Category Archives: Apprenticeship

Making a tonic wine

January 11th – the first Springfield Sanctuary workshop of the year on Tonics for winter (held in Solihull).

On the day of the workshop I’d had a typical winter cold for a couple of weeks, plus I am asthmatic and  suffer allergies so my breathing had been quite strained and there was a lot of nasal congestion going back to December.  Therefore I decided I would like to make a lung tonic.  I had researched some lung herbs and following discussion with Sarah I decided on the following concoction.

  • Wine – supposed to be good quality, but I used my homemade crab apple and blackberry wine.
  • dried fruit – Sarah had provided a selection and I chose a  mixture (less than a small handful) of apricots, candied peel, cherry, dates and sultanas
  • Nettles (as a general tonic)
  • Hyssop (expectorant and cough suppressant)
  • Angelica Root (good for respiratory complaints)
  • Thyme (coughs and bronchial complaints)
  • Fennel seed (chronic cough)
  • Elecampane Root (for shortness of breath and expectorant)
  • Elderflower (for alleviating allergies and boosting respiratory health)


This was quite simple, pound the herbs a bit and add to jar along with the chopped up fruit.  Pour over the wine and shake well.

Leave for 2 weeks, shaking periodically, then strain and use within 3 weeks.

The verdict:  It won’t win any prizes for flavour that is for certain, but I won’t be sipping it slowly.

During the two weeks it was steeping, I have improved greatly but my fitness is down and I get short of breath quickly so I think a good tonic is still needed so now it is strained I shall be taking a small amount each night before bed and see how it goes.

It is also interesting for me that 5 out of the 7 herbs used in this are on my list of herbs for this year and hyssop almost made the list, but I didn’t have enough room.  Maybe I have already been growing the herbs I really need and not taking them as often as I should and maybe that is part of the reason why I was drawn to select them to study this year.