedies are not intended to replace medicine for serious illnesses. Children under 12 always have half the dosage of an adult. Very young children could have very small amounts added to their regular juice. In all cases, adult supervision is assumed.

To be on the safe side and in accordance with professional practice I recommend you consult your medical practitioner for confirmation that these remedies are right for you and your family.

Penny Waters

Master Herbalist


Can be reached at: 208 597 4343 or at

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