Today I’m going to share with you how to make two traditional herbal remedies for immune support. After that, I’m going to tell you what their benefits are, as well as how to use them to keep your family well through the winter.
Just a few generations ago, practically every woman had a knowledge of medicinal herbs. It was an important part of her God-given role as nurturer of the family. Doctors were expensive, and were not always easy to come by. And the first synthetic drug, chloral hydrate, wasn’t discovered until 1869. Therefore, it was largely up to women to care for their families health with herbal remedies.
Modern women can and should reclaim the skill of herbalism! Unlike some of the other traditional skills that are being lost, herbalism does not require you to have a farm. It does not even require you to have a garden (though I do think it is worthwhile!). You can source nearly any herb you need online.
I grow a large range of medicinal herbs in my homestead garden. I like to cultivate native Midwestern herbs such as Echinacea. In addition, I also grow classic herbs like Parsley, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage, Thyme and Oregano. These are the herbs I will be using for the two remedy recipes I am sharing with you today!
How to Make Herbal Remedies For Immune Support: Echinacea Tincture and Thieves Vinegar
Watch the video above to see my process and hear more about the specific benefits of these herbal remedies!
How to Make Echinacea Tincture
- Clean Glass Jar with Lid
- Echinacea leaves, stems and flowers
- Vodka or Brandy
First, cut and gather your echinacea.
Second, sort through it and remove any browned leaves or flower petals.
Third, wash your echinacea by gently swirling in a sink of cool water. Drain the water and repeat this process as many times as necessary for the water to run clear.
Fourth, roughly chop the echinacea with scissors and place into your clean glass jar. You will want to fill the jar at least half way.
Fifth, pour vodka or brandy over the echinacea until fully covered.
Lastly, cap tightly with the jar lid and give it a little shake.
Place your tincture in a cool, dark and dry place. Allow it to steep for at least two weeks before using.
How to Make Thieves Vinegar
- Clean Glass Jar with Lid
- Square of Muslin Cloth or Cheesecloth
- Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
First, cut and gather your herbs.
Second, sort through your herbs and remove any browned leaves.
Third, wash your herbs by gently swirling them in a sink of cool water. Drain and repeat this process as many times as needed until the water runs clear.
Fourth, roughly chop the herbs with scissors and place into your clean glass jar.
Fifth, pour raw apple cider vinegar over the herbs until fully covered.
Lastly, place the square of cloth on top of the jar. Then cap tightly with the lid.
(The cloth is there to prevent the vinegar from rusting the lid.)
Place your vinegar in a cool, dark and dry place. Allow it to steep for at least two weeks before using.
That’s it! It’s basically the same process as making the tincture, just using a different liquid.
What are the Benefits of These Herbal Remedies?
Echinacea is a native Midwestern perennial wildflower. Most of what we know about the historical uses of Echinacea comes from the Native American tribes of the Great Plains region. Traditionally, it has been valued for its anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Echinacea stimulates the immune system, clears infections and helps the body to fight off viruses.
The root of Echinacea is also very medicinal. I will dig up some roots this fall and pour this same tincture over the roots, to create a whole plant extraction.
Thieves vinegar is a centuries old herbal remedy. It originated in Marseille, France in the Middle Ages, during the Bubonic plague. In French it is called Vinaigre des Quatres Voleurs, meaning Vinegar of the Four Thieves. Legend has it that grave robbers were using this vinegar to keep from getting the plague themselves.
I share more about this traditional herbal remedy, including an original recipe that once hung in the Museum of Paris, in the current issue of the Summer Living Journal.
How do I use my Herbal Remedies?
Once your herbal remedies have steeped for at least two weeks, you can choose to strain out the plant matter, or leave it in. Store your herbal remedies in a cool, dark and dry place. The tincture will keep indefinitely, while the vinegar will keep for up to one year.
Here is the simplest way to use your echinacea tincture. Pour one teaspoon of tincture into a cup of water (hot or cold) and sip.
You can also take echinacea as a tea, instead of a tincture. Steep a tablespoon of the chopped stems, leaves and flowers in a cup of hot water, covered, for fifteen minutes. Then strain and drink, adding a little honey if desired.
Similarly to tinctures, vinegars can be taken by pouring a teaspoon of vinegar into a cup of water and sipping. However, vinegars are much more versatile than tinctures. For example, one of my favorite ways to use them is to make a simple salad dressing. I show you how to do this in the video above!
If you make these traditional herbal remedies, please let me know in the comments below. And if you have other herbal remedies you like to make to store up for winter, I’d love to hear about them!