Every Autumn when the weather starts to cool down and I begin to interact with more people on the day-job, I inevitably come down with a bad head cold. This year I thought I would start early — last March to be exact — in developing ways to build my immune system. One of those ways was to make a batch of what I call “winter tonic.” This is an old folk remedy with many names. I am going to start taking a daily teaspoonful dose in hope that this spicy concoction will minimize my acquisition of a nasty cold. Or is it decoction? Maybe it might be a type of tincture? Whatever… a jar has been sitting in my refrigerator all spring and summer so it is good and potent now.
When I made it last Spring, I mixed together chopped onion, garlic, fresh horseradish, fresh ginger, fresh turmeric, honey, cayenne and star anise, put this all in a glass jar covered with apple cider vinegar and let sit in the refrigerator for a month. I then strained the solids out of it. At that point it was ready for consumption. I have to admit that at the very least it will clear sinuses — or be put to use as a salad dressing. I will see about the immune-boosting qualities as the season progresses.
I got this recipe from a master herbalist: