How to Make A Cold and Flu Tincture Using Homegrown Herbs ~ A Recipe

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), horehound (Marrubium vulgare), and garden sage (Salvia officinalis) abound in my garden this time of year!

Each one of these medicinal herbs are super easy to grow and they all have some pretty amazing healing properties…making them a great addition to the home pharmacy.

Here’s a quick snapshot of these wonderful plants:

Lemon balm has been used to treat all kinds of nervous system ailments. And due to it’s highly antiseptic properties, lemon balm is known for it’s ability to act synergistically with others herbs in the treatment of the common cold and flu.

Horehound, although it grows well in a variety of climates, is best harvested growing in desert heat — score for me here in Phoenix…hence the massive amounts of horehound I have in my garden (The above picture is a portion of the horehound patch I found when backpacking with the family last weekend in Fossil Springs, AZ.). It is most commonly used as an expectorant, which makes it a great addition in cold, flu, and cough remedies.

Common garden sage may be best known for it’s use as a culinary herb, however it’s healing powers should not be overlooked. Used in this tincture, for fighting cold and flu symptoms, sage holds strong antiseptic and astringent medicinal properties — making it an effective treatment for sore throats and tonsils.

Additionally, although I don’t grow it my herb garden, I am adding dried echinacea root to this recipe. Echinacea root is by far one of the most popular immune-building herbs. It has the ability to fight off infection and disease like no other!

Note: Please see my How to Make a Tincture at Home video for more helpful information regarding making a tincture.

Cold and Flu Tincture ~ A Recipe

Supplies needed

-Solvent (i.e. 100 proof alcohol or vegetable glycerin)
-quart sized glass mason jar
-fresh and dried herbs


-2 ounces dried echinacea root
-1 ounce fresh lemon balm
-1 ounce fresh horehound
-1 ounce fresh sage
-100 proof vodka (or a mixture of 60% vegetable glycerin and 40% water) to fill jar


1. Measure your herbs using a small kitchen scale.
2. Chop fresh herbs, until fine.
3. Add all herbs to glass jar.
4. Pour solvent over herbs to fill the jar. The solvent should rise 1-2 inches above the herbs.
5. Place the lid on the jar and shake until the herbs are well combined.
6. Label jar with contents and date.
7. Set in a warm, sunny window and steep for 2-6 weeks, shaking daily.
8. Strain with a cheesecloth, compost the plant material, and place tincture in dark colored bottles for storage in a cool, dark place. The tincture should keep for up to 5 years.

Adult Dosage

At the sudden onset of cold and flu symptoms, begin taking 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of the tincture every 30 minutes to an hour until symptoms subside.

Child’s Dosage

I recommend calculating a child’s dose by using “Young’s Rule.” Add 12 to the child’s age then divide his/her age by that number. For example, my daughter is 6 therefore the calculation that I will use is 6/18=0.33 I will give her 33% of an adult dose.

Feel free to print this recipe and add it to your herbal journal: Cold and Flu Tincture Recipe (6kb PDF)

Looking for the raw materials mentioned in this post? Check out the good people over at Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store…they are the go-to for all my dried herb needs!

Click here to see my listing for this handmade tincture.

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Disclaimer: Please understand that this information is for educational purposes only. The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and they are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. Don’t take my word for it…you should always engage conventional wisdom and consult with your medical professional to determine potential drug interactions and safety of use.