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FALL AND WINTER HERB GUIDE

Updated: Jan 21

As we head into the fall and winter seasons, our immune systems face increased challenges in keeping us healthy. We wanted to provide a guide to some of our favorite herbs to help you meet these seasonal challenges head-on.

honeybee on an echinacea flower

Remember that any herbal product is only as good as the herbs that go into it. You should buy herbs from companies that grow and produce their herbs and products, not those that buy powdered bulk herbs from middlemen. Check out our Farm-To-Bottle Project to learn more about the importance of knowing exactly where the ingredients in your supplements come from.

Farm to bottle traceable supplements

We recommend using herbs in tincture, syrup (not ones with more sugar than herb), infusion, and tea forms. Pills are the worst way to use herbs. Many beneficial effects that herbs have start with taste. That taste stimulates specific effects in the body. When you use a pill, you miss out on that. In addition, many companies hide poor-quality herbs in capsules because they know no one will taste them.


As with all supplements, it is essential to take the correct dosage daily and consistently. Taking them infrequently and at dosages not enough to do anything, will not get you the results you are looking for. Some herbs are for short-term use, and some are for long-term use and take a while to kick in fully.


Remember to always talk to your doctor before starting any herbal supplements or if you think you have an infection.


Without further ado, here are some of our favorite fall and winter herbal helpers.


Astragalus - This incredible herb helps to support a healthy immune system. It takes a bit of time for it to start working, so you should take it starting in early fall through the end of winter.


When to reach for this: When you feel your immune system needs extra support and you don’t want to spend all season under the weather. It is best taken as a preventative.


How to take: Add 20 drops (1ml) to 1 ounce of water 2-4 times/day, or as suggested by your healthcare provider.


Complementary formulas: Immune Tune, Elderberry Elixir


Do not use astragalus if you have an active infection (bacterial or viral), an autoimmune condition, take immunosuppressant medications, or have high levels of white blood cells.

Astragalus

Extra Echinacea - This preparation contains the whole echinacea plant (root, leaf, and flower).


When to reach for this: When you feel you need some extra immune system support and are worried you might start to feel a bit under the weather, before and during travel or gathering with large groups of people.


How to take: Add 30 drops (1.5ml) to 1 ounce of water 3-5 times/ day, or as suggested by your healthcare provider. It can be diluted and used as a gargle or skin wash. Use for a max of fourteen days.



Do not use whole plant echinacea if you take immunosuppressant medication or have an autoimmune condition.


Echinacea Root - The go-to herb to help you get through those times when you feel yucky.


When to reach for this: This type of echinacea preparation is best taken at the first sign of feeling under the weather.


How to take: Add 20 drops (1ml) to 1 ounce of water 3-5 times/day, or as suggested by your healthcare provider. Use for a max of 14 days.


Echinacea flowers

Elderberry Elixir - Elderberry is a rockstar in the herb world. The problem is that many elderberry products are adulterated and loaded with sugar (many have more sugar than pancake syrup), which completely defeats the purpose. Elderberry Elixer is free of added sugars, just the natural sweetness of the elderberry and a bit of glycerin. Check out our blog article, Elderberry My Old Friend, to learn more about this incredible herb.


When to reach for this: Elderberry takes a little while to kick in, so it is best started in early fall and taken through the winter months. It’s great on pancakes as a replacement for syrup. It is also rich in antioxidants that support the heart and cardiovascular system.


How to take: Add 20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 2-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Astragalus, Immune Tune


Do not use elderberry elixir if you have a fever, take immunosuppressant medication, or have an autoimmune condition.

Elderberries and syrup

Ginger Glycerite - This warming and delicious glycerite is made with Ginger organically grown in Maine.


When to reach for this: The winter cold makes your digestion feel sluggish, you cannot shake that winter chill, and your lungs feel cold and full of mucus.


How to take: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.


Complementary Formulas: Elderberry Elixir, Herbal Zing, Yarrow


Do not use ginger glycerite if you take blood-thinning medications.

ginger

Goldenseal - Goldenseal is a wonderful plant, but it is endangered from overharvesting. Only buy goldenseal that has been farm-grown; never buy wild-harvested goldenseal.


When to reach for it: When you feel like there is a lot of mucus in the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. It is very drying.


How to use: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner. As needed, dilute in water as a mouthwash or gargle to support gum tissue. Use for a max of 14 days.


Complementary Formulas: Sinus Support, Herbal Zing


Marshmallow Root Elixir - This mucilage-rich herb is soothing and moisturizing to irritated tissues in the digestive, urinary, and respiratory systems.


When to reach for it: When the dry winter air (or the heat in your house) makes your lungs feel dry and irritated, or you have a dry cough.


How to use: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.


Complementary Formulas: Solomons Seal, Usnea

Mullein - Mullein is one of the most well-known lung-supportive herbs.


When to reach for it: When needing support for the occasional dry or stuck respiratory function of the upper or lower tract, especially in the lungs.


How to use: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.


Complementary Formulas: Lung Tonic, Bronchial Support

Solomon's Seal - While not as well known as many other herbs, it is a plant that offers many benefits to the respiratory system.


When to reach for it: When your respiratory and nasal passages feel very dry, this herb will help to soothe and deeply moisturize them also, if your joints feel extra achy and creaky in the dry, cold winter air.


How to use: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1 to 3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.


Complementary Formulas: Usnea, Marshmallow Root Elixir

Solomon's Seal

Usnea - Also known as old man’s beard, this herb is moisturizing and soothing to irritated mucus membranes.


When to reach for it: For supporting the mucous membranes of the lungs and throat, especially when accompanied by heat. Also, helps to support healthy lung function.


How to use: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.


Complementary formulas: Lung Tonic, Bronchial Support, Mullein, Yarrow


Yarrow - This humble herb is supportive and calming to an overtaxed system.


When to reach for it: When the tissues of the mouth and throat feel irritated, your fingers and toes feel cold, and winter has you feeling down.


How to take: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 1 to 3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Ginger Glycerite, Spring & Fall Tonic

yarrow

Sometimes a blend of herbs is better suited than just a single herb. Deb Soule, one of the most incredible herbalists in the world, formulated and produced these formulas.


Bronchial Support - This intensely aromatic formula is made of some of the most respected plants for respiratory health and function, especially when you want extra support and encouragement, White Pine, Horehound, Mullein, Thyme, and Elecampane.


When to reach for it: When your chest feels congested.


How to take: Add 20 drops (1ml) to 1 ounce of water 4x times/day, as needed, or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Lung Tonic, Mullein


Do not use this if you have liver or gallbladder disease.


Echinacea & Goldenseal Blend - This tincture combines two of our mightiest immune support roots, Echinacea and Goldenseal. An incredible coupling of herbs to have on hand throughout the winter and when encouraging a healthy response to seasonal challenges is desired.


When to reach for it: When the mucous membranes of your upper respiratory tract need a little extra support, and you are starting to feel under the weather.


How to take: Add 20 drops (1ml) to 1 ounce of water 3-4 times/day for a max of 14 days, or as suggested by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Sinus Support, Herbal Zing


Herbal Throat Spray - This pleasant and comforting blend of botanicals, Bee Propolis, Echinacea, Hyssop, Licorice, Thyme, Usnea, and honey encourage the throat's mucous membrane health and support a healthy immune system.


When to reach for it: To soothe an irritated and dry throat or to help with a sore throat before public speaking. Great to use when traveling in crowded places or on an airplane.


How to take: Shake well before use. Spray 3 pumps directly on the back of the throat 8-12 times per day, as needed or as suggested by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Immune Boost, Usnea, Marshmallow Root Elixir


Do not take this if you have an allergy to bee products, an autoimmune condition, or take immunosuppressant medications.


Herbal Zing - If you're familiar with Fire Cider (a famous immune-building vinegar preparation), you can think of our Herbal Zing as a super concentrated Fire Cider with the addition of an array of immune-supporting herbs, goldenseal, bee propolis, echinacea, spilanthes, usnea, cayenne, garlic, that packs a punch.


When to reach for it: When you need a pick me up, when your sinuses are clogged up, and when you feel under the weather and want to feel better fast.


How to take: Add 10 to 20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.



Do not take this if you have an allergy to bee products, an autoimmune condition, or take immunosuppressant medications.


Immune Boost - Elderberry has been valued and respected through the ages, and this blend combines organically grown Maine Elderberries, Ginger, and Thyme to create a delicious blend that deeply supports immune health and vitality during the winter months or other immune-challenging times. Thyme and Ginger both add warming aromatics that encourage circulation and respiratory and digestive support. The result is a soothing and protective blend that is appropriate for children and adults alike.


When to reach for it: When seeking extra immune or respiratory support, especially during the colder months. Take regularly if you are a teacher, student, in the service profession, or a healthcare provider. A fantastic ally to bring traveling.


How to take: Add 10-20 drops (.5-1ml) to 1 ounce of water 3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare provider.



Do not take this if you have an autoimmune condition or take immunosuppressant medications.


Immune Tune - This tonic contains Astragalus, Codonopsis, Schisandra, Eleuthero, Cinnamon, Licorice, and Prickly Ash, which help to build a strong immune system.


When to reach for it: When you are preparing for a stressful time, a big project, or other events that may take a lot out of you.


How to take: Add 25 drops (1.25ml) to 1 ounce of water 1-3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Astragalus, Lung Tonic


Do not use this if you have an active infection (bacterial or viral), an autoimmune condition, take immunosuppressant medications, or have high levels of white blood cells.

chinese herbs

Lung Tonic - Lung Tonic is made from a dynamic and supportive collection of plants, Astragalus, Marshmallow, Mullein, Reishi, and Schisandra, that, when used daily over a period of time, fortify both the immune and respiratory systems of the human body.


When to reach for it: If you are the person who says, “Whenever I catch something, it always goes right to my lungs,” then this formula you have been looking for.


How to take: Add 30 drops (1.5ml) of tincture to 1 ounce of water 3 times/day or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Bronchial Support, Sinus Support


Do not use this if you have an acute infection (bacterial or viral), an autoimmune condition, take immunosuppressant medications, or have high levels of white blood cells.


Lymph Mover - Lymph Mover is a potent blend of five herbs, Blessed Thistle, Cleavers, Milk Thistle, Prickly Ash, and Red Root. This dynamic formula deeply supports the vibrancy of the lymphatic system as well as the function of the liver, kidney, and immune system, which all play important roles in the integrity of the lymphatic system. Best used as a tonic for a period of time.


When to reach for it: To support a healthy lymphatic system as needed. When feeling bogged down or swollen.


How to take: Use 5-15 drops (.25-.75ml) in 1 ounce of water 3 times/day for 6 weeks, or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Herbal Zing


Sinus Support - It helps to soothe occasional irritation of the sinus and nasal passages while encouraging a healthy response to seasonal challenges. It contains Hyssop, Eyebright, Osha, Goldenseal, and Elder Flowers.


When to reach for it: When your sinuses are feeling irritated and hot while producing excess mucus.


How to take: Add 20 drops to 1 ounce of water 3-6 times/day as needed or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Elderberry Elixir, Herbal Zing


Not for use as a nasal spray or rinse; not for direct topical application to the sinus cavity.


Spring and Fall Tonic - A perfect ally during the transitional seasons of the year, spring and fall, this tonic blends 4 of our most common, beloved, and potent Northeastern "weeds," Burdock, Nettle, Yellow Dock, and Dandelion (whole plant), together to create a balancing and supportive blend. Spring & Fall Tonic helps keep you in step with the seasonal wheel's rhythms, gifts, and challenges, preparing you to make the most of all that summer and winter offer.


When to reach for it: If you are feeling nervous about the cold of winter, this tonic helps ease the body into seasonal transitions.


How to take: Add 20 drops (1ml) to 1 ounce of water 3 times/day after meals for 4 weeks in the spring and fall, or as directed by your healthcare provider.


Complementary Formulas: Ginger Glycerite


Lung and Cough Syrup - Finally, a truly natural cough syrup that actually works! It helps to relieve stubborn coughs without suppressing them. No menthol or synthetic chemicals. Features the herbal friend's elecampane, osha, mullein, blue vervain, and hyssop in a base of wildflower honey.


When to reach for it: When you have a cough and your lungs feel irritated, sore, and dry.


How to take: Shake well. Take 1 tsp (2-5 mL), 2-3 times per day with water.


We hope this guide helps you to have a happy and healthy fall and winter. There are many other wonderful immune-supporting herbs (such as Osha, Lomatium, Pleurisy, Oil of Oregano, Mushrooms, and many more); we could not cover all of them in one article. However, we promise to get to them in the future! Make sure to check out our blog article, Stay Healthy My Friends, for more tips on staying well this fall and winter.


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