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NEW YORK — Having a strong immune system is a key component to battling viral infections or treating possible side effects of a sickness.

Master herbalist and author Sara-Chana Silverstein shares some recipes and elixirs you can make at home to try to stay healthy.

If you can get things at a health food store that is great, but many shelves are bare. Thankfully, you can use things you likely already have.

1. Medicinal vinegar

  • Apply cider vinegar to any vinegar you have.
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Peppers
  • Peppercorn
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ginger

Put all the ingredients in a glass jar and leave on the counter. You can begin using this right away. It builds the immune system and also is anti-microbial and tastes delicious.

2. Medicinal honey

  • Cut up onions
  • Cut garlic
  • Add some Cinnamon
  • Pour honey over it
  • Cover and let it sit over-night.

This honey can help with a cough and phlegm.

3. Nutmeg to help you sleep.

  • Caution too much can be toxic
  • 1/4 teaspoon added to some heated almond or rice milk
  • Can also add Turmeric. In India this would be called “Golden Milk”
  • This can help you have a deeper, more-restful sleep

4. Clean the air around you

  • Bring plants indoors. When you go shopping buy a plant or two if you see them in the store.
  • “Smudge” the air with something like sage.
  • Burn essential oils: Use whatever do you have in the house. Silverstein’s favorites: Sage, red thyme, tea tree, eucalyptus, cinnamon

5. Silverstein’s favorite anti-viral herb:

  • St. John’s wort – It’s not just for moods, but helps with viral infections!
  • It is a gem of a plant with many uses