It’s Tonic Time: Herbal Tonics for Health + Wellness
I am a huge fan of herbal tonics! Tonics are ancient medicines that can be traced back several millennia. If you search the internet, you might find that many sites make a common claim that tonics originated in specific areas of the world, which might very well be true. However, in my research into medicine passed down from ancestors and the ancient ones globally, I learned that tonics existed in many cultures and regions across the entire planet. They just weren’t always known as “tonics.”
An herbal tonic is created from a variety of herbs that can prevent, restore, and invigorate all of our body systems. Although our bodies are home to various biological systems, it is important to be aware that even though they are individual systems, they work in synergy. Tonic herbs are specifically selected for their ability to tone and invigorate systems throughout the body. Tonics present a preventative approach to health, meaning they keep our entire body running strong, thus helping to prevent ailments from developing. Some tonics provide energy-boosting properties, while others boost our immune system. Whether you want a full-body cleanse or to increase your body’s natural defenses, tonics are an effective way to attain both.
Energizing Tonics or Qi Tonics: Increase our body’s natural energy production
The herbs used in energy tonics are selected because they help the body function in the best possible way to increase natural vitality. Energy tonics are believed to naturally enhance the absorption of nutrients within the gut, which helps turn food into energy and stimulate blood flow. We don’t just require energy to work or exercise, our entire body needs energy to function properly. This includes supporting our immune system, which defends our body from illness and/or injury.
I prefer to make my own tonics for a few reasons, one being that I can make more for less, and another is so I KNOW what’s going in it! If you’re not into the DIY route, you can find energizing tonics at health food stores and online. I’ll go a little more in depth on how to prepare a tonic toward the end of this article, so keep reading.
Recommendations: Some incredible energizing herbs one can add to a homemade tonic are American Ginseng, Ashwagandha, Schisandra, Rhodiola Root, Holy Basil or Tulsi, and Maca.
Blood Tonics: Provide nourishment to the blood
Blood tonics help the body utilize nutrients that are essential for optimal functioning systems. Blood tonics are incredibly beneficial for people who work out or at least for those who get regular exercise; this is because they help build muscle and naturally increase energy. Our blood provides nourishment to all the tissues in the body, and distributes nutrients, hormones and immune cells throughout.
Blood tonics are especially beneficial for people with low iron. These tonics can support the growth and glow of our hair, skin, and nails. Blood tonics are also incredible for promoting strong sensory organs. Sensory organs are our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Our body naturally cleanses our blood thanks to our liver and kidneys, which are responsible for the detox process by way of removing waste or toxins from our blood. Blood tonics also aid in the removal of waste and toxins.
Recommendations: Holy Basil, Ginger, Green Tea, Hibiscus, and Dandelion are all great herbs for blood tonics. As are grapefruit, garlic, cranberries, and several other foods.
Note: Blood tonics should be used with caution. Avoid taking excessive amounts of these products because they can damage the kidneys and liver. You know what they say about having too much of a good thing!
Cold & Flu Tonics: Perfect for the cold and flu season
I strongly believe in preventative medicine and preventative practices. One of my all-time favorite tonics or herbal remedies during the cold and flu season is Fire Cider. A few years ago, I spent a couple of months up in North Dakota, where I was privileged to meet an Indigenous Healer who shared her knowledge of Fire Cider with me. It’s called Fire Cider for a reason: there’s some spice to it. You can use it to ease cold and flu symptoms, but you can also take a couple of teaspoons daily to maintain strong health to avoid a cold or flu.
Recommendations: Lemon, Ginger, Honey, Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV), Cinnamon, and Turmeric are all incredible options for cold and flu tonics.
The Fire Cider recipe is hands down, a great option, which is why I provided the recipe below!
Making an Herbal Tonic
Tonics can be made rather quickly; however, they require at least ten hours to steep to ensure all the medicinal and healing properties seep out into the fluid.
The ratio of water to herbs is about 3 cups of water to 1 cup of dried herbs.
I’d recommend adding honey as a sweetener, as it is both delicious and beneficial.
If you’re using multiple herbs, simply be sure to adjust them so they equal one cup. Also, be sure and do any research regarding the herbs and plants you want to use. Some herbs are far more potent than others. For instance, ginger is really potent; therefore, you wouldn’t need as much of it as you would something like chamomile.
Toss your dried ingredients into a mason jar, bring your water to a boil, and pour the water into the jar. Sometimes I like to add some fresh slices of orange or lemon, which is delicious and nutritious. You can also add them right in with the herbs.
After your water is added, close the jar tightly, and leave the mixture steeping for about 10 hours.
After the steeping is complete, strain your tonic into a clean and sterile jar and discard the leftover plant matter into the compost bin. Store your herbal tonic in the refrigerator and try to use it within the next couple of days. Some tonics will last longer because they have natural preservatives such as honey or ACV.
Depending on the type of tonic you’d like to make, recipes will vary, as will the dosage, so as advised above, be sure to look into what you’re putting into your body before you do it.
There are so many great recipes available to try, do you have any favorites? Drop us a line and let us know what tonics you enjoy and how they help! Safe & Happy Healing!!
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