Monday, January 28, 2013

Recipe of the Moment: Master Tonic

Have you managed to avoid getting the flu this year? While I've been lucky to avoid the "rampant epidemic" going around, I haven't been able to completely avoid getting ill. I was knocked out for about two days earlier this month with a fever, sore throat, and general achy-ness and tiredness. 

Why only two days? Because I made sure to make some Master Tonic before I got sick. Perhaps if I had taken it every day beforehand (as you're supposed to do), I wouldn't have gotten sick, but that's another story entirely...

I know with a name like Master Tonic, this concoction seems to conjure up memories from the early 20th century of a slick salesman trying to convince you that his snake oil will cure everything despite curing nothing, but amazingly the master tonic does work. I found the recipe on Heal Thyself, a great website that encourages healing our ailments through food.

Previously whenever I feel a cold start to come on, I would take raw garlic, or make garlic tea, and I do still stand by that. But this stuff is a little quicker to take (versus finding, chopping and consuming raw garlic) and has a few more ingredients for maximum health benefits.

The ingredients: apple cider vinegar, garlic, onions, ginger, horseradish root, cayenne peppers. Yes, this thing is spicy and one whiff will clean out your sinuses in no time. I'm sure you're generally aware that all of those ingredients are good for you, but I want to break it down, with help from Happy Mothering.

Apple cider vinegar: What doesn't ACV do? To its followers, it's pretty much a cure-all, though according to WebMD, ACV has only been shown to help diabetes, high cholesterol, blood pressure and general heart health, cancer, and weight loss.

Garlic: Kills the bad bacteria in your body, leaving the good bacteria. Also powerful antiviral, anti-parasitical   and antifungal.

Ginger: Antimicrobial. Boosts your immune system. Increases blood circulation. Great for nausea.

Onions: Diuretic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory. Effective expectorant. 

Horseradish root: Antibacterial, anti-parasitic. Stimulates the immune system. Increases blood flow. Helps open the sinus passages.

Hot Peppers: Boosts immune system.Natural decongestant. Natural pain reliever.

1 part garlic
1 part ginger root
1 part white onions
1 part horseradish root
1 part hot peppers
apple cider vinegar

Peel the horseradish root, ginger root, onions, and garlic.

Add horseradish root, ginger root, garlic, onions, and peppers to a blender or food processor and blend.

Add diced ingredients to a jar and pour enough apple cider vinegar to cover the top of the food bits.

Shake vigorously. 

Put in a dark spot and shake once a day for 2 weeks.

The tonic can be used before 2 weeks is up, and can sit longer than 2 weeks, but is generally accepted as "ready" after 2 weeks.

Strain the food bits out of the tonic. I like to save my food bits to add to soup, stock, tea, etc.

According to Heal Thyself, the proper dosage is 1/2 - 1 ounce, two or more times daily. I tend to take a tablespoon a day if I'm around sick people. If I'm sick myself, I take a tablespoon every 1-3 hours as needed. 

Effects of the tonic can be felt almost immediately, and I must warn you, this is nasty going down (unless you're really sick, in which case you can't taste it). Definitely have something ready to chase it with, but the effects are so great that it's worth the initial discomfort.

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