A few years ago, I began my "Cabinet Detox" projects after doing quite a bit of research on foods, ingredients and skin care products - and then reviewing the labels of the items in my cabinets. To my utter shock and disgust, the products I had previously believed to be "healthy" were anything but. It also began to dawn on me that just because I had been using certain products and eating certain foods for most of my life, those foods and products were not necessarily good for me or my body. They were just "familiar", and possibly even recommended by one of my doctors. So, rather than overwhelming myself with information and crazy recipes from Pinterest containing ingredients I couldn't locate, I took my husband's advice and simply took baby steps by completing one Cabinet Detox project at a time.
I found a great website containing information on herbalism, located a good herb supplier, and started making minor changes to my purchasing and eating habits (more organic and whole wheat foods, less preservatives and processed foods, simpler skin care products). It has been a long, slow process - one that is definitely still in progress - but baby steps DO make a difference, and before you know it, you are making multiple, positive changes to the products - and even the "medicines" - that you are using. Those changes, once enacted, begin to build on one another, and after a few years, you realize you have quite an arsenal of recipes, and that your cabinets don't look anything like they used to. For example, I began my Cabinet Detox Projects by replacing some of my personal care products with homemade ones, including Deodorant, moisturizing Lotion Bars and Lip Balm. I also began overhauling my medicine cabinet, and over the last few years concocted Honey Ginger Lemon Tea and Elderberry Syrup for flu prevention and basic immune system boosting during the Fall and Winter months; Homemade Vapor Rub; Honey Onion Cough Syrup; and Garlic Cayenne Oxymel. In addition, I just finished making a much stronger Elderberry Elixir (for adults) and HOT Fire Cider for the cold and flu season that I am very excited to share with you over the course of this month!
Considering both my kids are just getting over nasty sinus infections and sore throats, I have been using the Honey Ginger Lemon Tea and Elderberry Syrup quite a bit lately :). To whet your appetite, my recipe for Honey Ginger Lemon Tea is below. This tea is easy to make, tastes great, and I can attest that it greatly reduces the symptoms and duration of colds that I have had. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, ginger, in addition to helping in the treatment of the common cold and flu-like symptoms, can also be used to treat motion sickness, vomiting and painful menstrual bleeding. I keep a bag of peeled, sliced ginger in the freezer year-round, as well as a bottle of lemon concentrate in the fridge in case symptoms strike when fresh ginger and lemons are not in the house. I whip up a batch as soon as anyone in the family begins feeling sick, and then at least twice per day until the sickness is gone. I hope you give it a try! Stay tuned this month for more great Medicine Cabinet Detox Projects :)
Honey Ginger Lemon Tea
1/2-inch to 1-inch slice of fresh (or frozen) ginger root, peeled
4 cups water
3 squeezes fresh lemon juice (or one good squeeze of concentrate)
1 teaspoon raw honey (or more or less to taste)
In a saucepan on the stove, bring ginger root and water to a boil, then reduce to simmering for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has been reduced to half the original amount. Remove from heat, pour into a mug, add lemon juice and honey, and enjoy!
*Please note - since ginger may increase the risk of bleeding, consult a doctor regarding ginger use if you are currently taking blood-thinning medications (including aspirin), diabetes medication or high-blood pressure medication (ginger may lower blood pressure in some people).*