10 Must-Have Herbal Preparations for the Fall Apothecary

Goldenrod fills the waysides with its color. The green leaves are beginning to fade to reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. The mornings and evenings have a chill to them. Cold weather crops are beginning to make their way to meal plans again. Football season is back, and every store you go in is filled with the seasonal decor of autumn.

The fall season officially arrives this Tuesday, even though, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve been feeling the autumn vibes for a couple of weeks now.

If you’re anything like me, then I’d imagine your fall to-do list is beginning to be filled with things like:

  • bake a treat
  • go for a nature walk
  • buy houseplants
  • carve a pumpkin
  • take more baths
  • declutter
  • learn a new craft or skill
  • read a book
  • sip hot drinks
  • make a gratitude list
  • do something kind for someone
  • pull out cozy clothes
  • light some candles

I know mine sure is!

Now, I’m not sure what it is about the transition from one season to another, but it does a few things to me.

One, it makes me want to purge things in my home and life that either no longer serves me or I no longer serve. Two, it makes me want to start new things ― like hobbies or commitments ― that are interesting to me at the moment. And three, it makes me want to start new herbal preparations in an effort to stock my apothecary for the coming season.

For the first two things, I head to my journal to work out what will stay, what will go, and what will begin, but when it comes to stocking my apothecary, I tend to open up my ebooks (and my blog) and skim through my recipes, looking for those that are fitting for the coming season. I also try to look around me to see what herbs are growing and available for use during the fall months as well!

Today, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into this topic and share the exact herbal preparations I like to have on hand for the fall months.

That’s right! I’m going to share 10 of my must-have herbal preparations for the home apothecary with you today, but before I do, I want to quickly let you know that many of the recipes I’ll be sharing with you below come directly from my Ultimate Guide ebooks, but several can also be found on my blog.

10 Must-Haves for the Fall Home Apothecary

herbal tinctures on shelf

Cold and flu season will be here before you know it, and it’s definitely a good idea to be ready with herbal preparations to help support us through the season.

I’d like to take some time to share 10 must-haves for my own fall home apothecary. As I said, this list is fitting for me and my family, but maybe they’ll be a fit for you and your family as well. If not, hopefully, it will trigger you to brainstorm some herbal preparations you’ll want to stock up on for the season ahead.

If this sort of thing feels overwhelming to you (must-haves and lists, that is), then scan through this section and read the, hopefully, encouraging message from me towards the end.

A Quick Word About Diet

I cannot, in good conscience, go without mentioning the foundation of good health ― one’s diet.

I know we have a tendency to overdo treats during the cold seasons of the year (at least I do), but if you can swap some of the sugar in your recipes to a blood sugar-friendly sweetener, such as Pyure, it will be much better for your immune health.

While I always tend to have this sweetener on hand all throughout the year, it seems like I use it more during the colder months than I do during the warmer months. I guess the fall and winter seasons just make me feel like baking more than I do in the summer. No matter, swapping sugar in a recipe for Pyure sweetener will allow you to continue to enjoy treats from time to time without the negative effect on your blood sugar and immune system.

Okay, so now that I’ve mentioned that, let’s go on to my 10 must-have herbal preparations for the fall home apothecary.

10 Must-Have Herbal Preparations for the Fall Home Apothecary

Feel free to watch me share my fall must-haves with you in the following YouTube video, or you can keep scrolling to read all about them (and get links) if you’d prefer that!

Fire Cider + Elderberry Syrup

The first thing on my list of fall herbal to-dos is to make a batch of fire cider for the season as well as a batch of elderberry syrup.

Fire cider can be used daily as an immune-stimulant which will help give your immune system a little boost when it comes to making more immune cells that will help you stay (or get) well during the colder months.

Elderberry syrup is a great anti-viral preparation to have on hand and should really only be used when viral ailments have been reported in your local area. Elderberry can help minimize the extent and duration of a viral illness, thus, helping you feel better faster.

You can learn how to make fire cider on the Herbal Academy blog here, and you can get my favorite recipe for my Ultimate Immune-Boosting Elderberry Syrup here.

Cough Syrups

Cough syrups are a given when it comes to stocking the fall home apothecary. It seems like you can’t go through the season without experiencing a cough of some sort, especially with kids in the house!

I like to keep cough syrups for both productive (wet, mucousy) and non-productive (dry, spasmodic) coughs available during the colder months. It never fails that we use both of these, and I need to make a new batch each year. I dose these up in small frequent doses, and they are very effective at thinning mucous in the chest so it can be coughed up or at calming those irritating coughs down so you can sleep!

The two recipes I use, I got from herbalist Juliette Blankenspore of Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine over in Asheville, NC. She has a free lesson on making herbal syrups which is part of her online Herbal Medicine Making course, and these two formulas can be found there.

GOOT + Garlic Honey

Speaking of coughs, I also keep two garlic preparations on hand for those mucousy coughs that have a tendency to want to stick around, staying stuck deep in the chest. You know the kind. They’re the ones that often turn into more serious respiratory infections.

Thankfully, garlic has always served me and my family well for these types of coughs. If the above cough syrup for productive coughs isn’t enough to loosen the mucous in the chest and help it to be coughed up, I will add in frequent doses of garlic syrup as well as frequent applications of GOOT (garlic olive oil treatment).

Garlic is a well-known and highly effective antimicrobial herb, and because of its volatile oil content and other constituents, it is very effective when it comes to infections, particularly those in the respiratory system. Garlic honey is an easy way to use garlic to prevent a productive cough from turning into something worse!

I also like to apply GOOT to the chest, upper back, and bottoms of the feet as well, as I feel like working both internally and externally is most effective in this situation.

You can see how I make garlic honey here, and you can find my recipe for GOOT here.

Vapor Rub

With colds often comes congestion, and when you’re congested, sleeping is difficult. While I love my neti pot and herbal sinus rinse when I’m congested, my kids aren’t quite up for that yet.

Instead, slathering some vapor rub on the bottoms of their feet and a wee bit under their nose is a great way to help them breathe better before bed. It’s not that the vapors actually help with congestion because they don’t, but their cooling effects do trigger the brain to think that you’re breathing easier. That alone can often help my kiddos settle down to sleep.

Warming Ointment + Cooling Oil

With fall, comes those outdoor projects that are too hot to do during the summer months. You know the ones. The kind that leaves your muscles tired and sore in a good way. Beyond work, though, fall also often brings more hiking for my family, and that, too, can lead to sore muscles.

To counter the occasional sore muscles (and sometimes a pulled muscle), I like to keep a nice herbal warming ointment as well as a cooling massage oil on hand in my home apothecary. These products not only help to soothe soreness from tired muscles, but they can stimulate blood flow to the surface of the skin, helping muscles recover faster or provide a cooling feeling to the nerve endings of the skin to ease the pain.

You can get my warming ointment recipe here and my cooling muscle rub recipe here.

Sore Throat Pastilles

Cold and flu season can bring about a variety of symptoms, one of which is sore throats.

A sore throat can be due to sinus drainage from allergies or a cold or it can be from coughing a lot. Either way, I always have some sore throat pastilles on hand to cool hot, inflamed tissues and soothe a sore throat.

Wondering how to make sore throat pastilles? You can find an easy recipe in this post, only you’ll want to replace the herb blend mentioned here with some marshmallow root powder or some sustainably-sourced slippery elm powder.

Earache Oil

It never fails that as the weather cools and we’re outside more, someone ends up with an earache. If it’s not from to much cold air irritating the eardrum, earaches are sometimes caused by drainage or sinus congestion associated with viral infections.

While earaches are no fun, most times, they’ll go away on their own in a day or two. However, to help them feel better faster, I like to keep some herbal earache oil on hand to use anytime one of us experiences this uncomfortable side effect.

A couple of drops of this herb-infused oil and a hot rice pack usually does the trick. Some times we need to repeat it a few times throughout the day, but it’s always eased the pain after 24 hours or so. Not only that, but we’ve never had to go to the doctor for antibiotics because this goodness has some amazing anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and pain soothing properties!

You can find my earache oil recipe right here.

Goldenrod Tincture

The last thing I like to include in my fall apothecary is goldenrod tincture for when irritants get the best of me in the fall. While I don’t exactly experience allergies as some folks do, the pollen in the air or dust from swapping out my kids spring/summer clothes to their fall/winter clothes can easily set me to sneezing uncontrollably, my nose running like a faucet one minute only to be stopped up the next, and my throat itching like no one’s business.

So if I find myself in this sort of situation, my handy goldenrod tincture is the thing I reach for (and sometimes that neti pot and sinus rinse if it’s really bad) to help dry that mess up and calm the itching and sneezing down.

Goldenrod is a great herb for fall allergies, and it always works for me without fail.

You can learn how to make tinctures here or you can purchase a goldenrod tincture here.

So, now you know what my 10 (more like 11, though) must-have herbal preparations are for the fall home apothecary.

Again, your fall home apothecary may look different from mine, but I hope this helps you to get a head start on stocking your apothecary with the herbal goodness you or your family may need this season.

And if all of the above feels overwhelming to you, don’t stress about it. You don’t have to make all of this on your own. You can purchase many of these things online from Amazon, on Etsy, or from small-batch herbalists.

You can even choose one of the above preparations to focus on this year and let the rest wait until next year. Just do what works for you.

Remember, you don’t need to do it all, and you don’t need to do it perfectly. Instead, just take one step in the direction you want to go!

Love and light,

  1. Tori says:

    I just found your blog but I absolutely love it! I have most of the things on this list, but I hadn’t eventhought about a goldenrod tincture. My husband struggles with alergies (although they’ve been much better this year through a diet change), so I think a goldenrod tincture would be great to have on hand year round. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Meagan Visser says:

      You are very welcome! I just posted the video of how I make my fresh goldenrod tinctures here, so definitely check that out!

  2. Sheri says:

    Goldenrod and Nettle tinctures are my two allergy season allies. Not many people give Goldenrod credit where credit is due. I love your blog. Thanks for all of the helpful info/recipes!

    • Meagan Visser says:

      Yes, I couldn’t agree more. Goldenrod is also a great herb for digestive issues and as an antimicrobial herb as well! Thanks for your comment, Sheri!

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