Fermenting for Colds and Flus

Fermenting for Colds and FlusFollowing up from our post about fermenting for gut health, we though we would share a couple of home remedies that use the power of fermenting for colds and flus. Make these syrups and tonics now to keep those winter germs at bay!

First up, honey ferment. These are super easy,  you just cover what ever it is you’d like to use with honey and let it sit for a few weeks. Take a teaspoon as an immune boosting medicinal shot or use in your cooking as a delicious dressing or marinade.

Honey and Garlic Ferment – the anti-microbial goodness in garlic and raw honey to create a magical syrup.

  • Fill a glass jar 1 half to three quarters full with peeled garlic cloves
  • Cover well with raw runny honey.

If you can, weigh the cloves down with a glass disk or something similar.  The garlic tends to float. Alternatively you can just give it a stir around every now and then.  Pop a lid on it and let it sit a room temperature for about two to three weeks.  You’ll need to ‘burp’ it occasionally to let the gas escape (it’s pretty stinky to start but will mellow).  You should find the honey gets thinner and takes on the flavour of the garlic over time. You could add other other immune supporting herbs and spices such as oregano, nigella seeds, turmeric or ginger.
Once the two weeks are up pop it in the fridge and use it as you like.  Don’t forget to make use of the left over garlic cloves in your cooking too!

A cider tonic, or fire cider, is a simple tonic that uses the antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar and the goodness of culinary herbs and spices.

Depending on the ingredients you choose you can make this tonic to ward off colds and flus, aid digestion or to help treat candida.

 General Immune Tonic (fills a 1-1.5L jar)

  • 1x 5cm piece of horseradish
  • 8 -12 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1 red onion peeled
  • 1x 5cm chunk of ginger
  • 1x 3cm piece of turmeric
  • 1 tbsp sichuan pepper
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • couple of bay leaves
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 small bunch parsley
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 750mls raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey, or more to taste


Place all of the vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices in a clean 1 or 1.5L jar.  Fill the jar with apple cider vinegar.  Push the ingredients down making sure they are well covered by the vinegar and there are no air bubbles. Cap the jar. If using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment or wax paper between the jar and the lid to prevent corrosion.  Shake well.

Let the jar sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking daily (or as often as you remember).

Strain the vinegar with a fine sieve or through muslin cloth into a glass jar. Add honey to taste. You can transfer into smaller glass bottles if you like. Use within a year.

Candida Tonic

  • 750ml apple cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp sichuan pepper
  • 1tsp cloves
  • 3-6 cloves of garlic
  • small bunch of oregano
  • 1x 2cm piece of fresh turmeric

Method as above.
To use  this in the treatment of Candida drink 1tsp in 1cup of warm water in the morning on an empty stomach.  Use in the same dilution as a vaginal wash or as warm compress.

Digestive Tonic

  • 750mls apple cider vinegar
  • 1tbsp fennel seeds
  • 1tbsp nigella seeds
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 1tsp crushed cardamom
  • 1x 5cm piece of fresh ginger
  • 1x 3cm piece turmeric
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1tsp radish seeds and/or 5 radishes
  • 1small bunch parsley
  • 1 stick of celery
  • Method as above.

Method as above.
To give the digestion a cleansing boost take 1tsp diluted in 1cup of warm water before breakfast daily.  You can also take  mix when feeling overly full or post a heavy meal as needed.

If you are interested in throwing together a mix of your own mix  here are few culinary herbs and spices with their properties.

[ezcol_2third]GINGER – Warm and dispersing, ginger is used in Chinese medicine to aid digestion and remove cold stagnation.  From a western perspective ginger is high in anti-inflammatory gingerols and shagoals.  These pungent compounds have the ability to  kill rhinoviruses easing inflammation in the nose and throat.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]

[ezcol_2third]TURMERIC – Warming and invigorating this close relative of ginger is used in Chinese Medicine to promote Qi and Blood movement and reduce pain.  From a western perspective its the high levels of curcumin that give turmeric such great antiviral properties.  According to a study published in a 2009 edition of “Emerging Infectious Diseases,” curcumin can reduce viral replication by over 90 percent in laboratory cells infected with influenza varieties.[/ezcol_2third][ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]GARLIC –  Warming and invigorating garlic is used in both Chinese Medicine and western herbalism for its anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.  Excellent for fighting first stage cold/flu.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]fermentation to fight colds and flus.
[ezcol_2third]HORSERADISH – Super high levels of vitamin C and Sinigrin (mustard oil)  give horseradish  it’s antibacterial punch.  This hot and spicy root has a wasabi effect on the sinuses and will help you sweat the virus out.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]ONION, SPRING ONION AND LEEK – Pungent and sweet, these members of the allium family are used in Chinese Medicine to gently warm and invigorate the Liver Qi and aid digestion.  Their high levels of quercetin are what help boost the bodies immune response and reduce the histamine reaction.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]ORANGES and LEMONS – Packed full with Vitamin C members of the citrus family have long been  home remedies for colds and flus.  In Chinese Medicine we use tangerine peel and seeds to dry phlegm-dampness, break down stagnation and improve digestion.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end]fermentation to fight colds and flus.[/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]PARSLEY, ROSEMARY, THYME, OREGANO – These common garden herbs are all high in anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties.  Traditionally used to guard against food-borne pathogens like Listeria they can also be used medicinally in treatment of cough, fever, congestion, body ache and illness.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]BLACK PEPPERCORNS –  Warming to the digestion it eases stomach upsets, clears congestion and improves circulation.  Western studies have found it to improve the bio-availability of other nutritional compounds, in fact it’s been shown to improve the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by a massive 154%![/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_2third]NIGELLA – A widely used herb through out the Middle East and North Africa it is often said that ‘nigella is a remedy for every illness except death’.  Used for pretty much everything recent research shows that it has strong immune boosting properties.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_2third]SICHUAN PEPPER – Hot and acrid Sichuan pepper is used primarily as an anti-parasitic herb in Chinese Medicine.  It’s hot and spicy nature aids digestion in small doses and help ease abdominal pain, just be careful not to over do it with this one![/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end][ezcol_2third]BAY LEAF– While not a herb used in Chinese a Medicine bay leaf is a commonly used through out the Mediterranean.  It’s has strong antibacterial properties and can act as a diuretic, helping the body to eliminate toxins.  it is often used as a tonic to aid digestion and ease pain in the joints and muscles.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]FENNEL SEED – Warming and soothing to the Liver energetic fennel seeds are used in Chinese Medicine ease lower abdominal pain  due to both digestive disorders and menstrual cramps.  From a western perspective fennel seeds have antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to help ease constipation, indigestion, IBS and bloating.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]
[ezcol_2third]CLOVES – High in anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antioxidant properties clove can help your body deal with infections and inflammation.  In Chinese Medicine this spicy herb is used to put warmth into the Spleen and Kidney energetics to help ease abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.[/ezcol_2third] [ezcol_1third_end][/ezcol_1third_end]

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