Even in our temperate SF Bay Area the seasons still bring about cyclic change as these late summer days break the fog and we anticipate a few upcoming heat waves before the rain (hopefully) breaks. The Autumn Equinox, which marks night and day at equal duration, is a moment of balance before the evenings grow darker and the season turns colder. As the plants begin the process of moving their energy inward- with end of summer flowers setting seed and the leaves beginning to fall- likewise our bodies begin a transition of grounding and clearing.
This is also the moment to prepare your body for the cold and flu season by building your immunity. Add medicinal mushrooms and astragalus into slow cooked foods, season your meals with antibacterial culinary herbs, drink antiviral teas preventively and include lots of garlic and ginger in your diet!
The spirit of this Autumn season is also one of celebrating the harvest, honoring those who have passed, and moving into a space of reflection. What do you have to share? What can you let fall away? On the edge of this new season, how can you find balance?
(Full shares contain all remedies, half shares contain the first three)
AUTUMN TEA BLEND
This tea mix contains a number of herbs to help strengthen your immune system this Autumn. There aren’t many pharmaceutical antivirals on the market but there are many plants with antiviral properties including the lemon balm, elderflowers, yarrow flowers and peppermint in this mix. We’ve also added mullein from Finn’s garden for some extra lung support. This tea can help to prevent a cold, ease sinus congestion, break a fever or sweat out a bug.
You can drink this tea daily as preventative medicine or at the onset of a cold or flu. For a medicinal brew use at a ratio of 1 tbsp of herbs per one cup of water. Pour boiling water over herbs, cover, and let steep for a minimum of 20 minutes, up to overnight (longer steeping will create a more potent infusion.) Or simply enjoy in the way that you usually prepare your tea!
Fire cider is an immune boosting tonic with the anti-microbial, raw power of apple cider vinegar, honey, onions, garlic, ginger, horseradish and hot peppers. You can take a dose of it every day to keep you healthy or take a teaspoon every few hours at the first sign of a cold. Dilute it in water, tea or juice, sprinkle it on steamed veggies or put it in your salad dressing!
Although fire cider is a folk remedy popularized by Rosemary Gladstar in the 1970s, a company called Shire City Herbs has patented the term, causing a lot of controversy in the herbalist community. We’ve decided to continue to call this remedy by its traditional name to support the Tradition Not Trademark campaign. To learn more visit: freefirecider.com
MEDICINAL MUSHROOM TINCTURE
This mushroom tincture is a mix of Reishi and Shiitake cultivated from Far West Funghi, and Turkey Tail that we wild harvested in Pescadero.
Medicinal mushrooms are great for strengthening the immune system, as well as knocking out a cold as soon as it starts. They are highly antiviral and will not only work against the common cold, but can also be used to treat HPV, HSV, HEP B and C, and HIV. They are also antibacterial, antifungal (good for candida), anti inflammatory (good for arthritis), and are widely renowned for their anti cancer properties (especially turkey tail and reishi). They are helpful liver cleansers which is also an important part of keeping your immune system in good shape.
Many common culinary herbs are strongly antibacterial since they were traditionally used to preserve foods prior to refrigeration. We've created a mix of some of our favorites kitchen herbs- thyme, sage, rosemary and bay- so you can infuse these herbs into long-simmering stocks, stews and soups and add some preventative medicine into your food! Simply place some of the dried herbs in the provided tea bags for easy infusing and removal. For ideas on how to make your own stocks and broths, check out our fall recipes post.
MUGWORT FLOWER ESSENCE
This flower essence was made by our friend Gina Badger under the full moon, and in view of Mt Shasta, at the Blue Otter School of Herbal Medicine. Mugwort is a plant that grows on many continents and is associated, in many cultures, with the power of the moon. It is also a plant that can help with connecting to dreams, intuition and the unseen. With celebrations like Dia De Los Muertos, All Saints Day and Samhain falling in Autumn, this is the season for connecting to ancestors and our beloved dead and intentionally taking a few drops of Mugwort Flower Essence can help you to more easily access this space between the worlds.
GINGER AND CITRUS PEEL HONEY
We believe that it is important to take a moment to revel in the wonder that some of the most potent remedies can also be some of the most delicious, nourishing food. We infused this Oakland honey with organic ginger and citrus zest to give it an extra little boost, both are great to build immunity as well as treat a common cold (citrus peel is especially good to break up chest congestion and phlegm), and both are great to aid digestion or soothe an upset stomach. And honey, as always, is a powerhouse, antibacterial and anti inflammatory, a helpful addition in every season but an especially strong ally in the fall and winter.
You can add this honey to foods or tea, or eat it straight from the jar with a spoon!
SOOTHING FLOWER OIL
Sometimes moving with the seasons mean the plants provide exactly what you will need in the months to come. This soothing topical oil is made from lavender, calendula and rose flowers harvested in the spring and summer to care for us in the fall and winter. It can be used simply to moisturize dry skin, or to treat any number of skin irritations and inflammations, from eczema to sunburn (always wait to use any oil based products til after the burn has passed).