Sunday, March 6, 2011

master tonic

More than usual this winter, I have had to put a lot of effort into resisting the cold and flu bugs that are going around. A couple of times I did get sick for a few days, but much more often I have been on the verge of getting sick, and knew that I needed to give my immune system some extra support.

This was my situation yesterday. Last week I had a cold for a few days, and then was feeling better, but on Friday I was around a coworker who was coughing a lot, and woke up Saturday feeling vulnerable again, with some irritation in my throat. So I headed to Whole Food's to stock up on some natural remedies, even though I had spent a significant amount of money just the week before. I was going through them quickly! Scanning the shelves, I was weary of the cash I have been spending on these fancy pills, syrups, and lozenges.

I picked up a product called Cyclone Cider Herbal Tonic, and realized that it is very similar to a simple tonic that my friend Jon has concocted for years at home, and occasionally shared with me. I decided that it was time I learn how to make my own, and I ditched Whole Food's and went to the regular grocery store to get my supplies.

This tonic is made of very common ingredients, but it is very powerful. These are the roots and vegetables that have throughout human history been used to destroy harmful bacterial or viral infections, to increase circulation, and to alleviate congestion. It is no surprise that people have found ways over time to incorporate these medicinal plants into their everyday cooking, and that they are so ubiquitous today.

Equal parts garlic, ginger, horseradish, onions, and hot peppers (preferrably cayenne but it doesn't matter much), are grated, or chopped fine, or pulverized, and placed in a jar. Unfiltered apple cider vinegar is poured over this mixture to cover, and then the brew is left to steep for a while; a week or two, or a month, or longer. The important thing is to shake the container every day or two. The liquid is strained off into another container, and is ready to be used. The photo below shows my new bounty.

I filled four 32 oz Mason jars, and expect to end up with 64 oz of the tonic. I paid about $20 for the ingredients, which means I will end up paying 31¢ per ounce. The similar formula I saw at Whole Food's was $15 for 2 oz, and $25 for 4 oz! And the truth is that most natural supplements at health food stores are within a similar high price range. I am planning to see if this formula can do the job for me and save me a small fortune from now on.

If you would like more information, below is an excellent YouTube tutorial on how to make the Master Tonic. I wish you great health!