This winter my husband and I had an unprecedented number of illnesses. During that time I was able to combine some herbal recipes into one mega recipe that really helped fight sore throat and general head and chest infection symptoms. It's simple and the most of the ingredients are at your grocery store so don't be afraid to try it yourself.
First make Fire Cider
Taking a recipe for 4 Theives vinegar (from the herbs that thieves used to fight the plague while they robbed empty houses in the dark ages) and combining it with Fire Cider I got a super power packed and tasty herbal flavored cider vinegar. Even if you never use it medicinally this vinegar is full of flavor and great for cooking or dressings. The herbs and roots used are famous for their immune boosting properties along with antibacterial and all around health benefits. Here are the ingredients you will need:
1 or 2 quarts of cider vinegar, preferably raw like Braggs
bunch or handful of thyme, rosemary, sage and lavender
head of garlic
hand sized peice of ginger
palm sized chunk of horseradish (optional I usually can't find it so make it without)
1 chili pepper if you like spicy (I don't and usually skip it but it has plenty of benefits)
Don't get to worried about amounts or missing something, you can't mess this up. I used a 'more the merrier' method in creating the recipe but each of these ingredients has plenty of health benefits by themselves so even if you are missing things you'll still have a usefull batch. Simply pack the herbs and roots in a jar and pour vinegar over it till it covers it completely. That's why I am vauge on the amount of vinegar, it depends on how much of the herbs you have. Other than peeling the garlic cloves and maybe chopping the ginger and horseradish into 2 inch chunks everything can go in as it is.
Next you simple let this jar of goodness soak for 1-2 weeks, don't be shocked if the garlic turns bright blue it's fine. After the vinegar has absorbed the essential oils and goodness of the herbs you can drain out it out and the rosy red vinegar is your Fire cider. Throw the remaining herbs away.
To using the Fire Cider,
If you aren't already familiar with the uses and health benefits of cider vinegar a quick google search should give you plenty of ideas. Here are the two main ways I use it:
For cooking I simply add olive oil and salt and pepper for a flavorful dressing and marinade. Yum
For health I make a gargle which really seems to help head, throat and chest infections and illnesses. Here's how you make the gargle.
1/2 cup of the Fire Cider
1/2 cup of water
1 teaspoon of salt, sea salt preferred
1 teaspoon of goldenseal powder
Throw all ingredients in a coverd container you can keep in the fridge and stir to dissolve the salt. You can get golden seal in health food store in capsules which you can open up to get the powder,or you can use a tincture of goldenseal. Goldenseal is a powerful herb in fighting sinus and throat illnesses so I would make an effort to get it, but the salt and cider will also work with out it if not as well. You can use the gargle immediately after mixing it, take a small amount (about a teaspoon) and hold it in your mouth and swish it around. I usually alternate between gargling in my throat and swishing around my mouth, (I find gargling difficult to do) the longer you can keep this in your mouth the more you will absorb the herbal benefits. After 2-5 minutes spit it out, if you swallow it's fine, in fact sometimes I do thinking I'll get even more from it, but it is VERY strong and the goldenseal is bitter so most spit it out. If you find it too acidic or bitter adding a little honey helps and is also good for you. Gargle every 2-4 hours when you are trying to fight illness, I do it as soon as I feel any symptoms and often find this combined with echinacea and vitamin C will stop me from getting sick. The gargle will keep for a coupld of weeks in the fridge.