Plague Tonic: A Safe Flu Shot Alternative

Real Food Meal Plans for Busy People


• Traditional
• Whole 30
• Gluten & Dairy free
• Paleo or Primal
• Autoimmune Paleo
• Vegetarian


Welcome! I'm Jennifer, the owner & founder of Healing Redefined Holistic Wellness Center, holistic practitioner, and head nutrition nerd here at Healing Redefined.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult a physician in matters relating to serious illness and particularly with respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

Medications – You should work closely with your physician to adjust medications as your body heals. Many of you will be able to say goodbye to “maintenance” medication forever but some will not.

65 Responses

  1. I have a pretty nasty case of the flu now. Does the concoction have to sit for two weeks to be effective?

    1. It is more effective the longer it sits, but you can definitely start using it right away. I hope you start feeling better very soon. Good luck. 🙂

  2. Definitely want to try this! Few questions, though:

    What is the difference between using it as a health tonic vs. illness prevention? Do you take this every day year round, or just when at risk for icky bugs? And is it just for respiratory flu and colds, or does it help with other things? My fiance and I got a stomach bug this year, but that’s it. Don’t know if I could have stomached this (would it have worked if we could?), but it may have helped with prevention.

    1. As a health tonic, it helps remove excess cholesterol from the bloodstream, improve circulation, increases nutrients that help the body detoxify, fight chronic infections, and a whole host of other chronic conditions. The dose is smaller than the illness prevention dose and is for maintenance, while the illness prevention dosage is to increase the germ-fighting and detoxifying properties of your body so it can better fight infection. It also acts as a microbial agent and helps to fight the infection.

      It would definitely help with the stomach flu, but I would steer clear during any acute gastric distress. Activated charcoal and food-grade betonite clay is much better for absorbing microbes and toxins in the gut and can work wonders when sickness settles in the gut. It’s reported to absorb the virus so can provide relief and shorten the duration of the illness.

    1. This is safe for children, but I still don’t give it to my 4 year old straight. 🙂 Many parents mix it with or chase it with a big spoon of raw honey. I actually love it mixed with olive oil as a bread dip or over rice, or even as part of a vinaigrette for salad. I would suggest not heating it if using it to prevent or knock out illness, because it will kill the enzymes and many of the healing properties.

  3. May be a dumb question, but I don’t do any canning…I got the Ball jars with lids and slopped it into those. Do I need to actually put a seal on them (with boiling water and all) or is it just enough to screw the lids on them?

    1. I don’t do any canning either! Just screw the lids on and you’ll be good to go. No need to heat, seal, or cook. To keep it’s effectiveness, this tonic should never be heated above 90 degrees F. The heat will kill the enzymes and change the quality.

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  5. I really like your tonic recipe, it looks much more simple than the one we used recently. I can’t wait to try it and use it as part of our salad dressings…

  6. I made this tonic and after straining and storing in the fridge, it has separated even more. Tiny residule food particles and transparent liquid. Should I strain again or just shake before pouring and administering?

    1. You can just shake or stir when you are ready to use it. There are no emulsifiers in it to suspend the food particles with the liquid, so separation is normal.

  7. Do I remove the pieces of garlic from the head or throw the whole head in with the papery skin? Same question with the stems from the peppers and skin on onion?

    1. You can do either. I remove the main garlic stems (depends on the strength of your blender) but keep the skin and stems on all of the ingredients. Making it as easy as possible ensures I’ll keep making it. 🙂

  8. Hi! I would like to make this in a food processor, instead of a blender. How much vinegar should I put in to make the initial paste?

    1. I would start with 1/4-1 cup at a time depending on the size of your food processor and how full it is. Pulse until the liquid is incorporated to minimize splattering.

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      1. I loved your recipe and plan to make a whole gallon of it. It is safe for breastfeeding mothers, but please know that ginger, especially fresh ginger, can cause a miscarriage in the first trimester of pregnancy. Although ginger used to be recommended for morning sickness, it has lately been contraindicated during pregnancy for this very reason. A good substitute would be echinacea or wild yam.

        1. Thank you for adding that Connie and suggesting alternatives! Can you please clarify the amounts that need to be taken in of ginger for it to be a concern? For foods and herbs, it is usually in medicinal amounts and not what you would consume in a typical day. If so, then the maintenance dose would be fine for pregnancy but not the illness doses.

          1. Thank you for asking, Jennifer! I advise no ginger at all for any pregnant woman during her first trimester, and then only very small amounts, if any, for the remainder of her pregnancy (except during labor, when it’s helpful to keep things moving). Although it’s true that most women can ingest a little ginger with no repercussions, with some, even having a small amount can bring on contractions and bleeding within hours. Because a woman doesn’t know if she’s prone to miscarriage or sensitive to ginger until it’s too late, and because the stakes are so high (the life of her baby), it’s just not worth the risk. Personal experience includes having had nine miscarriages myself (none of which were caused by ginger, but which led me into extensive research into miscarriage prevention) and being with a pregnant friend who began cramping and bleeding shortly after eating a salad with a small amount of grated ginger in it. It’s very potent medicine, and wonderful for preventing and treating illness; but quite dangerous for unborn babies as the ginger tends to throw the uterus into contractions. [P.S. ~ The good news is that I went on to carry seven children full term! :)]

            1. Thank you so much for the information! I will add the caution to my post for expectant mothers. And congratulations on being blessed with such a large family!

  10. I took an herb course In Utah where I live back in the 80’s. It was taught by the descendents of Dr. Christopher who was a very well known herbalist of his time, from the old school. He literally grew up on the western prairie and learned his craft from books and intuition. I learned this receipe at his school. It has a phenomenol track record for curing what ailes you. I made it a couple of times, but have completely forgotten about it. It is more relevant and necessary now today than back then, due to our continuing decline in health. Thanks so much for reminding me about it. I will be making again soon.

  11. I’d love to try this this, when/if I need it this winter, but I’m moderately sensitive to all peppers, cayenne, so should I go for it cuz when you’re sick, you do what you have to do, or if I leave it out, will it be affective? I can do black pepper.


    1. I would modify the recipe and make it without any peppers. You don’t want to give your immune system anything else to deal with! Black pepper would be a fine addition.

  12. I made this recently and I have found that everytime I take it, it bothers my stomach for a short time afterward. It is only for a minute at most so it’s not a huge deal but I wonder if my stomach will get used to it over time or if I should try diluting it? I am curious if it has anything to do with the detox ability that this tonic has.

  13. Ok I got all my stuff to make this and started reading he comments and confused myself lol…. Do I peel the onions, garlic, and ginger? I assumed yes, but then I started questioning it considering it says throw it all in whole and you said leave all skins and stems??? Also what is the best type of onion to use?

    1. Once you’ve done it once, you’re going to love how easy it is. For onions, I’d use any that you are willing to eat. The stronger the onion, the more healing compounds it contains for our purposes.

      I don’t peel a thing. You can rinse off anything that you feel the need to and throw them in, peels, seeds, stems, and all…as long as you don’t have too puny of a blender. The one I used to make it with was a cheapy Costco special, but it handled the job just fine.

  14. Made this today and tried about 1 tablespoon. It made me throw up almost immediately. Is this due to it not “aging for two weeks” or did I do something wrong? Any ideas because I’m a little nervous to use it again. Thanks

    1. Oh no Beth! That’s either due to a sensitivity of the ingredients or, more likely, a sensitive stomach. The next time you try it, start with 1 teaspoon and try it on a full stomach (like after a hearty beef stew).

  15. hi there ~ I just made this concoction, but have found it became quite fluffy and filled with air bubbles after blending in the vitamix. do you think the air blended in will create problems in the storage phase since we’re supposed to be using air tight containers?

    thanks for your input — looking forward to trying it!

    1. You want as little oxygen as possible, so I would stir the mixture and tap the jar to help release the air bubbles over the next few days just to be sure.

  16. Thanks for this recipe! Is it really necessary to drain out all the pieces after two weeks? Wouldn’t drinking those components have value as well?

    1. You can definitely eat the fibers, but I would peel the onions, garlic, and ginger, and remove the stems from the peppers first. I just take the lazy route and feed the pulp to my compost pile.

      1. Good point! I’ll do that on the next batch. Also, I sent you an email about needing your nutrition consulting services. So, when you get a chance, I’d love to speak with you about that.

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  18. Jennifer, I have made the tonic and after taking it a few days, I feel it did boost my immune system. However, I am having trouble with tasting garlic all day after consuming the tonic. My husband says I smell like garlic too! I have tried taking the tonic on an empty stomach, with food, after a meal, while holding my breath, mixed with honey, but still have a lingering taste of garlic I can’t get rid of. There are so many benefits to be gained from the tonic that I want to take it, but I can’t smell and taste garlic all day! I’m an oncology nurse and work with sick people all day, I don’t want to make them feel worse by smelling garlic breath!! Thanks for all you do, your recommendations are so helpful. FYI The lymph massage video has honestly changed my life! Thanks!

    1. That probably shouldn’t have made me giggle. 😀 You are likely dealing with compromised digestion which is congesting your detoxification pathways. I don’t have a quick fix, but take a look at my series on healing digestion and then work the tonic back into your routine after you introduce the tonics and/or HCl. You should be able to handle it then without any lingering odor unless your digestion is very compromised.

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  20. Before we were into oils, my husband and I used the Plague Tonic recipe to get over an illness. It was magic!! The results were amazing and so much cheaper that a trip to the Dr’s office & prescriptions for the both of us! Great post!

  21. Hello! I would like to make up some of this, but I cannot take the vinegar with the mother on it. I get very sick at my stomach. Would this work at all with an average grocery-store vinegar, like Heinz, for example?

    1. I would only recommend an organic vinegar because of issues with concentrated pesticides and genetically-modified ingredients, but you can try it. If you are sensitive to fermented vinegar, you may have to use this tincture without fermenting it. You can keep it in the fridge instead of fermenting on the countertop.

  22. Hi! I’m in the process of making the Master Tonic, nearly two weeks into it. I thought there would be bubbling among the ingredients as they ferment, but there is none. Did I do something wrong?

    1. Not necessarily. It’s not a ‘high bubbling’ ferment, but it usually generates some air bubbles especially since you agitate it daily. Just make sure it still smells good and doesn’t develop any mold.

  23. I add horseradish root, red onions and turmeric to mine. When I strain it i dehydrate the pieces and use it in everything for seasonings. It’s awesome.

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