Dr. Peter Swanz, ND, FHANP

Winter Cold and Flu Support From Kentucky

I’m a proponent of empowering patients, individuals, and families to be proactive for their own health at home. The colds and upper respiratory infections that become more common during the winter are an ideal opportunity for practice with alternative and complementary options. A staple for many in the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the bourbon toddy. A toddy is a warm drink made with bourbon (or some other liquor), hot water, honey, and possibly some added herbs or spice. The spice is often cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or allspice; the typical winter mulling spices that one might add to a warm winter cider. These are certainly tasty options, although I have encouraged my patients to kick their toddy up a notch by adding tasty herbal extractions that can increase the immune benefits and soothing nature of the warm beverage and the healing honey. Here are a few of my favorite additions. Look for these in your local health food store as an herbal extraction or possibly a dry tea.

Licorice Root

Licorice Root is my favorite herb to add to a toddy. Licorice is naturally sweet and complements the flavors in most Kentucky bourbons perfectly. Licorice is soothing and healing to the mucosal lining of the throat and digestive tract. It is ideal for giving relief to the soreness from a cough, post-nasal drip, or other inflammatory triggers. Licorice is also an excellent adaptogen helping the body recover from stress and increasing energy. Add 10 drops of licorice extract to your toddy for a tasty and soothing boost.

Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry Bark is as tasty as it sounds. It is a common herbal addition to cough and cold formulas and mixes deliciously with the bourbon and honey in your standard toddy. It may also provide some soothing pain relief to a sore throat. Add 10 to 20 drops of Wild Cherry Bark extract to your toddy to help alleviate a nagging cough.


Echinacea is the herb most individuals think about when considering winter immune supports. It is used for colds, the flu, infections both viral and bacterial, swollen glands, sore throats, and so much more. It is a perfect, although somewhat bitter addition to your winter toddy. Add 10 to 20 drops of Echinacea for a general immune boost.


Eyebright tea bags are a must have in the medicine cabinet for sinus and allergy issues. The tea bags can be used to make a hot eyebright tea to use as the liquid base for the winter immune toddy. Eyebright has expectorant and decongestant properties as well as fighting inflammation. The leftover tea bag makes an excellent warm compress for red and inflamed eyes.

It is important to limit the consumption of a winter immune Toddy with alcohol in it to no more than 1 or 2 drinks per day. Traditionally these are consumed in the evening before bed, so that the soothing herbs and warmth will provide relief to a sore throat and the 1 to 2 ounces of alcohol may contribute to relaxation and sleep. These immune drinks can be made without adding the bourbon using just warm water or warm tea as the liquid base. This is a great option for children or those individuals that lead an alcohol-free life. Please don’t forget about the Toddy this winter as you take power for your immune system at home. If you try or come up with any other herbs that work nicely, please share them with me by email at drswanz@drswanz.com.

Peace and health always! ~Dr. Swanz

Swanz_headshotSwanz_headshot_revisedDr. Peter Swanz received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Degree from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ.
Dr. Swanz was awarded the prestigious Daphne Blayden award for his commitment to Naturopathic Medicine,  Academic Excellence, Compassion, Perseverance, a Loving Sense of Humor and a Positive, Supportive Outlook by his colleagues and staff at SCNM.
He is a Board Certified Naturopathic Physician with advanced training in classical homeopathy and nutrition. Dr. Swanz is a Fellow of the Homeopathic Association of the Naturopathic Physicians. He currently supports individuals on the journey to health through his Vital Force Naturopathy practice, integrating the best of his conventional and holistic medical training. Dr. Swanz specializes in homeopathy, pediatrics and family medicine.  He is passionate about healing and is driven by the desire to see all people be the most healthy individual they can be.

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