Last summer I was delighted to learn that the lovely purple coneflowers in my front garden also answer to echinacea purpura, a prairie wildflower long used medicinally by Native American Plains nations. And for good reason: echinacea properties seem to range from antibacterial (cold), to antiviral (flu), to anti-inflammatory (cancer...?).
So today I found my inner herb-witch and concocted a little brew. Just a few drops in a cup of chamomile tea do the trick, so they say.
1. Snip: Cut entire blossom* (not much stem, which is the least potent part).
2. Stash: Loosely fill a 32oz glass container (here, an old milk bottle) with blossoms.
3. Souse: Cover blossoms with 750 mL 80-proof vodka.
4. Store: Lid and set in a cool, dark space for two weeks. Finally, filter through a cheesecloth into dark-tinted glass containers and keep, refrigerated, up to two years.
*Herbalists suggest echinacea root for a slightly stronger brew (but one not nearly as pretty; besides, I was loath to uproot my flower garden).
What are your favorite handed-down home remedies?