Yep, it's that time of year again and for all the loveliness that a southern winter brings - the cosy jackets, warm fires, clear crisp weather that's just terrific for gardening (no sweating, no sunburn, no mozzies, no flies and no snakes hallelujah!) - it also brings those beastly bugs that cause sniffles, sneezes and snotty noses. Last year, our eldest managed to bring home a ridiculous number of colds from school... no joke, every.single.one going around. We're not generally a sickly bunch but one by one, over and over and again, we all went down. I vowed this year would be different. This year, I'm going in armed to the teeth with some homemade echinacea tincture and Nanna's Old Cold Remedy.
Mum pulled this old chesnut out of the bag at the end of last year after I landed on her doorstep trying to farm out two active children so I could curl up in front of the fire with weeping red eyes and a big box of tissues. She deposited the kids down the shed with Poppy and set to work rustling up a quick batch of Nanna's Old Cold Remedy for me. In no more than twenty minutes, I had a cup in hand with two extra bottles and a copy of the recipe for my own archives ready to take home. Sure, her efficiency may suggest that she wanted the germs out of her house quick smart but when the first of the lurgies hit this season, I found it was pretty quick and easy to make too.
Nannas Old Cold Remedy
1 x bulb of garlic
1 x knob of ginger
1/4 cup of honey
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
2 x lemons
4 x oranges
Saucepan of filtered water
(and any other squeezable citrus you have at hand)
The reason you should cool the mixture before adding the citrus juices is that vitamin C is destroyed by heat so this way ensures that you retain the maximum amount of goodness. (*NB - I've also tweaked the recipe since this was posted as it was pointed out that boiling the honey may not be so good for the beneficial bacteria and active antibacterial compounds). The mixture will store well in the fridge for a couple of days but the idea is to drink as much as you can until it's all gone and make fresh batches as needed.
Now my echinacea tincture is a whole other recipe - you can read about that in the back issues of Earth Garden Magazine if you're a subscriber. Be warned however...my tincture base is vodka so A) it's not for kiddies B) it's not recommended if one intends to drive or operate heavy machinery.
I found myself spiking my Nanna's Old Cold Remedy with a liberal splash of my homemade echinacea tincture in the evening and that worked out just fine. Yep... everything was fine and dandy after that...zzzzzzzzzzzz.
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