the transitional weeks of Autumn open a window of vulnerability in our systems in which illness + depletion can thrive. The following botanicals + remedies should be used freely during this seasonal metamorphosis to Cultivate a constitutional hardiness and vitality needed for these times.
Medicine Making for Autumn
There are literally thousands of remedies that can serve you well in the Autumn months, but the ones I share here are specifically tailored for maximal impact and easy accessibility. First, let’s make a simple tincture that will carry through the rest of the year. Tending to our largest organ, the skin, comes next, followed closely by one of my favorite (and incredibly delicious) cure-all’s. Most ingredients you likely have on hand, and if not, any local market, farm or herb shop will do the trick.
The Simplest Cold Crusher
Echinacea, an incredibly well known botanical, is hands down the simplest and most effective cold crusher. It boosts our immune system and is a powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral, meaning no matter the cause of your cold, Echinacea can take care of it.
For this preparation I recommend making 2 quarts of tincture. While this will seem like an enormous amount, there are a few reasons for this:
This amount is meant to be enough for a couple or a small family, or, for you to generously be able to take care of a friend in need, and last for the whole year!
In order to be fully effective, you will need to take 2oz. per day (in divided doses), which drains the bottles quickly. If you were to do this with a store bought echinacea tincture it would be extremely cost prohibitive, as most 2oz bottles run about $12 (and you would need to take one of these per day for several days!).
The Recipe is extremely simple
Purchase 1lbs. of dried Organic Echinacea anugstifolia root from a reputable source.
Gather (2) Quart Sized Mason Jars, and 2 quarts of good quality vodka. I like Tito’s, but Trader Joe’s Vodka of the Gods is a great, less expensive alternative.
Divide the pound of Echinacea root between the two mason jars (1/2 lbs in each), fill to the tippy top with Vodka, and cap.
Make sure you label the tincture with the name and date, and store in a cool dark place for AT LEAST 6 weeks. When it is ready for use, give it a good shake, and strain.
The time to begin dosing with Echinacea tincture is at the very first sign of illness. We are meant to take 2 full ounces of tincture per day during active symptoms, and continued for several days after all the symptoms have disappeared. I highly recommend diving the daily dose in 4-8 doses through the day, taken in water, juice, or tea. For a severe infection, daily dosing can be taken for up to 2 weeks.
Echinacea angustifolia Tincture
Skin Savers for the Autumn Transition
With all of the demands Autumn brings (both physical and emotional) our largest organ, the skin, is often desperate for support. No matter what variation your skin presents at this time (irritated, dry, and oily all at once anyone?), these simple yet profound skin savers are easy carry their weight in gold. The best part? You can whip them up in your kitchen in under 10 minutes with ingredients you likely have on hand.
Tired + dull skin becomes refreshed + invigorated with this antioxidant rich body scrub. Turmeric + Ginger work to bring exceptional circulation to the skin leaving a luminous after-glow while Honey + Olive Oil soften, soothe, + moisturize.
Suggested Use: Mid-bathing, take a large scoop in the palm of your hand + work in a circular motion starting from your feet all the way up to your chest. Repeat. Enjoy.
Turmeric Ginger Body Scrub
BETA-CAROTENE FACE MASK
Cure-All: Botanically Infused Oxymels
OXYMEL'S ARE ONE OF THE EASIEST AND MOST DELICIOUS HERBAL PREPARATIONS TO MAKE
This ancient tradition combines three simple ingredients: vinegar, herbs, and honey. Aside from the herbs you select to use, additional medicinal benefits are offered from the apple cider vinegar and raw honey, making this quite a powerful remedy. This is why Oxymel formulas have continued to be passed down for centuries (they date back to the 15th century, at least). Often considered a specific remedy for lung issues, colds, and sore throats, Oxymels can treat a wide range of issues and are also good for overall health maintenance (and stimulating digestive fire and warming the body)! They can be enjoyed by anyone 1 year in age and up, making this a favorite remedy for both the young, old, and in between.
This season I harvested Blue Spruce + Rosehips from a friend’s organic farm in Montana. I knew right away that these two botanicals would make an incredibly delicious and equally powerful medicine. I recorded a quick little video (see above) to show how dang easy it is to make an Oxymel, and the best part is you barely have to measure anything with precision. Watch the video above, and then give the directions below a read. I hope you enjoy!
Botanical Infused HONEY OXYMEL
Although it’s best to use a recipe, this preparation is something you easily can just eye-ball once you get the hang of it. Pack your mason jar roughly 3/4 full with herbs, and then fill a third to half way with honey, and then top with Apple Cider Vinegar!
Never ever make an Oxymel in plastic, and ALWAYS line with parchment or wax paper if you are using a metal lid.
Shake your preparation often (once a day is perfect) for best results!
Herbs for Oxymels:
Not all herbs are suitable for Oxymel preparations, so stick to experimenting with the following botanicals:
SAGE, ROSEMARY, GARLIC, ROSE HIP, PINE NEEDLE, GINGER
The Medicine Cabinet
Staying well + vital during the cooler months requires developing a keen ability to listen to our body + the messages it shares with us. The messages are usually straightforward and the remedies simple: if you are tired, rest; if you are overwhelmed, seek solitude. When we override our body's requests, sickness steps in to help us remember. The following botanical remedies are here to guide us during this time of great transition, and support us when we may not be listening.
Nearly identical to the color palette of Fall, Turmeric is a warm, energizing botanical that helps us ten fold on the darkening days of Autumn. A heavy hitter in the wellness world, mostly known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, Turmeric is a spice that is best combined with a pinch of black pepper, as it then becomes activated and bioavailable for optimal absorption of it’s benefits. As we enter a season known for stress, inflammatory foods, and relentless viruses, Turmeric keeps us warm and energized as it neutralizes inflammation and boosts our immune systems. Turmeric is a botanical ally that can be used daily, and with the simplest creativity, can be used thousands of ways.
How to use it: Turmeric comes in many forms (capsules, loose powder, fresh root, etc), and I personally enjoy its various compositions for different reasons. Fresh Turmeric is a beautiful addition to soups, juices, and smoothies, either in its solid or liquid form. Loose powder can be used virtually any which way. Dosages vary depending on how you take it, but trying to get a half a teaspoon per day to start. Some of my favorites include Turmeric lattes, seasoning for vegetables or proteins, soups, or hummus. This spice is so incredibly versatile, a quick recipe search or experimentation in the kitchen should yield many different joyful ways to try it!
Native to North America and a staple in folk medicine for centuries, Elderberry, also known as Sambucus nigra are a small dark purple/black berry that are poisonous until ripe. When cooked (mostly to ensure safety and to bring out their delicious flavor), they produce a deep magenta-hued syrup that support the immune system with special affinity for the respiratory system.
How to use it: One of the biggest misuses of Elderberry (mostly Elderberry syrup) is that folks begin taking it when they are already sick. Although this practice will ease your symptoms a bit and allow you to heal quicker, the best way to use Elderberry is actually as a preventative medicine. At the beginning of Autumn, I make a gigantic batch of syrup that we take daily until late Spring (about 1tsp-1tbs, for kiddos and adults). If someone falls ill, I’ll make Elderberry lozenges to soothe sore throats and coughs, or Elderberry gummies with extra collagen and gelatin to support a depleted system. When made into a syrup or jam, the possibilities are vast, and can be enjoyed drizzled over pancakes, stirred into oats, blended into smoothies, and more.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, also known as ACV is a fermented concoction rich in enzymes and probiotics that is especially useful this time of year. Making sure to choose organic and unpasteurized ACV is important, as without the beneficial bacteria this medicine isn’t nearly as strong. ACV has a long list of uses, anywhere from skin toner, window cleaner, or digestive stimulant, and chances are you are pretty familiar with this wonderful elixir.
How to use it: Incorporating apple cider vinegar into your wellness routine could not be any easier. Start the morning off with a tablespoon of ACV diluted in a cup of water to balance pH, get the digestive juices flowing, and warm the body from the inside out. Drizzle on salads, stir into soups, add to medicines (such as Elderberry syrup!), or make an Oxymel for a more targeted approach. One of my favorite and lesser known uses for ACV is to add a cup or two to a warm bath for a warming and soothing full-body soak.