Kitchen Medicine for Early Spring Wellness
The vernal equinox is just a couple weeks away, but here in the coastal mountains of BC where I live there is still snow on the ground, making for cold and damp conditions. Early spring colds and flus are common during this season and so I like to create seasonal kitchen medicines that can support my immunity and ward off illness. Here are two easy to make recipes, one of which is a stimulating bath blend perfect for opening up your lungs and reducing congestion, while the other is an alcohol- free herbal extract called an oxymel, which is absolutely delicious.
Evergreen Bath Salts
I keep a large jar of evergreen bath salts in my bathroom through the winter and early spring months as they are great for stiff muscles, deep chills, and seasonal colds. Evergreen branches are often easy to gather during these months as many of them come down in winter storms, and so you do not need to cut them from the trees. Look around your area to see what you types of evergreen you might have available to you. Where I live there is an abundance of fir, spruce, and cedar, all of which work well for this blend. You will want to gather your evergreen needles a day or two earlier, giving them time to dry out somewhat before you add them to your salts. This will avoid adding additional moisture to your salts which can make them clump together. I also included dried juniper berries in this blend because I love the way they smell, but they are not necessary. For my essential oils, I chose black spruce (one of my favourite evergreen oils), juniper berry and red mandarin to make an uplifting and immune-stimulating blend. If you prefer not to use essential oils in your bath blends you will find that the ground evergreen needles offer plenty of aromatic benefit on their own.
- 2 cups Epsom salts
- 1 cup pink Himalayan salt
- 2 TBS juniper berries (optional)
- 6 TBS evergreen needles
- 30 drops black spruce essential oil
- 15 drops juniper berry essential oil
- 15 drops red mandarin or sweet orange essential oil
Lightly grind the juniper berries and fir needles in a spice grinder or food processor. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir well with a large fork to break up any clumps from the essential oils. Store in a glass jar and pour liberally into your tub.
This is a simple alcohol-free herbal extraction that is a lot of fun to make, tastes delicious and supports immune health. From the ancient Greek word oxymeli (acid honey), an oxymel is made with equal parts vinegar and honey poured over a blend of fruit, herbs or spices. Seasonal oxymel’s are one of my favourite kitchen remedies to make and they are a great way to get kids to take their medicine too. This particular oxymel features black elderberry which is a powerful immune stimulant, rosehips for extra vitamin C, warming spices, turmeric, and citrus. I used a fresh blood orange in my own blend, but you can substitute a navel orange or tangerine if you prefer.
- 1 litre canning jar
- 2/3 cup of dried elderberries
- 1/3 cup dried rosehips
- 2 cinnamon sticks broken up
- 2 TBS dried ginger root (not powdered)
- 1 TBS dried orange peel
- 2-3 inches of fresh turmeric root grated
- juice and peel of one blood orange (cut in strips)
- equal parts raw apple cider vinegar & honey
Place all ingredients in a 1-liter canning jar and cover with equal parts honey & vinegar. Cover the lid of the jar with a piece of wax paper before sealing (vinegar & metal are a bad combo) and label well. Let steep in a cool place for 2-4 weeks before straining off and pouring the liquid into a clean bottle. I keep my oxymel blends in the fridge once they have been poured off and they keep easily for six months (though I usually use them up way before that). I like to add my oxymel preparations to still or fizzy water as a refreshing herbal beverage, but you can also take it directly if you prefer. 1-2 TBS is a good dose and if you are coming down with a cold I would take this every 2-3 hours.
If you want to receive seasonal recipes like these every single month I invite you to join my 13 Moons Circle which starts on March 20th 2019 and only opens up once per year. It is an online program that takes you on a journey through the year sharing kitchen medicine, seasonal wisdom teachings, lunar magic and more.