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Tonics and Elixirs

Tonics and Elixirs

What is Elixir?

Elixirs have been prized and sought-after throughout history. Many cultures recount stories about the pursuit for the elixir of life – a liquid concoction supreme that would give man eternal life by curing all diseases and prevent aging itself. Alchemists throughout the ages and from various cultures sought out how to create this elixir of life, by trying different creations, some even including mercury and other unsavoury ingredients.

What is Tonic?

A tonic is a mild approach that is used to restore and strengthen a system of the body or to promote optimal health and well-being. One way that tonics differ from remedies is that a tonic will give improvement even in a healthy state, whereas a remedy is aimed at treating a problem, but doesn’t alter an already-healthy system.

I like to compare herbal tonics to plant foods, we eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to supply us with the nutrients we need for basic healthy function.

A herbal tonic is generally thought of as a herb or combination of herbs that are gentle and nourishing, either to the whole body or to specific organs or systems. The mild herbs are used to promote a tonic action, often spread over many weeks or months to restore or support general health. They are used to bring balance to chronic conditions or to support general wellness and prevention of dis-ease.

What is Health Elixir with tonics?

Today we know well that ingesting mercury isn’t ideal, nor drinking amrita will give us immortality. Instead, we brew up elixirs to support our health, usually starting with a tea, which is a hot water extraction of one or many herbs with a range of medicinal benefits. Then, most importantly, we will add a potent blend of tonic superfood extracts to give the elixir the unique medicinal effect we are intending to create.

While a tea may provide some energy, it lacks caloric density to be considered a significant source of energy for the body. A health elixir is generally a medicinal tea with added superfood extracts that has been transformed into a food or light meal due to the addition of fat, carbohydrates, and protein.

What are tonic elixirs used for?

Before setting out to create your health elixir, first decide the purpose of this drink. What healing in the body are you looking to support? Or how do you feel right now, and what kind of boost do you need?

There are different categories of tonic herbs based on their properties that you may consider experimenting with. Some of these herbs are very potent and have strong flavour profiles, so start small, especially when combining, and work your way up to the flavour and effect you enjoy.

Adaptogens: ashwagandha, maca, ginseng, eleuthero, holy basil, rhodiola, reishi, schizandra, cordyceps
Anti-inflammatory: ginger, turmeric, boswellia, cloves, devil’s claw, cat’s claw
Antioxidants: raw cacao, cloves, matcha, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, blue butterfly pea
Calming: lavender, passionflower, vanilla, catnip, chamomile, lemon balm, CBD
Cleansing/detoxifying: milk thistle, lemon, ginger, turmeric, dandelion root, schizandra, cayenne
Digestive support: anise, cardamom, lemongrass, peppermint, slippery elm, marshmallow root, fennel, chamomile, gentian, ginger
Energy/Focus: cacao, bacopa, rhodiola, chaga, green tea, cordyceps, ginkgo, ginseng, shilajit, gotu kola, lion’s mane
Hormone balancing: ashwagandha, shatavari, black cohosh, maca, schizandra, mucuna
Immune boosting: astragalus, reishi, cat’s claw, lemon, rose petal, turkey tail, chaga, echinacea, elderberry.

And here's a sample tonic elixir to celebrate on Earth Day & start of Winter:
A warm sleepy time elixir with chamomile, lavender, passionflower and tart cherry to encourage deep restful sleep.

Tart cherry sleep elixir

120 ml Tart Cherry Juice
120 ml sleepy time tea bland – teaspoon of dried chamomile, lavender & passionflower
1 tbsp Raw Honey/Maple Syrup (optional)


Brew the tea – use teaspoon of each dried herb and pour boiling water over them, let sit for 5-10 min. Warm tart cherry juice gently in a small saucepan on the stove. Tart cherries are high in melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle, and a few small studies have shown that they have promising effects on sleep. (1) Combine tea and tart cherry juice, stir in raw honey. Sip & enjoy!