Honey and Lemon Tea
Put the juice from one lemon (rich in vitamin C) into a cup and top up with boiling water. Add a couple of teaspoons of honey (which has antiviral properties). Drink when cool enough.
Peppermint and Eucalyptus Steam
6 drops peppermint oil
6 drops eucalyptus oil
Put a heatproof bowl on a heatproof mat and pour in the boiling water. Add the essential oil. Lean over the bowl and put a towel over your head and inhale the steam. Steam treatments help sooth mucus membranes and moisturise the respiratory tract. The menthol in peppermint oil soothes the throat and acts as a decongestant. Eucalyptus helps expel phlegm, decongest the airways and boosts the immune system.
Caution: Avoid the use of peppermint oil if you are pregnant.
1 oz. fresh rosehips (from Rosa canina, the wild or dog rose)
½ pt. water
Dash of lemon juice
Cut the rosehips open and put them in a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow the rosehips to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid through a very fine sieve or a coffee filter (rosehips contain irritant hairs). Add the lemon juice. Rosehips contain twenty times more vitamin C than oranges, so they are an excellent immune system booster to prevent or treat a cold.
Rosehips (Rosa canina, the wild or dog rose)
Crush the rosehips (or preferably chop them up in a food processor) and put them in a pan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered. Strain through fine muslin (rosehips contain very fine irritant hairs, so don’t be tempted to squeeze it through the bag) and measure the liquid. For each pint you will need 11 ounces of sugar. Put these in a large pan, heat slowly, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to the boil for 3 minutes, skimming off any scum that appears. Pour into pre-warmed and sterilised bottles and seal. Allow the bottles to cool and label. This will keep unopened for 3-4 months, but refrigerate after opening. Rosehip syrup is a well-known childhood remedy for boosting vitamin C levels and keeping winter infections away.
2 ½ lb elderberries
½ lb sugar
Simmer together in a saucepan until it thickens to the consistency of runny honey. Strain and bottle. Take a couple of tablespoons in warm water for colds, fevers and coughs. If you like, you can add a little whisky.
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. grated fresh ginger root
4 tsp fresh chillies
Chop the fruits and vegetables and pack into a jar. Cover with cider vinegar and put on a sunny windowsill for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain through a fine cloth into a clean jar and label. Make this in advance of the winter and take two teaspoons up to five times a day when you have an infection.
© Anna Franklin, The Hearth Witch’s Compendium, Llewellyn, 2018