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Winter health tonics

As the winter solstice has been and gone and Matariki is here it's time to think about keeping healthy with a few winter tonics and why not incorporate a little Rongoa traditional Aotearoa native medicine, as it is right at our backdoor.

The forest has always been a big part of my life, a lot of my childhood was spent exploring and playing in some of New Zealand's finest forest and shorelines, it has become a healing haven for me as i have grown older a beautiful sacred space to clear my thoughts and connect deeply with Gaia and the many sacred native trees shrubs, fungi, flowers, lichen, moss and weeds. As i immerse myself in this environment i feel a deep sacred connection with all the surroundings it feeds my very life essence and brings me back to a clear space, feeds my soul so to speak and grounds me.

When harvesting medicine I always seek prom-mission from the ancient spirits around me and seen as the site i harvest from is a historic pa site i find the energy's here very intense but accepting of my gentle ways. sustainable harvesting is a big deal to me as i never want to take more then I need and want to harvest in a way the plants can rejuvenate so it doesn't impact the ecosystem in a negative way so there is always a supply of native medicine's for all earth creatures.

I always give my thanks before and after harvesting and this comes from deep within my heart, to acknowledge this plants energy and give thanks for sharing.

Before i share some recipes, tonics and elixirs its important to think about your diet is it healthy and natural? Does a good 90% of it come from the earth in the form of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain, nuts, seeds, seafood and meat? Is it full of good fats? Do you eat by the season? Do you eat organic and local? Do you incorporate fermented foods in your diet?

If there are a few 'no' answers for you, this is a good place for you to start, to make a change to a diet, to a diet more from the earth, organic and local.

I like to follow a western a price diet, a diet like our ancestors

i"ll add a link at the bottom of the page for those interested in researching this more.

Also its important to make sure you are getting enough water, physical exercise and plenty of time with loved ones close friends and family as this plays a big role in you metal health, its important to have support from true friends.

  • some very simple food medicines i like to use on the onset of a cold is apple cider vinegar, it soothes a sore throat. simply gargle a mouth full as long as you can in your throat, then spit it out.

  • raw garlic one of natures natural antibiotics, i like to eat mine with a chunk of cheese as it is very hot.

  • of course lemon and honey hot drink, simply squeeze and lemon into a cup add 1 tsp of local honey, add hot water, sip and enjoy.

propolis sore throat spray

  • 1 part propolis tincture

  • 1/2 sage tincture

  • 1/2 thyme tincture

get your self a small spray bottle and fill with the ingredients above. shake. this works so well its a staple in our house upon the arrival of a sore throat.

herbal tea

1 part calendula

1 part lemon balm

1 part mullein

pop in a pot, pour boiling hot water, let it steep for 10 mins pour into a cup through a sieve. sip and enjoy.

this works very gentle on a congested chest

essential oils and hydrosols

aromatherapy can be a great way to keep the air in your house clear of bugs, smelling nice, and nasal cavities clear.

i like to burn esstentail oils at night in the bedrooms to help with breathing when noses are blocked with mucus, i use:

  • menthol

  • eucalyptus

  • rosemary

  • sage

  • manuka hydrosol

native fire cider

1/2 cup kawakawa chopped leaves

1/2 cup mingimingi chopped leaves

1/2 cup manuka bruised leaves 1/2 cup peeled and diced garlic 1/2 cup peeled and diced onion 1/4 cup peeled and diced ginger 1/4 cup peeled and diced turmeric 4 jalapeno chille, chopped into chunks 1/2 lemon, quartered and thinly sliced crosswise 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary 2 tablespoons chopped thyme 1 teaspoon black peppercorns 2 to 3 cups raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (at least 5% acidity)

Place all of the natives, vegetables, herbs, and spices in a clean 1-quart jar. Fill the jar with vinegar, covering all the ingredients and making sure there are no air bubbles. Cap the jar. If using a metal lid, place a piece of parchment or wax paper between the jar and the lid to prevent corrosion from the vinegar. Shake well.

Let the jar sit for 3 to 6 weeks, shaking daily (or as often as you remember).

Strain the vinegar into a clean jar. Add honey to taste. Refrigerate and use within a year.

take 1 tbsp a day, or a the first sign of a sore throat

this is amazing at the first signs of cold and flu, or a daily health tonic, i would not recommend this for or with fever.


saying a prayer as i harvest kawakawa

straining some fire cider.

next is my lung elixir deep lung support is designed to aid removal of mucus build up in the lungs and support healthy breathing. This elixir recommended for:

  • Clogged or ‘heavy’ lungs and airways

  • Support for healthy breathing

  • Supported lung health

  • Smoker's congestion

  • Those living in areas of high air pollution

  • Recovery from ills and chills

  • Boosting the immune system

  • Helping those with asthma

  • chesty cough

lung elixir

3 large fresh mullein leaves

handful of fresh lemon balm

1/2 cup of ground dried marshmallow

1 tbsp raw local honey

1/4 cup kawakawa hydrosol

1/4 cup kumarahou hydrosol

3 tbsp sage tincture

3 tbsp thyme tincture

6 tbsp propolis tincture

3 drops menthol essential oil

3 drops pine essential oil

3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

4 drops of peppermint essential oil

3 drops of rosemary essential oil

pinch of citric acid and salt

chop mullein and lemon balm and put in a pot, add dried marshmallow, cover with water and simmer for 3 hours, topping with water as needed.

strain through muslin cloth. add local raw honey whilst warm stir until dissolved. let it cool

once at room temperature add hydrosols, tinctures, essential oils, salt and citric acid

shake vigorously, remember to shake vigorously before each use.

adults 20ml up to 4 x daily

childern 5ml up to 4x daily

infants 2.5 ml up to 4 x daily

If symptoms persist, see your healthcare professional.

well i hope this has been insightful for you and you are keen to give making some of these health tonics a go.

a lot of our natives have amazing antiviral and anti bacterial properties, so why no use them in a healthy holistic way.

find a good field guide if you are not sure about foraging and identifying some of the natives, otherwise i will run a workshop in the spring if there is enough interest, flick me a message.

remember you can book in for a personal health consult through my bookings link

and if you are interested in buying some tonics, or herbal ingredients that i forage sustainably or grow holistically in my organic garden ( i also maintain my own beehives as naturally as possible) i have propolis available you can direct message me for any of these, i'm happy to help.

if this has been useful to you or is useful for someone you know, please share the love so others can too, benefit from the hard work we do up here on the farm. All the recipes are my own personal creations, pure kiwiana.

Haere rā for now