I talk about “Master Tonic” every season. And inevitably, every season, there are several friends, followers, or patients that ask me, “what is it that again?” and “wait, what exactly is in it?”
Basically, it is “nature’s flu shot” (although I hate saying that). In my family, we try to avoid anything that will compromise our immune system; We skip out on copious antibiotics, prescription drugs, over the counter medicines, vaccinations, unhealthy food choices, etc as much as we can. Rather we prefer to strengthen our immunity naturally. And, we believe in “food as medicine.” Whole food supplements, homeopathic remedies, herbs too, and tonics. So, this tonic is a really great start to boost your seasonal immunity. We always have it on hand in the fridge so at the first sign of a sniffle or sore throat? Yep…a shot of the tonic. One or two of these a day and you’ll be good as new in a few.
Believe it or not, nature gives us exactly what we need, when we need it. Local, seasonal food actually does more to prevent dis-ease than most of us know – these days anyway. Our ancestors knew it. Ancient traditional healers knew it. And the extensive research of Dr. Weston Price* shows us it is so. “Master Tonic” really is the best of the best as far as immune-boosting natural medicine is concerned.
So, this is MY version. There are many, but this one suits me best. Here ya go:
- black pepper
- lemon juice
- apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg’s but definitely a brand that is organic & contains “the mother”)
- maple syrup (preferably grade-B)
- honey (raw & local)
Preferably all organic, all raw, and all fresh. Grated and then blended with all the pulp remaining. If you only have powder or flakes or whatever that’s ok too, but raw organic is the BEST.
Folks ask “how much of each?” I always respond with “as much as you can tolerate.” It should be as spicy as you can possibly make it without blowing your head off. It will kinda taste like a sweet-and-spicy Thai chili sauce. In fact, it is so easy to use this in soup or sauce recipes to make delicious seasonal family dinners while keeping everyone healthy! Add even SOME of these ingredients to your regular diet and meals to boost your wellness. If you are extremely sensitive to spicy, follow the “shot” with a “chaser” of rice, almond, or coconut milk (must be non dairy to prevent excess phlegm and inflammation). It is much the same as how you would cool your palate with Thai tea or coconut in your curry at your fave Thai or Indian restaurant, or Horchata after spicy Mexican food.
OK, so I’m sure you are wondering how these various food items can be so miraculous. Delicious, sure, but curative? What exactly makes this food into medicine? For that, follow along – here’s a little light reading…
Historically, garlic has been known to combat sickness (and not just ward off Vampires! although you can see how that myth is seasonally appropriate as, inexplicably, illness does rise in October). Garlic contains a compound called Allicin that has many medicinal properties. It also contains significant amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, & Manganese. It is good for combating high blood pressure/hypertension, and likewise improves cholesterol thus lowering one’s likelihood of heart disease. It’s strong concentration of antioxidants prevents sickness as well as preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-viral. Finally, it’s allyl sulfides hep prevent cancer.
for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic
or here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60
Not just for nausea (although it does do wonders for nausea when you’re preggers!- fresh only though – no supplements!). Ginger is shocked full of nutrients and bio active compounds that are super healthy for your body and brain. Ginger helps with digestion, reduces nausea, and most importantly, fights the flu. It’s natural oil, gingerol, is a bioactive compound responsible for anti inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Because it is anti-inflammatory, ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness. The root also boasts anti-diabetic properties by lowering sugar, helps to prevent heart disease, and reduces menstrual pain, as well as lowers cholesterol. Studies show that gingerol has even been found to help prevent cancer.
for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger/
Too hot! Hot Damn! Call the Police & the Fireman! But really, Cayenne is a powerhouse of health. Full of Capsaicin, the question really is, what CAN’T it fix?
Firstly we’ll start with our gut. Capsaicin increases the digestive fluids, starting with saliva, and down on into the stomach. By doing so, it fights bacteria that could cause an intestinal infection. It also helps with digestions and aids in fighting diarrhea that is caused by a bacterial infection (and God knows flu diarrhea can be nasty). Capsaicin acts as an antioxidant, protecting the cells from free radicals. Plus, Cayenne is highly effective in cancer prevention. Capsaicin is a mucus thinner, and can help get mucus out of the lungs (very good when you have the flu!). It is thought to strengthen lung tissues and help to prevent emphysema.
or here: http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/capsaicin-topic-overview
I know! All the rage now! Everyone is talking and tweeting about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric. The “Golden Latte” is on the tip of many westside hipster tongues. Well, it is true. This spice has amazing anti-inflammatory qualities! Here’s the scoop:
Turmeric is what turns curry yellow and has been used in India for thousands of years. The thing that makes it medicinal is it’s compounds called curcuminoids, most notably, curcumin; The famed antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects. But what is MOST important and many folks don’t know, is that you MUST consume turmeric in conjunction with black pepper. The black pepper contains piperine, which increases your blood’s ability to absorb the curcumin by as much as 2000%! Also important, and why the ‘golden milk’ works well as a delivery system, is that turmeric is fat soluble, so it should be consumed with a fatty meal.
What else is cool about this hip spice? It helps to improve brain function and lowers the risk of brain dis-eases such as depression and Alzheimer’s. How? not to get too sciency, but many brain disorders are linked to decreased levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Curcumin can increase levels of BDNF, therefore delaying and/or even reversing age related decrease in brain function as well as common brain diseases. Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier, which is the reason that it is believed to aid dramatically in the prevention and reverse of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the characteristics of this vastly unstudied disease, is a buildup of proteins called Amyloid plaques. Studies show that curcumin is helpful in the removal of these plaques. Oxidative damage and inflammation play a major role as well, both of which are beneficially affected by the curcumin in Turmeric. As it aids in the brain, curcumin is also thought to just plain make you smarter.
Oh and btw, as it is anti-inflammatory, curcumin helps with arthritis, even rheumatoid arthritis.
As you may or may not realize, inflammation is your body’s way of insulating itself when it is damaged, but it also causes pain. So why is turmeric good for preventing/recovering from the flu? um, decreases your inflammation, duh.
*Oh and on a healthy side note*…You may have heard about the recent recall. If not, now you do. Elevated levels of lead have been found in six brands of powdered turmeric, all from the parent company Gel Spice: Spice Select, Market Pantry, Gel (2 lots), Clear Value, Lieber’s, and Spice Supreme (For more on that go here: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/08/six-brands-of-turmeric-added-to-recall-for-excessive-lead/#.WA7e-qOZPR1). Suffice to say be aware of your product and from whom you are purchasing.
For more info re the benefits of turmeric, you can go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric/
So, above we mentioned how this spice works in conjunction with turmeric, but it also has many medicinal qualities of it’s very own and is used frequently in Ayurvedic medicine. In addition to the afore mentioned piperine, black pepper also contains iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, chromium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C.
As with it’s bestie curcumin, piperine increases the bioavailability of many other nutrients namely Vitamin A, C, selenium, and beta carotene. It also helps to stimulate digestion and as a result can help prevent or colic, bloating, indigestion, flatulence, and constipation (all horrid flu symptoms). It’s antibacterial qualities prevent intestinal bacteria and aid in a healthy gut biome. Studies show that piperine speeds up your metabolism, suppresses fat accumulation in the body, promotes urination, and perspiration, and as a result aids in detox as it helps to remove toxins from the body (just sweat it out).
for more info, go here: http://www.top10homeremedies.com/kitchen-ingredients/top-10-health-benefits-black-pepper.html
No…not lemonade, not “from concentrate,” not reconstituted, and most certainly not from a plastic lemon-shaped bottle! Raw, fresh-squeezed and organic if you please.
First off, Lemons are packed with vitamin C, and not just a little, they have 187% of the daily value, so super-duper for your immune system! Together with the flavonoid glycosides esperetin and naringenin, free radicals haven’t much of a fighting chance.
Additionally, lemons contain thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, calcium, and copper, folate, and potassium. The more healthy minerals in you, the healthier you are. Lemons contain Vitamin A, and flavonoid anti-oxidants like alpha, and B-carotenes, B-cryptoxanthin, zea-xanthin and lutein all of which are antioxidants.
Surprisingly, lemons are NOT acidic (weird I know!) they are actually alkaline and work to balance your body’s pH. Most sickness cannot exist in an alkaline environment, notably cancer. Their alkaline nature relieves the body of excess acid, reducing pain in the joints, muscles, and fibrous tissue.
“There is often misunderstanding of lemon’s pH outside the body versus inside the body. Let’s get this straight and expound on 10 benefits of regularly taking lemon juice with warm water (note: NOT equal to lemonade!)
Outside the body, lemon juice is acidic (pH is below 7). This is a non-issue. Everyone knows this. It’s a citrus fruit.
Inside the body however, when lemon juice has been fully metabolized and its minerals are dissociated in the bloodstream, its effect is alkalizing and therefore raises the pH of body tissue (pH above 7 is alkaline). Please notice the difference.” (http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-holistic-health-2055-lemon-juice-acidic-alkaline-body-water)
And one last interesting fact. We all know that staying hydrated when you’re sick is essential (especially when you’re loosing bodily fluids literally in all directions!). Interestingly enough, “a small amount of lemon juice will quench thirst more effectively than many times the amount of water. Experienced travelers declare that when they add lemon juice to ordinary drinking water, in various localities, it acts as an antiseptic and prevents illness due to allergy to different water supplies.” (http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/physical-health/hidden-health-secrets-of-lemons.aspx?p=9)
for more info, go here:
or here: http://www.beliefnet.com/wellness/health/physical-health/hidden-health-secrets-of-lemons.aspx
or here: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/lemon.html
or here: http://www.vitalitylink.com/article-holistic-health-2055-lemon-juice-acidic-alkaline-body-water
Apple Cider Vinegar:
“Research worldwide supports and commends what Hippocrates (the father of medicine) found and treated his patients with in 400 B.C. He discovered that natural, undistilled Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV)* is a powerful cleansing and healing elixir, “a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic that fights germs and bacteria” for a healthier, stronger, longer life!
The versatility of ACV as a powerful body cleansing agent is legendary. It’s been traced to Egyptian urns as far back as 3000 B.C. The Babylonians used it as a condiment and preservative, while Julius Caesar’s army used ACV tonic to stay healthy and fight off disease. The Greeks and Romans kept vinegar vessels for healing and flavoring. It was used in Biblical times as an antiseptic and a healing agent and is mentioned in the Bible. In Paris during the Middle Ages, it was sold from barrels by street vendors as a body deodorant, healing tonic and a health vinegar drink.
Even Christopher Columbus and his crew on his voyage to discover America in 1492 had their vinegar barrels for prevention of scurvy as did the soldiers in the American Civil War. For centuries in Japan, the feared Samurai warriors drank it for strength and power. ACV has been used for thousands of years not only for health reasons, but also as a cleansing agent to remove bacteria, germs, odors, and even stains and spots.”
purchase the book here: http://bragg.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=22
But really, ACV is redonk good for you.
Starting with its Antimicrobial properties…yes! it is good for CLEANING. Your house, your hair, your face, but more importantly, your CELLS. The organic acid (primarily acetic acid, passes into your cell membranes to kill bacteria lurking there. And um…Buh Bye bacterial infection! Naturally, foods that have been fermented with ACV have a powerhouse of antimicrobial organic acids (amino acids) including not only acetic but also lactic, ascorbic, citric (no not from citrus), malic, propionic, succinct, and tartaric (not found in steak tartar, snigger). “One study found acetic acid to be lethal to even E. coli O157:H7, while other research has shown substances such as acetic acid, lemon juice, or a combination of lemon juice and vinegar to be effective against salmonella.”
You might have guessed that like many of the “Master Tonic” ingredients, ACV has its own load of antioxidants, some of which include catechin, epicatechin, and gallic, caffein, and chlorogenic acids.
And it helps with heartburn and acid reflux (both common with the flu right?) Did you know that acid reflux ironically is a result of TOO LITTLE acid in your stomach? Adding all the above to your belly will relieve all that.
Be sure to get an ACV that is organic and be CERTAIN that is has the “Mother” in it. yes. that gooey globular slimy thingy in the bottom. That is SOOOPER good for you. it is an amino-acid based substance made from acetic acid bacteria. That stuff helps reduce muscle damage caused by inflammation. Weird huh?
for more information go here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/14/vinegar-health-properties.aspx
Maple syrup is DELICIOUS! But, believe it or not, is also incredibly nutritious! Of course, we are not talking about Mrs. Butterworths, okay? I mean 100% pure maple syrup…you know, like from a Maple tree? (Didn’t ya’ll read the “Little House on the Prairie” books? remember Pa gets it from the ACTUAL trees in the forest in Vermont?) As for nutrients, it contains water, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sugars. Wait, protein? yes, protein. And the minerals, tho! Full of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus sodium, potassium, and zinc. As well as vitamins! thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and B6.
You guys know about antioxidants obvs, so I won’t get into it AGAIN, but suffice to say that maple syrup, surprisingly, has antioxidant properties that are highly important for the body. Primarily it is the Manganese present in the maple syrup that supplies superoxide dismutase (an oxidative enzyme) to help rid the mitochondria of free radicals that occur during normal metabolic function.
Again I must insist on 100% pure organic. And preferably Grade B if possible, as it is less filtered/refined and will contain many more of its natural goodness (As a rule, it is always best to go for the less processed of anything really). A couple of easy to find brands that I trust are Spring Tree (which can be found at most organic grocers or coops), Simple truth (if you shop at Ralph’s – although your money does go the Koch Bros when you shop there so there’s that), or Trader Joe’s has a great one or two and maybe sometimes even the Grade B!
for more info, go here:
The ancient liquid gold! No, really!
“Health benefits of consuming honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and the healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC).”(http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php)
In fact, bee barf packs an arsenal of antioxidants including disease-fighting antioxidant flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin and chrysin, all polyphenols that significantly boost one’s immune system. “Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin. In addition, the nutraceuticals contained in honey help neutralize damaging free radical activity.” (https://draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/)
It is exceptionally good for sleep (god knows we all need SLEEP when we have the horrid flu!) and if you don’t get worn down in the first place, then you won’t get sick. To quote Dr. Axe…
“Raw honey promotes restorative sleep in two ways. By consuming honey before bedtime, it restocks the liver’s glycogen supply and prevents the brain from triggering a crisis search for fuel, which can wake you up. Secondly, eating raw honey fosters the release of melatonin in the brain by creating a small spike in insulin levels, which stimulates the release of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan converts to serotonin, which is then converted to melatonin.
Melatonin also boosts immunity and helps rebuild tissue during periods of rest.”
Did you know that honey actually helps with seasonal allergies? Yes! Because the raw honey is made from the very blossoms that cause you to sneeze and have itchy watery eyes. The delicious delivery system provides your body with a sort of inoculation against your local seasonal pollen. Of course, it’s gotta be from a local hive or the pollen won’t have it’s effect, and also of course, the honey must be raw in order to retain traces of the offending flora and fauna.
And finally, honey is a miraculous cough suppressant. “Raw honey has been shown to be as effective in treating coughs as over-the-counter commercial cough syrups. Increasing scientific evidence shows that a single dose of honey can reduce mucus secretion and coughs. In one study, honey was just as effective as diphenhydramine and dextromethorphan, common ingredients found in over-the counter cough medicines.”
In fact, “The World Health Organization (WHO) and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend honey as a natural cough remedy.
A 2007 study by Penn State College of Medicine suggested that honey reduced nighttime coughing and improved sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan or no treatment
for more info, go here: https://draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/
or here: http://therawnakedtruth.me/raw-local-honey-natures-cure-for-seasonal-allergies/
or here: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/264667.php
OK, so cinnamon is another one that is super good for you in so many ways! To start, it can lower bad cholesterol, help treat type 2 diabetes, is used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, can help manage Polycystic ovarian syndrome, and has anti-carcinogenic properties (prevents cancer). Traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have depended on cinnamon for thousands of years to treat colds, indigestion, and to promote higher brain function, lessen cramps, and for it’s anti-clotting properties. Cinnamon is believed to improve energy, vitality and circulation.
You see cinnamon is made of what is called cinnamaldehyde, which is why it has antifungal and antibacterial properties. As well, it has a very high concentration of antioxidants (there’s that word again!), which reduct inflammation and protect the body from free radical damage.
It is important to note that there are several kinds of cinnamon; Know that *Ceylon cinnamon* is the one to look for. Don’t fall for Cassia or Chinese cinnamon (ironic, I know, considering the recommendation from Chinese Medicine right? be wary…). Also, know that too much cinnamon may cause digestive issues as the spice apparently cannot tell the difference, once in your gut, between good and bad bacteria. It is advised that if you are using copious amounts of cinnamon (please no more than 6 grams daily!), you should add probiotics to your diet to encourage the good gut flora (but you know you should be doing this anyway, right?).
summarized from the following: http://www.organicauthority.com/health/11-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html#
for more info, go here: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-proven-benefits-of-cinnamon/
Where to start? These epic orbs are like little bombs of health! Along with all of the items on this Master Tonic list, onions have been used for thousands of years by almost all cultures and societies. They are indomitable!
Ok, why? well, onions have significant amounts of Vitamin C and B6, iron, folate, potassium, and Manganese, as well as the phytochemicals known as allium and allyl disulphide (which become allicin) that are the powerhouse of the bulb. Onions are anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting, diabetes-preventing, blood pressure lowering, and coronary artery disease preventing.
Significant amounts of polyphenols (another phytochemical in onions) and an antioxidant flavonoid called quercetin account for the reputation onions have for disease prevention. Quercitin has proven anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-diabetic functions, helps prevent histamine release, and prevents the inflammatory processes associated with asthma. Polyphenols also play an important role as a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention. Prebiotics are indigestible to you, but they help nourish beneficial bacteria in your body. These beneficial bacteria in turn assist with digestion and absorption of your food, and play a significant role in your immune function.
Luckily, cooking onions in soup doesn’t diminish their quercetin value – it simply transfers to the broth. The flavonoids in onions are more concentrated in the outer layers, so discard as little as possible. (As you can imagine, French onion soup is shock full of the good stuff!)
the above is summarized from: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2016/01/04/health-benefits-onions.aspx
Blah Blah Blah Blah….Wait, did you finish? You read it all? Really? No skimming? Golly, that was quick. I mean, it took me, like, two months to write it! All those summaries of each ingredient, jeez! tedious! But super important. for reals.
So now do you see why Master Tonic is the real deal? Why it is so EPIC for you? Did you notice a recurring theme? (*hint: antioxidants! anti-inflammatory! immune-support!*) I sure hope I have been convincing. Because we’ve got to give our immune system a good, running start! We are now in the thick of flu season and no one wants to be under the weather for the holidays. At the very least, I know my rantings have influenced the habits of a few of my neighbors, lol. In fact, Dr. Eric was home with the flu just this weekend (you bet I was feeding him shots of this stuff)! And right on cue, our neighbors Tim & Vicki say, “Master Tonic!” I LOVE that. It makes me so happy. Because really, food IS MEDICINE. And sickness can be prevented if we are knowledgable and careful in our food choices. As you can see from some of the photos here, use it in your cooking too! An easy way to make your food deliciously seasoned, AND super healthy. Combined with your homemade bone broth/chicken stock, you are good to go!
Hey, I sure hope you guys don’t get sick. And if you do, hope this helps!
Coby Dahlstrom (aka #mrsdrdahl)
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 (http://santamonicahealingarts.com). Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp (http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-monica-healing-arts-santa-monica) or find us on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Santa-Monica-Healing-Arts)
*for more info re Dr. Price go here: (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weston_Price)