Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth nutrition, fitness and adventure courses, and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+..
From simple to complex, with ingredients such as herbs, flowers, and even gemstones, elixirs have been used for thousands of years to nourish and heal. They’re often made with alcohol, which limits their usefulness in many ways. We’ve created alcohol-free elixirs, tonics, and cordials for you to enjoy. Take them a shot at a time, or mix the ingredients with sparkling water and sip slowly. Because many of these include powerful herbs, check with your health care practitioner before using; and if you’re pregnant, avoid them altogether.
- Raspberry-Vanilla Digestive Kvass
- Green Tea & Licorice Energy Elixir
- Cleansing Lemon-Ginger Oxymel
- Immune-Boosting Elderberry Cordial
- Passionflower & Chamomile Stress-Relief Tonic
- Lavendar Rose Beauty Elixir
How to Buy Dried Herbs Are dried herbs as effective as fresh ones?
In most cases, yes, says renowned herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, author of Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health and numerous other books. “Dried herbs, if harvested and dried properly, will generally retain all of their medicinal properties,” says Gladstar. But once an herb has been dried, how can you tell if it’s high-quality or not? Start with the dried herbs at your local health food store. And then use Gladstar’s tips, here, for seeking out the best of the best:
- Get some answers: “Ask where the herbs come from. Are they organically grown? Are they wildcrafted? If so, were they collected ethically, with respect for the environment?” says Gladstar.
- Look at color: “You may not always know what the correct color of a plant should be, but look for liveliness, vibrancy, and deep, strong colors,” says Gladstar. For example, calendula should be bright orange or yellow; echinacea root should have a silverly
- Sniff out good from bad: “They should smell strongly, not necessarily ‘good,'” says Gladstar.
- Taste test: “Judge taste on potency rather than flavor,” says Gladstar, adds that dried herbs should taste fresh. Other characteristic of high-quality herbs include those that taste strong, vital, and distinctive.
[Editors’ note] Store dried herbs in an air-tight glass jar away from direct sunlight, preferably in a cool storage area.