In addition to the various flu permutations, there is a nasty upper respiratory illness going around this winter. Many friends and family members have experienced it over the holidays in November and December. Luckily, I’ve kept the flu at bay AND missed all the sinus hoopla with my regular herbal regimen keeping me healthy through all the germ-sharing, cousin-kissing and close-proximity hugging events of the season. Then we had a warm week at the end of January here in northwest NJ, and I let my usual herbal protocols slide… big mistake! That gave this sinus/upper respiratory ‘bug’ a chance to get stronger – so by the time it caught me in mid-February, it was not to be contained. I first thought it was allergies because the cough started after two particularly blustery days – when all the wet leaves, mold and debris left from Super-storm Sandy was airborne again.
Apparently, I was quite mistaken! After seven days of medicinal botanicals, including herbal steams, essential oil steams, elderberry elixir, yin qiao formula, a proprietary medicinal mushroom/fu zheng formula, chuan xin lian formula, Vitamin D3 supplementation, onion honey, using a neti-pot, and even Dr. Gwen Scott’s ‘vinegar-cayenne-lemon-garlic-star anise’ tea – I went to the Dr because the coughing was just too forceful having broken a blood vessel in my eye and my ribs / intercostal muscles were just too painful to touch. A 5-day round of Zythromax, bolstered with the above listed herbal regimen finally knocked out the sinus condition and reduced the post-nasal drip to tolerable levels. I haven’t been this sick since November 2010, and hadn't needed a Dr. for winter-related ills since 2006. A lingering cough still taunts me, and I am told it could last for several more weeks.
Why mention all this? Because – as the Universe would have it – I missed the “Master Tonic Party” with one of my herbal FB groups back in December, and now fresh from experiencing the worst sinus condition in many, many years, I just created my Master Tonic today, on the New Moon, and it will steep until the Full Moon on March 27.
And I wanted to share this with all of you so that you don’t get this sick either. Ever!
So what is a “Master Tonic”?
A “ Master Tonic is meant to cure all that ails you. It is not for the faint of heart, but it IS a wonderful tonic that can help keep you healthy every day of the year. There are many variations, and it is called by many names (for example, Dr. Christopher calls his a ‘plague formula’. Another name is “Mega-Death Sauce”, while another is “Cyclone Cider”) and the bottom line is that it is full of antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic foods and herbs that is meant to ward off even the most virulent strains of cold, flu, pneumonia, etc. that the infectious world can dream up. Some say that with a Master Tonic and a little bit of raw-milk kefir, we would cure the world.
This is one of the easiest kitchen medicine formulas that you could ever create. You might want to wear gloves and make this Tonic in a well ventilated area. Here is what the basic recipe consists of – use equal parts if possible:
|From left: Horseradish root, onions, garlic, |
serrano, habanero, ginger root
Garlic: antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antiviral.
Onions: use white onions or the hottest onions you can find – similar properties to garlic.
Horseradish root: increases blood flow to the head, clears sinuses.
Ginger: increases circulation to the extremities
Hot peppers: Cayenne, Habanero, Jalapeno, Serrano … any combination of the hottest peppers available!
Ok, so I didn’t exactly have equal parts of each ingredient, but I am pretty sure it will be hot enough to do the job! You really cannot mess this up.
Preparation: Peel each root ingredient, except for the peppers. I blended each one up in the food processor. (Note to self: next time use narrower horseradish root so that it is easier to chop before trying to run it thru the food processor!) If you coarsely chop the ingredients, it is more mild than if you finely chop or puree the ingredients in a food processor. Coarse chopped makes it more palatable for children..
Fill a large glass jar approximately ¾ of the way to the top – I used a half gallon mason jar. You want something with a tight fitting lid, but not a container so big that you cannot shake it each day. Then fill the jar with raw, unfiltered, unbleached, undistilled apple cider vinegar.
Close and shake vigorously and then top off the vinegar if necessary. Make this tonic formula on the NEW moon and strain and bottle on the FULL moon, (approximately 14 days). Filter the mixture through a clean piece of cotton, cheesecloth or a very fine sieve. Remember to bottle and label.
Usage: Strain the solids from the vinegar liquid through several layers of cheesecloth lined in a fine sieve into a clean glass jar. I have found that using a canning funnel works best as it has a wide mouth and you can rest the sieve on it easily. Note: Since the solid herb ingredients will retain almost the same potency as the vinegar liquid, you can use these again. They can be pureed and used with honey and lemon for a meat marinade or salad dressing. Or, you can mix with peanut oil or toasted sesame oil and use to roast a chicken. You can freeze the solid mash in ice-cube trays and add to soups or bone broth soup for an added zesty-ness. This formula will not spoil unless mixed with new ingredients. It is also delicious on fish: salmon, trout, etc.
Dosage:Use vinegar tonic 1/2 to 1 ounce, two or more times daily, gargle and swallow.
You can eat the solid herb mash on toast or crackers.
It can be especially warming when one comes in from the cold, snowy, windy or wet weather. Even just a quick sniff will clear stuffy sinuses.
Notes: Store your vinegar tonic in a dark place as light will deteriorate it. You can put the jar in a paper bag for the brewing and shaking process. Vinegar tonics can last indefinitely, while herbs can lose potency within a year. Also, vinegar tonics can enter your system in seconds, as compared with dry herbs in capsules which have to be digested first.
According to one source, "This tonic is extremely powerful, because all the ingredients are fresh. Its power should not be underestimated. This formula is a modern day plague tonic. It is said that when added to an incurable routine it could cure the most chronic conditions and stubborn diseases. It stimulates maximum blood circulation, while putting the best detoxifying herbs into the blood. This formula is not just for the sniffles, it has helped to turn around the deadliest diseases."
Dr. Richard Schulz writes: "...I designed this formula as a fresh herb alternative to Dr. Christopher’s plague formula, to be more alive, an herbal juice tonic, and believe me, you don’t want to be without formulas like this when you or your loved ones get ill; it will save your life. Make up plenty, it can’t go bad because vinegar already is (fermented), and will last almost forever".
Caution: Ginger moves the blood. Avoid excess ginger with pregnancy.
Here is an article that further describes the various benefits of using this Master Tonic: http://fairhillsfarm.com/2008/12/11/some-good-old-fashioned-horseradish/
Here is a video so you can see how easy this Tonic is to make: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wQbGDmaKZc
Whew~ this is potent stuff!
Update: April, 2014: The pulp can also be used, and many of my clients have been quite creative: one makes it into salad dressing, another adds a teaspoon to scrambled eggs, another puts about half a teaspoon on a cracker. Still another makes it into a meat or vegetable marinade. I like to freeze it in ice cube trays and then toss one cube into soup, stew, chili, etc. to give it a little zing.
I have also found that because of the powerful kick this tonic can have, that it is easier to take a dose when it is COLD, so you might consider storing it in the fridge.
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