I need a natural remedy
Confession: I really don’t like cold and flu season. It makes me cranky. Just knowing we’re surrounded by creeping pestilence and airborne viruses makes me want to hibernate in a Lysol wipe.
When our family was smaller, it wasn’t so bad. I’d get some kind of crud and be down for a week, max. But now, with seven host bodies for the Winter Germ Convention, it can feel like we spend all winter with the plague. By March, I’m ready to throw out my dead and move on.
Fortunately, as our family has grown, so has my knowledge of homeopathic remedies because as much as I hate the flu, I hate antibiotics much, much more. I’m oily, crunchy, and a little bit sadistic, and I don’t like giving my family drugs unless it’s absolutely necessary. Case in point: recently, Jonathan (age 11) came down with strep. He woke up one morning with a 102-degree fever and an angry sore throat. Immediately, I got out my secret weapon, my most effective natural cold remedy: Dragon Juice.
The very name strikes fear in the hearts of my children. The stuff is wicked good. It burns going down and it burns when you burp and it pretty much burns just thinking about it. But it works better than any other remedy I’ve tried for preventing, treating, and otherwise scaring the life out of any germ that comes our way. It works so well that after using it, people beg me for the recipe. Beg. One friend even suggested I bottle it and sell it.
Because. It. Works. Like. A. Boss.
Even the strep bug was no match for this stuff. It’s that good.
The idea of Dragon Juice, or something like it, has been around for ages. It is sometimes called Fire Tonic or Fire Cider. As is the case with most well-loved and effective natural remedies, everyone’s recipe is a little different, but the basics are always the same. You start with tangy apple cider vinegar, then throw in all sorts of goodness like garlic and cayenne. Yes, I said cayenne. Short-term pain for long-term gain, people. Stay with me.
After playing around with ratios and ingredients for a few years, this is my version.
Dragon Juice: The Recipe
1 quart raw, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, such as Bragg’s
1 whole onion
Juice of 1-2 lemons (you can substitute other citrus but lemon is best)
20 fresh garlic cloves, peeled
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh horseradish
1 generous sprig of fresh rosemary
½ c. of honey, or more to taste
1-2T. whole black peppercorns
1-2 T. cinnamon, or a generous stick of whole cinnamon
1-2 T. cayenne
1-2 T. turmeric
1 T. dried burdock root (optional but awesome)
Blend the ingredients together in a heavy-duty blender until completely liquefied. I love my Vitamix for this. It pulverizes everything, even the ginger and horseradish, so I do not have to peel them before tossing them in the carafe.
Bottle the juice in a glass jar. If the jar has a metal lid, use a coffee filter or cheesecloth to keep the vinegar from coming in contact with the metal, or it will corrode. Allow everything to steep for at least a month. You can take the remedy right away (I have) but it will not be as effective until all the ingredients have had a chance to meet and mingle.
So. Make it today. You do not want to meet a cold without this remedy in your back pocket.
Dragon Juice does not need to be refrigerated. Just let it sit in your cupboard happy. After a month, you can strain the juice if you like. I do not. The Vitamix works so well, there is no need, and I like to keep all the good stuff in. It will settle some; simply shake before using.
If you do not have a blender, chop the onions, garlic, horseradish, etc. coarsely, and mix all the ingredients in a jar with the vinegar. Allow to steep for at least a month, then strain. Reserve the infused vinegar and toss the rest. Viola! Dragon Juice.
At the first sign of illness, or before and after any event that stresses the immune system (such as flying), I take (or dispense) this stuff a tablespoon at a time, 3xs a day, or more often if we’re battling a full-blown illness such as strep.
For my younger children, I cut the dosage down to a teaspoon—just small enough that they can gulp it down in one swig and then rush for a drink of water. Ha.
Please be aware, I am not a doctor and cannot make recommendations on how to treat your illnesses, so be wise and seek medical care when necessary. Dragon Juice can do lots of things, but it cannot raise the dead.
Natural Remedy Notes
*As I have worked on this recipe, I found I could increase the amount of dried herbs by double without noticeably affecting the taste or heat factor. That’s why there’s some wiggle room in the amounts of some of the herbs in the recipe. I recommend that you start with the lower amounts, but feel free to increase them if you are able to tolerate more. Since my children are used to swigging this stuff, I always use the higher amount. They can hack it.
*The ingredients used have been chosen because they work synergistically. In other words, they work better together. For instance, garlic is one of the world’s best-known natural remedies. If I could bring only one thing to a deserted island, it would be garlic. But when garlic is used with cayenne, the potency increases. In fact, cayenne is considered a “catalyst herb” because of its unique ability to increase the efficacy of nearly every other herb!
But that’s not all–black pepper exponentially multiplies the bio-availability of turmeric, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. If you take turmeric as a supplement, always, always include black pepper if you can.
Apple Cider Vinegar has the ability to draw nutrients out of herbs and spices without damaging them, and can “hold” those same nutrients in a shelf-stable state for long periods of time. So, even though there is some flex in this recipe, the remedy works best when all the ingredients are included.
*Take with a meal, or at the very least, with a little bit of oil or fat. Some of the ingredients, like turmeric, are fat-soluble. I sometimes eat a handful of sprouted almonds before I take a dose. Dragon Juice also works well as the acid in a salad dressing recipe, and it tastes great stirred in to chicken soup!
*All the ingredients are safe for pregnant women. However, Dragon Juice will affect your breast milk. Babies don’t always appreciate the taste of a cayenne milkshake, so be aware that your nursing babe might not love this natural remedy as much as I do. Please be aware that because one of the ingredients is raw honey, you should not use this remedy for children under the age of two. Because it is a hot, spicy concoction, I would be careful if giving it to a child under the age of five.
*Dragon Juice will keep indefinitely in a cupboard. It’s always good to date things you stick in your cupboard. If you find it five years down the road, it might be a good idea to toss it and start with a fresh batch.
*You cannot overdose on Dragon Juice, and the more consistent you are with taking it, the better it works. Be sure to continue taking it for a few days after symptoms decrease to continue building your immunity and prevent a relapse.
*Dragon Juice makes a great gift, believe it or not. The next time you bring a meal to a sick friend, include a bottle of this natural remedy. They will thank you later.
Enjoy! Then please stop back and let me know how Dragon Juice helped your family. You will be amazed at how effective this natural remedy really is.