Winter Herbal Apothecary

By Gigi Stafne, MH, ND

Open up the door to your medicine cabinet, take a look inside.  Are you ready for this winter?  Remember last year?  How quickly you forgot about the intense earache in the middle of the night, the dreaded cold that lingered on for four weeks or the uncontrollable cough that had you barking through the most important business meeting of the year?

It seems that Murphy’s Law is true–“If anything can go wrong, it will”  and at the worst possible time in the winter–if you have not considered prevention medicine.  I have noticed that it is human nature to wait until the last minute to prepare for ‘expected emergencies’ such as common colds, ailments or other injuries.  Many situations can be avoided or better dealt with via advanced planning.  Prevention and natural medicine are perfect practices to planning ahead and being better equipped to take care of ourselves and families.

Before winter storms blow and the next virus heads your direction, consider taking some of these simple steps of adding basic natural remedies to your medicine cabinet rather than dashing out to the 24-hour drugstore in the middle of the night.  ‘Better to be prepared’ is my motto.  You and your family will feel greater physical comfort and emotional security when some of your healthcare needs are addressed in advance.

When I present natural medicine classes or workshops I am often asked what I prefer to have on hand for my family and  myself.  Here are some of my favorite common herbs and supplements.  These are the ones that I would not go without through a Wisconsin winter.  Try starting with them.  Be well this winter!

Echinacea & Astragalus

Optimal herbal combination for bacterial & viral infection plus immune system boost. Use as a tea, herbal tincture or capsules.



Strong natural anti-biotic & anti-viral (plant is at risk, so use sparingly). Available in powder, tincture or capsules.



Versatile natural anti-biotic & anti-viral among other supportive properties. Eat raw, cooked or buy in capsule form.


Elderberry Cough Syrup

Along with other throat & lung herbs this soothes better than most.  Buy over-the-counter in health food stores or make your own. Terrific for colds and flus, too!


WIld Cherry Bark or Slippery Elm Throat Lozenges

Reduces inflammation & coughing. Available in most health food stores.


Yarrow, Elderflower, Mint

Fever reducing herb tea.  Blend these herbs into a tea infusion.


Breath Easy or Lung Tea

Blend of demulcent, expectorant & anti-inflammatory herbs to support the entire respiratory system.  Purchase an

organic blend in boxed form or create your own.


Vitamin C with Roseships

Support your immunity throughout the winter with regular doses.  Available in many chewable or other forms.


Essential Oils of Tea Tree, Eucalyptus & Bergamot

Tea Tree is a strong anti-microbial, anti-viral & anti-fungal.  Combine this with these respiratory system oils to fight winter infections.

Use in an aromatic inhalation or vaporizer.

Essential oils are available in 1/3 or 1 ounce at health food shops.  Buy organic all natural oils, not synthetic.


The information in this article is educational in nature.  Remember that you may need the individualized care of your healthcare practitioner before using any natural products.

Gigi Stafne is an instructor, writer, Naturopath and Master Herbalist specializing in clinical natural medicine and cross cultural medicine.  She will be teaching a Winter Wellness Workshop: Creating your own medicine cabinet at Lost Creek this January. To inquire about her other courses, publications or eco tour business:


copyright 2005,2012

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