Notes from 2018 Winter Remedy Workshop


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Elderberry Balsamic Vinegar

This recipe also works well for other fruits such as blaeberries, blackcurrants and raspberries.

Remove the elderberries from their umbels using a fork or place them in the freezer and remove the berries easily while they are still frozen. I accumulate berries in my freezer in dribs and drabs throughout autumn then make a big batch.

Weigh the berries before placing them in a suitable container then add 500ml of white wine vinegar for every 350g of fruit.

Leave covered for 3-5 days, stirring occasionally.

Strain off the liquid (discard the berries) and add 350g of sugar per 260ml of liquid.

Simmer for 10 minutes then bottle.

The delicious sweet vinegar will keep very well. Keeps well until next years crop, if it lasts that long!

Elderberry Vinegar Recipe

Rosehip Syrup

Pick, destalk and wash 2 lb of Rosehips, use fresh fully ripe and deep red, sometimes the berries are best after the first frost but we have found that the berries are ripening before this and start to go soft and brown if left too long.

Crush grate or mince them in and place them into a pot with 3pints of water. Bring to the boil again.

Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10-15 mins.

Strain through jelly bag or muslin.

Return the pulp to another pan with another 1.5 pints of water.

Reboil, then leave to stand for 10 mins.

Strain again and discard the pulp.

Mix the two water extracts and reduce in a clean pan until there is 1.5 pints remaining.

Add 3/4-1lb of sugar, stir until dissolved and boil for 5 mins.

Pour while hot into hot clean, sterilised bottles. Seal at once.


Hi everyone, just wanted to post a wee update recipe. I tried a rosehip syrup a new way and liked the result. here is what I did.. much less sugar content!!
So I gather all the rosehips I wanted, topped and tailed them and gave them a wee wash.
Then I covered them (just and no more) in boiled water and simmered them gently for 15-20 mins, mashing a few times.
I turned the heat off, put the lid on and left for about 10 hours, mashing again periodically.
What was left in the pan was a very thick gooey fruit mush.
I strained that through a muslin, it took a wee while as the mixture was quite thick.
The liquid I got out I experimented by adding small amounts of honey until it tasted nice.
So it worked out I added 22.5g of honey for 100ml of syrup. you could use less if you like I reckon. Label and keep in fridge.

Garlic & Onion Honey

Crush, chop or squash 4 or 5 garlic cloves (there’s no exact science to this). Chop some onion, add some chopped fresh chilli or dried chill flakes. Cover with Honey. Mix it round. Leave for at least a few hours (shake occasionally) before starting to use. You can take a spoonful of the honey after a few hours. But best to leave overnight, then strain and Keep in fridge. Should last a few weeks, you’ll start to taste when it’s time to make a new one, it goes a bit stale.

Sabines Cough Syrup

Soothing, Antiseptic, expectorant. Thins out mucus and opens bronchi. Use for chesty, deep cough, tightness and sore throat.

15g dried thyme

8g dried sage

2 teaspoons fennel seed

1 teaspoon aniseed

20 cloves

2 garlic cloves

Pinch cayenne or ginger

900ml water

450g honey or sugar

Put herbs and water into a pan and bring to boil. Cover with well fitting lid and reduce heat. Simmer gently for 20 minutes. Allow liquid to cool slightly then strain into a pan. Press herb to extract as much liquid and goodness as possible. Discard herbs.

Return liquid to the heat and simmer until reduced to 200ml. The slower the reduction the better.

Add the sugar/honey to the pan. Dissolve slowly and simmer for a few minutes. Stirring all the time until you reach a syrupy consistency. Pour syrup into clean bottles and label with date, name and dosage. (Adult 2-3 teaspoons 3-6xdaily, child 1 teaspoon 3-6x daily) [3]

Geoff’s chest oil

Use for dry irritable and infected coughs, chest tightness, shoulder tension and asthma.

Rub all over chest, front and back, especially between the shoulder blades, before bed and in the morning.

8g Dried Thyme

8g Dried lavender

8gdried aniseed

3 cloves crushed garlic or 1 sliced onion

10 cloves

1 chamomile teabag (optional if restlessness an issue)

Pinch ground ginger

300ml vegetable oil

Add half of each ingredient to all the oil into a container which has a tight lid (jam jar etc), put this container into a pan with water (double boiler) and simmer for 2 hours. You can put 2-3 jars in the water together. Double boiling allows prolonged heated without damaging the oil. Allow mixture to cool slightly then strain.

This is half way through the process- at this strength the oil can be used for infants, elderly, directly on the skin or as a bath oil.

Discard spent herb.

Put remaining ingredients into jar, add infused oil, replace lid, and return to double boiler. Simmer for another 2 hours. Check water levels. When jar cooled enough, strain again.

If using fresh herbs there may be watery liquid at the bottom of the oil, this must be thrown away otherwise it will deteriorate and quickly spoil the oil. [Hedley, C. Shaw,N. 1996.Herbal Remedies-A practical beginers guide to making effective remedies. Parragon Books. GB]

Respiratory herbs

Thyme, Garlic, Onion, Fenugreek, Aniseed

Diaphoretic * See week 1 notes

Elderflowers, hyssop, cinnamon, ginger

Mucilage remedies * see week 3 notes

Flaxseed, Oats, Barley, Cucumber, Plantain, Okra,

Anti-septic remedies * see week 2 notes

Essential oils (titree, lemon, eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, clove), Garlic/Onion, Cinnamon, Clove, Honey, Lemon, Salt, Turmeric, Thyme, Sage

Warming/Heating remedies/Digestive * See week 1 notes

Cinnamon, Ginger Cayenne, Garlic/Onion, Cloves, Rosemary,Black Pepper, Mustard

Immune stimulating/Lymphatic/cleansing remedies * see week 2 notes

Echinacea, Elderberry, Garlic, Lemon, Essential oils, Honey, Ti-tree/ Cleavers (sticky willy), Calendula/ nettles, Juniper, Aloe Vera

Expectorants (stimulating)

Ginger, garlic, angelica root, chilli (cayenne), eucalyptus

Expectorants (relaxants/antispasmodic)

Aniseed, fenugreek, cinnamon, Thyme, liquorice, hyssop


Nettle, Tea, Sage , bramble leaf and root

Antitussive (reduce cough)

Cherry bark

Sage (Do not take in medicinal does during pregnancy or while breast feeding)

Antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, tonic, antispasmodic, digestive

Think about sage as a gargle or tea for sore throats, tonsillitis (quincy) laryngitis, pharyngitis. Also consider for dry tight coughs.

Mouthwash-2 teaspoons fresh/1 teaspoon dried leaves in 500ml water. Bring to boil, cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Gargle for 5-10 minutes with the hot tea. Can be swallowed also.


Powerful Antiseptic, warming, stimulating, Expectorant, rubificient.

Can dilate bronchioles of the lungs, highly antiseptic, warming and painkilling.

Add this essential oil to bath water (in milk), chest rubs, inhalations, steam baths etc.


Antiseptic in both the lungs and the bowel. General tonic action, this added to the antiseptic action makes it a good addition to any infection controlling medicine.

Make a tea from the leaves to drink freely through the day. Mix with Sage leaves at the very first sign of any infection (i.e tiredness/fatigue.)

A decoction can be taken at the first signs of or during an infection, this will be a stronger preparation.

Prepare for winter by collecting Thyme from the garden in late summer and place in some cider vinegar to make a Herbal Tincture.

Use the essential oil in a diffuser at first sign of infection or where someone in the house is ill. Add to a chest rub or dilute in milk and add to bath water.


Onion /leek and wild garlic has the same actions as garlic but are more gentle; more suitable for children.

Antibiotic, antiviral, fungicide, anti-allergenic, diaphoretic, antiseptic, expectorant, positive cardiovascular actions also.

Highly researched to show antibiotic activity, Allicin and other volatile principles, produced when the clove is crushed, are highly antiseptic and antibiotic. The warming action helps to increase blood circulation and improve immune responses.

Garlic on the breath shows that some metabolism is done in the lung. This means that it is strongly active in the lungs against all Respiratory tract infections including infected coughs, bronchitis and viral infections(colds/flu)

Use generously in foods. Make garlic and onion honey and use 1 teaspoon daily as preventative or 2-3 teaspoons

Daily at first sign and throughout infection.

Make a garlic oil or vinegar to use with foods or take medicinally.

Aniseed (pimpinella anisum)

Avoid in medicinal doses in pregnancy.

Expectorant, antispasmodic,carminative, parasiticide, aromatic, warming

Used for bronchitis and tracheitis, where there is persistent irritable coughing, and whooping cough.

Make tea with crushed seeds, 1-2 teaspoons per cup. Cover and sit for 10-15 minutes before drinking. ! cup 3x daily for medicinal dosage.

Clove– Rub diluted clove oil onto the stomach if internal medicines are not tolerated.

A very stimulating aromatic spice, clove has a warming effect that increases ‘fire’ in the stomach and stimulates the circulation. Highly antiseptic, it is useful for infection at any point in the system and is especially useful to use for winter infections due to the warming and stimulating action. As it is an aromatic, it has a relaxing uplifting element to it’s warmth rather than a hot fieriness,therefore it is useful to relax tense, tight muscles and lift the mood. This spice also has a clearing effect in the lungs and upper respiratory tract.

Cinnamon will help reduce colicky spasms and its antiseptic action will help reduce bacteria/viral numbers as well. Warming


Like cinnamon, ginger is warming and antiseptic, it helps the body manage winter infections before they take a deep hold on the body. The volatile oils stimulate the immune system and have antiseptic actions, this complements ginger’s opening heating / circulatory action which helps the body manage the infection systemically. Ginger also has a warming expectorant action in the lungs, meaning it can help the lungs to clear mucus and chest infections.

Ginger is a warming stimulant that can help reactivate healthy vibrant body processes if there is depleted energy (always ensure good nutrition and elimination when trying to stimulate the body).


Chilli pepper is hotter than cinnamon and ginger, it is likely to be less tolerated by a weakened body, therefore it should be only be considered to use for people who are generally well with good vitally. Using Chilli in a medicinal way on a person who is chronically fatigued will be too stimulating and hot and could deplete them further. Also avoid if the person is unwell and very ‘dry’ in constitution, again the ‘hottness’ of this remedy may worsen the condition, choose one of the more gentler warming, aromatic, opening remedies instead.

For people who can use this remedy it is excellent at the beginning signs of infection to really heat up, stimulate and kick start the immune system. Heating will increase sweating and increase urination, this will help eliminate toxins and reduce fever.

As a significant digestive tonic, chilli will stimulate and ‘fire up’ the digestion, our internal metabolic stove, where heat is produced to circulate round our bodies and food is digested as the fuel. Our enteric immune system is also activated.

Chilli is again beneficial in the lungs and like ginger helps to relieve congestion and catarr.


Elderberry bushes or trees can be found very locally, so you don’t usually need to look to far. If you have a tree near you be careful how many of the flowers you pick in the summer or you’ll have no berries in the autumn.

Elderberry is a great cold and flu remedy, it can be taken as a preventative or at higher doses to manage infection if it has taken hold. The key active components have been shown to be effective against several strains of influenza in the laboratory, cells being protected against the virus and it’s efficacy was not affected by different strains of the virus. Elderberry extract increases activity of white blood cells and influenza antibodies, meaning that the immune system as a whole is activated by elderberry extract. [6] Elderberry extract was also found to be effective against 4 strains of HSV-1 virus, no more cold sores!! [6]


High in vitamin C and antioxidants.