The season of cold, dry air is upon us and with this change we are seeing a lot of coughs and colds arising. If you are struggling with this weather transition, consider the following tips.
- Eat seasonally and locally. Foods that are growing this time of year are rich in nutrients and phyto-chemicals that support our bodies through fall and winter. When they are local they come with a bit of any dirt or microbes that are in our environment which help to strengthen our microbiome. Also, plants growing in your environment are exposed to the same conditions as you thus creating chemicals to endure this climate that are in turn utilized by your body to strengthen your own internal environment (medicinal compounds in plants are sometimes referred to as the ‘immune system’ of a plant, as these compounds are created when a plant is under stress, like wind or drought or cold).
- Consume fermented foods that are rich in probiotics like sour kraut, yogurt, kefir, and our current favorite- ginger carrots. Probiotics strengthen the immune system and the more diversity you can get from a variety of sources, the better.
- Eat cooked, warm food. Keep that digestive fire alive by eating pre-digested (cooked) foods! Cooking our food makes it easier on our digestive system and releases more available nutrients. Drinking warm beverages and cooked foods maintains a healthy digestive system, especially during these cold winter months.
- Utilize root and bark herbal medicines that are abundant this time of year! Roots and barks will contain compounds that strengthen our immune system and are typically plants that support the conditions we deal with in the winter.
- A few great examples are: astragalus root, ginger root, wild cherry bark, cinnamon bark, echinacea root, marshmallow root, elecampane root, dandelion and burdock root.
Below you’ll find a fabulous herbal remedy to use all winter long! This syrup will support your respiratory system and strengthen the immune system. Use this as a cough syrup as needed or as a daily tonic to keep illnesses at bay or to recover from a respiratory infection.
Root & Bark Winter Syrup
1 oz Wild Cherry bark
0.5 oz Astragalus root
1 t Cinnamon
1 inch fresh thumb of Ginger root
1.5 C raw local honey
3 C water
Start by placing 3 cups of cold water into a medium sized pot on the stove. Mix in all of the herbs and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low rolling simmer and allow to cook until the water is reduced by ½ (you can measure this by marking a spoon or chopstick and checking the water level every so often). Allow to cool before straining through a mesh strainer. Then mix in your honey and stir with a spoon to fully incorporate. Don’t add the honey until it has cooled off quite a bit, as heating raw honey above 110 degrees will destroy vital healing components the honey contains. Store in a glass jar in the fridge.
** If your family is prone to dry coughs, add 1/2 oz of marshmallow root to your mix.
As a daily tonic, consume 1-2 tablespoons 1-2x/day. Children, take 1-2 teaspoons 1-2x/day.