Foods and herbs for a healthy winter diet

Essential oils

DENMARK - With flu season in full swing, there are certain herbs and foods you'll want to incorporate into your diet to stay healthy this winter.

The Bridge Between Retreat Center is hosting a program that will feature different ways to incorporate herbs in a diet without supplements. It will also include information on immune boosting foods that would be ideal to include in a diet, especially for winter.

The event takes place on Feb. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pre-registration is required. The suggested donation is $40, which includes the lunch provided.

FOX 11's Pauleen Le spent the morning checking out the event.

For more information on the event and how to register, click here.


Basic Steam Inhalation


4 cups of water Herbs of choice: thyme, rosemary, sage, etc. Large towel


  • In a large heat proof glass or ceramic bowl, add a generous handful of your herb/s of choice.

  • Pour the boiling water over the herbs, place face above bowl, and quickly throw towel over head. Use caution: start high above bowl to avoid burning face. 

  • Inhale the steam for approximately 10 minutes or more.

Immune Boosting Herbal Pumpkin Pie Smoothie


4 frozen bananas 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree 2-4 Tbsp. maple syrup (For extra immune boosting properties you can substitute raw unfiltered honey, though I truly prefer the maple syrup flavor to complement pumpkin pie) 1-2 cups of coconut milk, to reach your desired consistency 1 Tbsp. coconut oil (increases omega 3?s and fatty acids in your diet) 1 tsp. fresh ginger root (or ½ tsp. dried powdered) 1 tsp. fresh turmeric root (or ½ tsp. dried powdered) 1 tsp. cinnamon powder 1/2 tsp. cloves powder 1/2 tsp. nutmeg powder 1 tsp. echinacea powder (you can substitute astragalus root powder here too) 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


  • In a blender, combine 1 cup coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk) and all of the other ingredients.

  • Blend until smooth, adding more coconut milk as needed, to reach your desired consistency.

  • Drink up and enjoy!

This smoothie is full of immune boosting properties! The requisite pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves) all have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making them perfect for this smoothie. Turmeric  is well a known spicy herb used to help with digestion and immune support.

FROM: The Herbal Academy of New England,

Medicinal Curry Blend


1 ounce coriander seed

1 ounce cumin seed

1 ounce turmeric root

½ ounce black mustard seed

½ ounce chile pepper

½ ounce fennel seed

½ ounce ginger root

Grind herbs into a powder. Combine with a small amount of oil (1/4 cup for every 2-3tsp of herbs) in a saucepan and warm over low heat for a few minutes, until the herbs are fragrant. Use as is, or add coconut milk to make a paste. Store refrigerated for several weeks.

To treat a cold or respiratory problem, and 1 tsp to cup of miso soup or chicken broth. You can also put on vegetables or mix with oil and vinegar as a salad dressing – or use in any traditional curry dish!

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs

Sage Tea

Well known cold and flu fighter with astringent, antiseptic and relaxing action on mucous membranes, it’s great for inflammation of the mouth, throat and tonsils.

15grams of sage leaf per cup of hot water

NOTE: Should not be used by nursing mothers, as sage can decrease the flow of breastmilk.

Sage Mouth and Throat Spray

2-3 TBS dried or fresh sage leaves

¼ cup brandy or vodka

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil

1 TBS honey (optional)

Pour 1cup boiling water over the sage, cover and steep for 30 minutes, strain. Drink ¼ cup. Combine the remaining ¾ cup with the alcohol, essential oil and honey, if desired. Store in bottle with a spray top. Spray directly in your mouth as needed.

Master Tonic


  • ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced ginger root

  • ½ cup peeled and shredded/diced horseradish root

  • ½ cup peeled and diced turmeric OR 1/4 cup additional ginger and 1/4 cup additional horseradish

  • ½ cup white onion, chopped

  • ¼ cup minced or crushed garlic cloves

  • 2 TBS powdered tumeric

  • 2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped

  • Zest and juice from 2 organic lemons

  • Raw apple cider vinegar

  • Raw, organic honey to taste

  • Several sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)


  • Add the ginger, horseradish, onion, garlic, jalapeno and lemon juice/zest to a quart-sized jar. Pack them down lightly so that the jar is about 3/4 full. Use a fermenting weight to hold down the veggies/roots, or place heavy roots at the top so that they will weigh down the herbs and jalapenos (which float). Pour a generous amount apple cider vinegar over the roots/vegetables. You want everything to stay under the liquid to prevent spoilage. Keep in mind that some of the roots will expand a little so top it off well.

  • If you’re using a metal lid, line it with wax paper so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode it, then put the lid on. Place in a dark, room temperature cabinet for 2-4 weeks. (A month is best)

  • When the cider is ready, shake well and then strain the roots/veggies using a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. Add honey to taste and store in the fridge.

Take 1-2TBS at first sign of cold or flu, and continue every 2-3 hours until symptoms subside.

Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

Pickled Garlic

Fill a jar with whole, peeled garlic cloves. Add enough tamari or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar to cover the garlic. Place in a warm spot and let sit for one month.

Strain off liquid. Place half in a pan and add an equal amount of honey. Warm over very low heat, stirring, until honey is completely mixed into the tamari or vinegar. Pour this back over the garlic, recap and let sit another month. Store in a cool, dark location.

Eat any way you like – on salads, with cheeses, meats – without the fear of stomach distress some people associate with garlic.

Healthy Chicken Soup


  • One white onion, chopped

  • 1 cup celery, chopped

  • Coconut oil

  • Homemade chicken stock, from an organic free-range chicken

  • 1 piece of Astralagus root

  • 1-2 minced or crushed garlic cloves

  • 1 inch piece, peeled and shredded/diced ginger root

  • Mushrooms

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

Cook onion and celery with ginger and garlic in enough coconut oil to keep vegetables from sticking to pot, simmer for 1-2 minutes until onion is translucent. Add chicken stock, astralagus root, mushrooms and broccoli. Simmer 5-6 minutes, then add spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes. Do not eat the Astralagus root – leave in pot, and then toss when soup is all gone!