The days are cooler and the nights are longer. It’s not all boots, scarves, incense, and pumpkin spice! Fill your herbal toolbelt with easy to make – and take – herbal remedies that ease cold and flu symptoms, kill viruses, and generally help our loved ones feel warm and cozy!


Medicine of the Forest

Conifers have an affinity for the lungs, containing the medicine in their leaves and bark in the form of terpenes and resins that stimulate white blood cell levels (leukocytosis) and are antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, astringent, expectorant, and bronchial stimulating for easier breathing. 

One of my favorite fall medicines to make and use starts with Douglas Fir needles and bark. Ponderosa, white, lodgepole, shore or any pine, spruce, western larch while the needles are still green, and any of the fir trees may be used with equal success, medicinally.

Conifer Bark and Needle
Virus and Congestion Remedy

What you’ll need:
A pint jar
Clippers or scissors
4 hand size pieces of doug fir or pine (see pic)
1 organic mandarin orange or tangerine
2 inches of fresh ginger
1 tsp. cloves
100 proof vodka

How to: 

Strip the leaves/needles and bark from the fir or pine. Chop them up as fine as you can. We use the needles and bark, the sticks get composted. Thinly slice the mandarin orange, skin and all, and cut into quarters. Grate the ginger. Everything goes into the pint jar… don’t forget the cloves! Pour the vodka in about 2/3rds of the way up the jar, then top off with the honey. Label your jar and let it sit on the counter for 3 weeks to a month, then strain. Use up to a teaspoon in warm water, in tea, or straight from the spoon several times a day as needed.

As covid has created “flu season” all year long, and simple colds and influenzas
A and B are still active, it’s always good timing to make these tried and true herbal remedies!

One of the mottos here at the Cedar Mountain Herb School is “Get the medicine to the people in ways that they’ll delight in taking, so that healing can occur.” Herbal remedies don’t have to taste bad to work! Why take Robitussin when you can incorporate the medicine from the woods and garden in your apothecary?

In the wild, we can utilize herbs such as fir and pine, salal, licorice fern, and elderberries in our remedies. Our kitchen gardens yield onions and garlic, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage. At the farmers markets, we might find ginger, turmeric, oranges, lemons, and tangerines. All of these healthful herbs can be turned into remedies that can relieve coughs and congestion, kill viruses, help us to sleep better, quell nausea, and lessen sore throats and the aches and pains that can manifest when viruses occur.

I’m happy to share some of my favorite recipes that taste so good and work so well! Try them with your loved ones and see the amazing results.

Allium Citrus Honey

This herbalicious honey has a tangy spicy flavor that holds its own slathered on cooked chicken, in teas, on toast with goat cheese and avocado, as a salad dressing with a bit of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, or even straight from the spoon! I always use organic ingredients. Did you know that organic food contains more virus killing and anti-inflammatory polyphenols than commercially grown? Boom…drops the mic!

What you’ll need:
A pint jar
2 heads of garlic
1 small onion
1 half lemon
1-2 inches fresh ginger
1 cinnamon stick

How to:
Break open the heads of garlic. Smack each clove with the flat of a knife to remove the skins. Mince. Peel the onion, mince. Thinly slice the lemon, including the skin, and cut into quarters. Grate the ginger and roughly break apart the cinnamon stick. Fill the jar with your prepared ingredients, then fill the jar with local honey. Put on a lid and label and let it sit on a plate on the counter for 2-3 weeks then strain. Enjoy!

Virus Killing Vinegar

I love love love using herbal vinegars. They’re so versatile! Splash them over cooked veg, spill some into fizzy water, make bbq and dipping sauces, dressings of all kinds, and so much more! I always use organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar as it contains the nutrition and some of the medicine of apples including virus killing antioxidants. Allowing herbs to soak in the acv makes it even more medicinally powerful! Go team vinegar!

What you’ll need:
A pint jar
1/4 cup each fresh garden sage, thyme, rosemary, and oregano
1/4 cup fresh chives
Scant pint organic unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
Plastic lid or metal lid and a piece of parchment paper

How To:
Mince all the herbs and stuff your jar full. Cover completely with the acv, put on the lid and label. Let it sit on your counter for 3-4 weeks, then strain and enjoy.

There you have it, my friends! May your apothecary be as full as your heart and circle of friends and family. Remember that I love you, and as always, I’m Wild About Plants!

Suzanne Tabert

Suzanne "Queen Bee" Tabert

Suzanne Tabert, bioregional herbalist, is director of herbal education and herbal mentor at the Cedar Mountain Herb School. An herbal medicine instructor for 30 years, Suzanne teaches with great passion and excitement, bringing her wealth of herbal knowledge to students in an engaging and vibrant manner. She is the primary instructor at CMHS and an adjunct faculty at Bastyr University. Taking students to wild places and giving them tools to engage and connect with flora, fauna, and the exquisite beauty of nature is the icing on the cake of life, and one way that Suzanne is making a difference in the world, one person, one group at a time. She is currently writing a wildcrafting book that will be able to be utilized by people of all walks of life who wish to take their health back into their own hands. Cedar Mountain Herb School is a member of the American Herbalists Guild, Partnership in Education with United Plant Savers, and the American Herb Association.


  • Jeanette says:

    Hi there! I want to make this infused honey above! I have read in different forums to be careful when infusing honey that you do not introduce extra moisture that may allow honey to ferment. Is it okay to infuse lemon and and citrus in this honey? Will the honey ferment while sitting with the herbs in it? If I wanted to infuse honey with fresh thyme and rosemary, should I be concerned the honey will ferment, or should I use dried herbs? Thank you!! Love your information and recipes on your website!

    • Hello Jeanette!

      Thanks for reaching out with your questions and kind words! It seems that everyone has their way to making herbal remedies, some sound, some not. I am a big fan of using fresh herbs in all of my remedies so as to not lose any of the medicinal value. Making herbal honeys with fresh herbs is fine, with the caveat of when utilizing fruit and berries such as elderberries, citrus, etc, we macerate (allow the plant material to sit in the honey) while in the fridge and then keep in the fridge after straining a month later. If some honeys do ferment, that is not a bad thing, but a boon to our immune, nerver and digestive health via introducing good gut bacteria. We do need to watch for mold. Mold and fermentation are 2 different things. I hope this answers your questions and…..have fun!

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