Well, here we’re on the downhill slide to September. I know we have about 5 more weeks until the official start of fall but things are surely shifting. I’ve noticed a few Aspen leaves already starting to turn yellow. 

Even though it seems early, now is the time to start thinking about what you need to have on hand for cold and flu season. Yep, it’s just around the corner and there’s nothing worse than getting caught with your pants down, besides having a cold butt. 

I suggest you make yourself a Winter Apothecary.  


Everyone’s body is different and you know how your body tends to get sick. And, even if you don’t get sick yourself (fingers crossed) your apothecary might come in super handy for someone else you love.


Herbs you might put in your fall and winter herbal apothecary kit.



Elderberry for sure, in whatever form works best for you.

Elderberry is a mainstay in any herbal apothecary as the go-to herb for colds or flu. (I always have Elderberry on hand.)

Taken at the first signs, elderberry can reduce the duration of cold and flu because it helps stimulate the immune system and help you better resist infection.

Use it preventatively to boost your immune system. 




Mullein for any potential respiratory stuff.

It is soothing to the lungs and calming for coughs.

Mullein is wonderful for all kinds of irritants in the lungs like particulate matter in the air (wildfire smoke) or symptoms from asthma or an upper respiratory infection.

Mullein Flower Oil for ear infections



Pine Needles for mucus, coughs, respiratory infection, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, you know all the junk that can happen in the cold and flu season.

It’s great for thinning congested mucus in the lungs and sinuses.

Use it as a tea, tincture, honey, or steam for congestion.  

Pine needles are also soothing to a sore throat, either as a hot beverage or infused into honey.



Arrowleaf Balsam Root strengthens the immune system and can be used like you would use Echinacea.

It might not be available where you live, in which case, have some Echinacea on hand instead.

It’s a stimulating expectorant, diaphoretic, and antimicrobial.

Arrowleaf relieves the misery of sinus or lung congestion from a cold or flu.



Yarrow for colds and flu and fevers.

Yarrow will help you to get rid of a dry fever when you make a hot infusion. As a diaphoretic, it opens your pores and makes you sweat, which cools you down. The tea is really bitter but if you can choke it down it’s helpful.

It helps to dry up and move excess mucous out of the respiratory system and reduce swelling in the tender areas of the nose and throat.

The tincture is also bitter but easier to swallow.  




Cleavers to help keep the lymph moving. The lymph is the body’s sewage system and clean lymph is a big key to staying healthy. 

It opens the body’s natural detoxification pathways and promotes the elimination of metabolic waste.

Cleavers aren’t necessarily antimicrobial, but they support your immune system by cleaning the lymphatic system.



Astragalus It’s an immunostimulating, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, stamina-improving, liver-protecting badass. And, it boosts the immune system in general.

It’s really helpful if you seem like you are always coming down with colds and flu. 

By strengthening your immune system over time, astragalus can help your immune system better defend against pathogens.


Make yourself a couple of different herbal Oxymels to have on hand.


Sage and Ginger would be great together. Read about how to make Oxymels here.

I’m not a big fan of vinegar but I do like honey so I make Herbal-Infused Honey to have on hand. My favorites are Elderberry, Sage, and Cinnamon/Ginger. The sky is the limit when creating your honey. If you want a honey to help the respiratory system try Licorice, Elecampane, Bee Balm, or Thyme. Rose petals also make a divine honey.

Read about making herbal honey here


I like to make sure I have the ingredients for Herbal Chai Tea (or make chai honey) to build my immune system. I like to mix all the herbs together and put them in a jar so all I have to do is scoop out a tablespoon or so and simmer. My Herbal Chai has things like Burdock, Cinnamon, Peppercorns, Astragalus, Fennel, Clove, Ginger, and Orange Peel. Again, there is no right or wrong way to make your own, just use herbs you like. 

You can also buy already packaged tea for Colds and Flu, Sore Throats, and Immune System boosters. 


Is a sore throat your first sign that things might be headed sideways? Try Sage, Clove, Licorice, Rosemary, or GInger honey, tea, or throat spray. 

Do you always get a cough? Marshmallow, Licorice, Kava. I’m a fan of Planetary Herbs Old Indian Cherry Bark Syrup.  

Do things seem to settle in your chest? Make or buy an herbal chest rub. 

Do you get muscle pain when you get sick? Make sure you have an herbal salve on hand to rub on or herbs for a nice hot soak in the tub.



And, you always have an arsenal of great herbs in your kitchen. 


Basil to fight off coughs and get rid of mucus.

Cinnamon for the beginning of a cold.

Cloves to open the sinuses.

Garlic as food and good medicine. 


Customize your own apothecary to fit your needs and the needs of your family.


This is the perfect time of year to be thinking ahead. There is still plenty of time to harvest. Even if you’re not harvesting your own herbs, it’s a good time to purchase herbs so you are ready IF the time comes. 

Remember to check out any potential contraindications of any herbs you use.

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