It's that time of year. The weather is beginning to change, kids are back in school (they are little germ factories you know!), and cold & flu germs are in the air! How do you protect yourself? 
 
I want to share my favorite defense against cold & flu season with you today! 

Admittedly, I was inspired to write this today because I just returned from traveling to my home state of Minnesota and am currently recovering from the first nasty cold that I have had in years. Why? Because I did not travel with my trusted ally. 

There are a lot of things that we can do to stay healthy this time of year. Keeping hydrated, probiotics, supplements, tinctures, teas, getting enough sleep, eating well, etc. There is ONE thing that is always in my pantry (and that I usually always travel with!) that has done really well at keeping me healthy when cold & flu season hits.

This one thing is what I start taking as soon as cold & flu season arrives, when I spend time with people that are sick, when I know that I have come in contact with cold germs, or if I have the feeling that my body is fighting something off....you know, that first tinge of a sore throat, run down energy, or a sniffle. 

It's referred to as master tonic, or fire cider. There can be some slight differences in ingredients here, but the basis is the same, and it's a powerful anti-cold, anti-flu, anti-bacterial, anti- fungal, and anti-viral fighter! It was actually used in the past to fight the plague! 

This is something that you can make on your own very easily (although you need to let it sit for 2-4 weeks before it is done), you can order it online, or you are likely to find it at your local natural food coop or store. 

The basic ingredients are: live (with the mother) apple cider vinegar, onions, garlic, horseradish root, ginger root, and hot peppers. There are variations of this recipe adding honey (to cut the spice and added immune system benefits), turmeric, citrus, etc. 

When I take little shots of this tonic a few times a day, I simply don't get sick. Even when I'm directly exposed to cold & flu germs. After this last trip of not traveling with mine, it is not a mistake that I will likely make again! Regardless of the season, there is something to breathing in the recycled air on airplanes that feels like a risk! 

Yes, this is a spicy tonic. For those of you that don't handle spice well, adding some honey can help. It's also delicious in tomato or vegetable juice. (it tastes like a bloody mary! Of course - leave out the vodka - we are working to help our immune system, not sabotage it!)

There are many recipes you can find online, and here I'll share an easy basic one with you:
Master Tonic Recipe

Here is a source to order it online if you are not into making your own:
Fire Tonic on Amazon

And since many of you are local to my area in Olympia, you can find Master Tonic at the Local Food Coop! 

Wishing you a healthy & vibrant September! 

Shelly