Consume bitters for an immune system boost. This healthy tonic is crafted from astragalus root, ginger, angelica root, and honey — all ingredients proven to support immune system function.

Astragalus, a prominent herb in Chinese medicine, contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Studies on astragalus suggest that the root can boost resistance to infection and regulate the body’s immune responses.

Similarly, angelica root has been shown to modulate the immune system and treat respiratory ailments and cold symptoms.

Lastly, both ginger and honey are powerful antioxidants that contain anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Honey activates the immune system’s response to infection and prevents cell proliferation. Similarly, ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects and may be able to help with muscle pain.

Recipe for immune-boosting bitters

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 oz. dried astragalus root
  • 1 oz. dried angelica root
  • 1/2 oz. dried chamomile
  • 1 tsp. dried ginger
  • 1 tsp. dried orange peel
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 10 oz. alcohol (recommended: 100 proof vodka)

Directions

  1. Dissolve the honey in 2 teaspoons of boiling water. Let cool.
  2. Combine the honey and the next 7 ingredients in a mason jar and pour alcohol on top.
  3. Seal tightly and store the bitters in a cool, dark place.
  4. Let the bitters infuse until the desired strength is reached, about 2-4 weeks. Shake the jars regularly (about once per day).
  5. When ready, strain the bitters through a muslin cheesecloth or coffee filter. Store the strained bitters in an airtight container at room temperature.

To use: Mix this tonic into hot tea or take a few drops as is first thing when you wake up for protection during cold and flu season.

Q:

Are there any concerns or health reasons someone shouldn’t be taking these bitters?

A:

Bitters should generally be avoided by those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. This recipe in particular contains dried angelica root which may stimulate uterine contractions and increase risk of miscarriage. When angelic root is consumed, the skin may become more sensitive to sunlight therefore daily sunscreen is recommended.

Natalie Butler, RD, LDAnswers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she’s not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.