Per usual, I didn’t get really sick this cold season. But that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, I used to be able to count on at least one hit with a serious cold that would frequently turn into strep throat each winter. A few years of this nonsense finally pissed me off enough to take action.
I started researching various herbs and tinctures that boosted the immune system and decided to make up my own concoction that would prevent me from getting sick in the first place. I wanted something to take daily that would, in theory anyway, head the germs off at the pass. I also wanted something I could make easily, and something I’d actually take as opposed to vitamins; those horse pills just put me off.
I start taking this extract about a month before cold season hits. I use a base of Bragg’s raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, which I already took for its own detoxifying benefits, and I like the taste so I figured it would be a great place in which to infuse other ingredients that would help prevent illness. And the past several years have shown me that it works at keeping germs in submission since I haven’t gotten seriously ill since.
That’s not to say I haven’t gotten sick at all, as I have come down with a cold here and there but nothing like the raw-throat agony through which I used to suffer. But to kill any illness I do get in its tracks I get out the big guns: the Rural Spin Extract on steroids, which I call the Cayenne Shooter. Believe me, the Cayenne Shooter will kick what ails you in the butt if a germ gets past your Rural Spin Extract defense.
Will this work for you? I have no idea but I don’t see why not. I haven’t done any scientific trials but it definitely has made a world of difference in my life. (It would be difficult for you to overestimate how sick I used to get every season, but since I started with my extract I haven’t!) And some of the ingredients here are consider harsh by some people. It is spicy but it’s not going to melt your nose hairs off. You can adjust this for your own personal tastes, and you can add lemon and ginger if you’d like. I have done this in the past and it tastes just as good. I just tend to not use them because the vinegar basically takes the place of lemon, and ginger and turmeric are related, so it seems like I don’t need both. And I love ginger in my cooking!
(Note: This is by no means a complete listing of each ingredients’ health benefits; this is just an overview of why I chose them for the infusion.)
Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful liquid in which to make your extract. In its raw and unfiltered state, apple cider vinegar supports a healthy immune system and helps to detoxify the body. A system with efficient plumbing, free from toxins, is a system that is better able to fight off germs.
Cayenne pepper is powerful stuff, with many health benefits. It is known to soothe sore throats, enhance the circulatory system, has anti-inflammatory properties and helps kill bacteria, not to mention its ability to detoxify the body and keep all systems working properly. Increasing body temperatures and clearing out the nasal passages (that tell-tale runny nose after eating hot foods) also means germs are getting a wake-up call.
Honey, left raw and unfiltered in its natural state, has been shown to actually kill influenza germs and cure the common cold, which means honey may well be on the forefront of preventing cold and flu from taking hold to in the first place. Plus, it tastes awesome and helps to balance out the harsher elements in the extract.
Cinnamon is known for its antifungal, antibacterial, and antiparasitic properties. Daily doses of cinnamon are known to enhance the immune system and protect the body from bacteria and viruses.
Turmeric, a relative of ginger, has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. I’ve known organic chicken farmers who will give turmeric to their sick birds to cure them of infections. It is also an anti-inflammatory and a natural pain killer, which can also be a benefit in the very early stages of an illness.
Horseradish is known to be an antibiotic, antibacterial, expectorant, bronchodilatator, and an anti-inflammatory, among others. It’s a powerful cold and flu preventative along with its other health benefits. And the best thing is, fresh horseradish root does not have the burn-inducing qualities that traditionally prepared horseradish does.
Echincea and goldenseal are well-known immune system boosters, and have a broad spectrum of antiviral, antibiotic, and antibacterial actions. As such they are great protectors against the cold and flu alike. Many people take just this to boost the immune system, but for me I found that it wasn’t quite enough to do what I wanted. But echinacea and goldenseal in conjunction with the above ingredients is a prevention powerhouse!
Making the elixir is easy. Just jam into a quart-sized mason jar (the quantities listed here are just suggestions, it won’t hurt to add more, and you can adjust to taste. Also feel free to add ginger and lemon if you have them on hand):
- 2 roots of horseradish (feel free to use more), peeled and chopped into pieces about 1/2″ square. If you can’t find fresh, feel free to use about 1/3 cup of prepared horseradish but realize that prepared horseradish is much hotter than the fresh root.
- 5 turmeric roots (feel free to use more), scrubbed well and chopped into pieces about 1/2″ square. You can also use three or so tablespoonfuls of ground turmeric if you can’t find fresh.
- 4 sticks of cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup raw, unfiltered honey
- 1/2 bottle echinacea & goldenseal tincture
- 1 bottle Bragg’s raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
After everything is in the jar, shake it well to mix the honey, then let it sit in a dark place for about a month. You’ll want to shake it occasionally to distribute the goodness that is seeping into your vinegar. After the month is over, simply strain your decoction into a bottle–I clean and save the original apple cider vinegar bottle for this purpose. Refrigerate.
Make no mistake…this stuff tastes great! You can use the Rural Spin Elixir in many ways:
- Take it by the teaspoonful two to three times a day starting a month before the cold and flu season begins, and continue taking it throughout the season.
- Add a tablespoonful (or more to taste) to hot water for a wonderful winter tea that can soothe you if you feel yourself beginning to get sick.
- It also makes a really nice ingredient in the kitchen as a marinade or baste for meats or as a base for salad dressings!