The change to Fall is one of my favorites, but it does bring challenges to the immune system and adrenals. I like to mix up some of this tonic to give myself a leg up for the seasonal change. This is a fantastic recipe because it combines therapies for immunity, stress, and energy into one delicious tonic.
Herbalist David Hoffman has this to say about tonic herbs: “Tonics are herbs that strengthen and enliven either a specific organ, or system, or the whole body. They truly are gifts of Nature to a suffering humanity.”
Let’s take a look at the ingredients:
Elderberry: A classic herb for colds and flus, Elderberry also aids in their prevention. The dark purple berries are rich in flavonoids, powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which boost immune function and detoxify the body. Elderberries are especially beneficial to the lungs and sinuses, helping to breathe easier and treating inflammation or catarrh in the upper respiratory tract.
Schisandra: Schisandra is an adaptogen, helping the body respond better to stress. A classic tonic herb, it builds strength and benefits the five yin organs – the liver, kidneys, heart, lungs, and spleen. It is often used specifically to cleanse the liver and strengthen the kidneys. Schisandra has a long history of use as a building herb for many kinds of weakness or debility, including cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome. It is excellent for the immune system.
Hawthorn: Hawthorn berry is a grounding, cardio-protective herb that is also a soothing nervine. It strengthens and protects the heart and pericardium while regulating the heartbeat. Hawthorn is one of the preeminent herbs for treating blood pressure conditions, not only because it is a cardiac tonic, but because it is a stress-relieving nervine as well.
Reishi: Reishi mushroom is an immune-modulating, anti-inflammatory adaptogen with a rich flavor. It is a powerful, classic herb for nurturing longevity, cognitive function, and cellular integrity. Reishi strengthens the heart and relieves stress. It is antiviral, antibacterial, and a nerve soother to boot. Reishi is being researched for its effectiveness in cancer treatment.
Astragalus: Astragalus is a strengthening herb with a rich, earthy taste. It is often given in soups for colds, flus, and weakened conditions. It regulates and strengthens the immune system, helping to fight off unfriendly pathogens. It warms the tissues and brings energy and strength to all the body systems, especially the kidneys, lungs, blood, and spleen.
Adrenal/Immune Fall Tonic
Recipe from Susan Wolfe
1 ounce Elderberries
1 ounce Schisandra berries
1 ounce Hawthorn berries
½ ounce Reishi powder
½ ounce Astragalus (powdered, sliced, or cut & sifted)
Raw honey to taste
Place your ingredients, except for the honey, in a pot and cover with a half gallon of water.
Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer
Simmer, uncovered, until half the liquid has evaporated, stirring occasionally
Remove from heat
Strain into a container and cool slightly
Stir in raw honey
Store in glass containers and keep in the refrigerator
Add a splash of brandy to increase shelf-life
Enjoy a tablespoon or two a day of the tonic for increased energy and immunity. Take liberally at the first signs of a cold. These are all “food herbs”, so there’s no need to fear over-doing it. This recipe is especially tasty warmed up or added to fruit juice.