Pepper Juice – A Tincture for Colds & Flus

This post may contain affiliate links for companies I trust and/or purchase from myself. This means I make a small commission from your purchase. While this does not change your price, it does garner my heartfelt thanks. Read our full disclosure here.

Try our Pepper Juice #tincture - a sure cold & flu remedy with plenty of heat! - WholeIntentions.comIt’s hot.

It’s intense.

It’s potent.

And it’s the best homemade cold preventer, flu destroyer, and all around immune booster I know of.

Pepper Juice.

If you can handle the heat, you just might get through the cold and flu season without a scratch. What makes Pepper Juice so effective? It’s powerhouse of ingredients.

Step into my lab. . .

Inside Pepper Juice

garlic health tincture(source)

Garlic – used for centuries to treat every complaint from a cold to the plague, garlic is known for a plethora of health benefits. Prior to antibiotics, garlic preparations were placed on wounds during war to prevent infections. Scientific research has proven that it strengthens the immune system, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and fevers, and has direct anti-microbial actions equal to many antibiotic drugs (without the side effects).

  • antibiotic – kills microorganisms
  • anti-diabetic – lowers glucose levels
  • anti-fungal – kills fungus (e.g. candida)
  • anti-microbial – helps the body resist or destroy pathogenic micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses)
  • antioxidant – prevents free radical oxidative damage
  • anthelmintic – destroys parasitic worms
  • anti-thrombotic – prevents formation of blood clots
  • anti-spasmodic – relieves smooth muscle spasms (e.g. stomach and intestine)
  • cholagogue – promotes bile flow
  • diaphoretic – increases perspiration (good for detoxing)
  • expectorant – promotes expulsion of phlegm or mucous
  • hypotensive – reduces blood pressure
  • immuno-stimulant – stimulates immune system

onion cough cold(source)

Onions – like garlic, onions were known throughout history as a cure for many illnesses. Alexander the Great fed onions in huge quantities to his troops to strengthen them for battle. During World War II the vapors of onion paste were used to reduce pain and accelerate healing of wounds.

  • anti-allergenic – prevents or relieves allergies
  • anti-asthmatic – prevents asthma attacks
  • anti-bacterial – destroys or suppresses bacterial growth
  • anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation (e.g. arthritis and gout)
  • antimicrobial – helps the body resist or destroy pathogenic micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses)
  • anti-septic – prevents infection
  • anti-thrombotic – prevents formation of blood clots
  • blood cleanser
  • decongestant – relieves mucus congestion of the upper respiratory tract
  • diaphoretic – increases perspiration (good for detoxing)
  • diuretic – increases production and elimination of urine
  • expectorant – promotes expulsion of phlegm or mucous
  • helps insomnia
  • high iron content
  • hypotensive – reduces blood pressure
  • lowers cholesterol
  • lowers triglyceride level
  • stimulates growth of good bacteria

ginger root remedy(source)

Ginger – known most commonly for nausea, ginger’s healing benefits go back thousands of years. It was specifically mentioned in the Ayurveda, the Hindu manual of medicine written in the fifth century BC. An ancient Indian proverb states: ‘every good quality is contained in ginger.’

The ancient Greeks and Romans valued ginger for it’s medicinal uses. In England, during the Middle Ages, one pound of ginger was equal in value to a sheep – which only the wealthy could afford. Queen Elizabeth I used it as a digestive aid.

More recently, scientists at the University of Minnesota compared zingibain, an enzyme in ginger, with papain, an enzyme in papaya known for its ability to digest protein, and found their actions comparable. Amazingly, though, it would take 180 lbs of papaya to equal the effect of just one lb of ginger.

Another study was done by Phytotherapy Research Laboratory in Salt Lake City showing ginger more effective at relieving motion sickness than Dramamine.

  • anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation (similar to aspirin but without the side effects)
  • anti-parasitic – eradicates infections of parasites
  • anti-septic – prevents infection
  • anti-spasmodic – relaxes all types of muscle
  • anti-thrombotic – prevents formation of blood clots (ginger has been found as effective as aspirin in reducing the formation of clots and subsequent blockages)
  • diaphoretic – increases perspiration (good for detoxing)
  • eases headaches and migraines
  • enhances metabolism of fats and protein
  • expectorant – promotes expulsion of phlegm and mucous
  • hypotensive – reduces blood pressure
  • improves blood circulation in limbs and extremities
  • inhibits the growth of micro-organisms while simultaneously allowing beneficial bacteria to grow
  • regulates peristalsis (wave-like movement of muscles in the digestive tract that pushes food and waste through the digestive system. This eases both diarrhea and constipation, whether resulting from illness or eating habits)
  • relieves motion sickness and upset stomach
  • relieves sore throats when used as a gargle
  • shields against ulcers, colds and flu, and heart disease
  • treats colic
  • treats dyspepsia (pain or discomfort associated with eating (e.g. indigestion, nausea, and vomiting)

hot pepper flu(source)

Habanero Peppers (you can also use chili, jalepeno, or any hot pepper – the hotter the better) – Hot peppers contain capsaicin, the phytochemical that causes their heat.

Hot peppers have been used in Indonesia for scabies, pimples, stomach ache, loss of appetite and low blood pressure. In India, it is used externally as a paste to treat tonsillitis, diphtheria and snake bite. The Russians use nastoyka, one or two pods in a bottle of Vodka, as an appetizer, and for treating colds, rheumatism and stomach distress. Nastoyka is also mixed with other compounds and used as a liniment.

Dr. Ziment, a pulmonary specialist at the University of California Los Angeles explains that peppers act as an expectorant and are beneficial for the common cold. “You’d be better off with hot salsa than menthol cough drops,” he says. “Menthol cough drops not only dry out your throat, but paralyze the cilia – the tiny hair-like projections all along the airways.”

  • analgesic – pain killer
  • clinically proven to relieve headaches and sinus inflammation
  • increases blood flow to the stomach
  • increases circulatory blood flow

*We sprinkle a little cayenne powder inside our boots during the winter – it keeps our feet warm. An internal dose (1/4 t. cayenne pepper in water) will bring warmth and circulation to feet and hands.

  • lowers blood pressure
  • stimulates production of digestive juices
  • stimulates production of endorphins (natural pain killers)
  • raises metabolism and increases the body’s heat production and oxygen consumption – this means your body is burning extra calories, which helps weight loss.
  • reduces fat deposits in the liver
  • reduces pain and inflammation when applied to a specific area of the body
  • reduces triglycerides (stored fat) in the blood cells

fresh horseradish health(source)

Horseradish – for most of its history, horseradish has been used as a popular condiment throughout many parts of the world. It is best known for its pungent taste and is one of the five bitter herbs consumed at Passover.

But dig a little deeper and you’ll find that horseradish is also good for your health.

  • aids in weight reduction
  • anti-bacterial – destroys or suppresses bacterial growth
  • antibiotic – kills or prevents the growth of bacteria
  • anti-cancer agent
  • anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation similar to aspirin but without the side effect
  • antimicrobial – helps the body resist or destroy pathogenic micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, and viruses)
  • counter irritant – interferes with the transmission of pain messages from peripheral nerves to the brain
  • diaphoretic – increases perspiration (good for detoxing)
  • diuretic – increases production and elimination of urine (helps treat edema and kidney stones)
  • enables drainage, relieves sinus pressure and helps clear infection
  • expectorant – promotes expulsion of phlegm and mucous
  • increases appetite
  • increases circulation
  • regenerates and heals the liver while keeping it cleansed of toxins
  • rubefacient – stimulates blood flow  (this is beneficial for relieving joint and muscle pain)
  • stimulates digestion
  • used for rheumatic and arthritic conditions

How to make Pepper Juice

Pepper Juice (gluten-free, candida-diet)
equal parts of:
garlic
onion
ginger
hot peppers (the hotter the better)
horseradish

Directions:
1. Wash equal parts (e.g. 1/2 cup) of each vegetable and chop in a food processor or by hand. (You may want to wear gloves when handling the peppers. Also, make sure you don’t touch your face or eyes.) You don’t want to blend the veggies in a blender because you’ll need to drain them later.

2. Fill a jar 2/3rds full with cut up vegetables. We use a half gallon jar.

3. Fill the jar with raw apple cider vinegar or 80 proof (at least) vodka, making sure you cover the veggies completely.

Why we choose vodka over ACV:

1. vodka pulls out more of the medicinal qualities
2. vodka makes the mucous membranes in the mouth more permeable, so the tincture can enter the bloodstream more effectively
3. vodka increases the shelf life of the tincture
4. The higher the alcohol content, the better the tincture will work.

The amount of alcohol in the average dose of tincture is equal to the alcohol in a ripe banana. If you’re still concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water over it, and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds.

4. Seal your jar, date it, and let it sit in a dark cupboard at room temperature for at least 14 days. (We’ve let ours sit 30 plus days and it’s been just fine.) The longer it sits, the more nutrients the vodka will pull out. Shake the jar several times every day.

5. When you’re ready to use it, strain out the vegetables and pour the liquid (now called a tincture) into a tincture bottle. Label it and keep it in a dark cupboard.

(Printable recipe below.)

How to take Pepper Juice

clear glass of water(source)

As cold and flu season comes upon you, take a dropper full every couple days to keep your immune system up. If there’s ‘something going around’, increase it to every day and even a few times each day. At the slightest scratchy throat, funny feeling, or sniffle I wouldn’t recommend anything less than 3-4 times a day or more.

Once you’ve tried Pepper Juice, you might say, “I can handle this, but what about the kids?” Here’s what we’ve done. We have five children between 1 1/2 to 13 years old. Yes, even the toddler takes Pepper Juice.

First, for the older kids we let them get a mouthful of water and we squirt a full dropper (our dropper measures out to 1/4th teaspoon) into their mouths.

They swish it around to evenly distribute the heat, and swallow it with a glass of water nearby. Then we usually let them have a healthy snack to help with any remaining heat.

The littler they get, the less they get. The four year old only gets 1/3 of a dropper. The baby only gets about 5 drops. There’s no set rule and it’s not going to hurt them, but it is hot and we’d rather they be willing to take a little at a time instead of running and hiding when they see us reaching for the bottle. :)

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me, and in the two years my family has used it, we’ve come through some of the worst cold and flu seasons with nothing but minor complaints.

Our Pepper Juice testimonial

About a year after we’d started using Pepper Juice, we were celebrating Christmas with my side of the family. Twenty-three people were expected for family pictures. My sister called and said one of her girls wasn’t feeling good so they’d only stop long enough for pictures.

We bring Pepper Juice with us whenever we leave for a weekend, so we had it with us. As soon as we heard our niece wasn’t feeling good we lined our kids up like military soldiers and they stood with their mouths open like baby birds.

Our family all got a dropper full – but no one in the extended family was brave enough to try it. Throughout that day and weekend, our family took 3-4 droppers each day.

The day after we came back home, my mom called. She and dad, along with my three sisters and their families had all come down with the flu. As the week progressed we heard that it was ‘the bad un’ – a full week of vomiting, diarrhea, and feeling like you’re on the verge of death.

I waited. I checked temperatures. I watched our family like a hawk while we continued our onslaught of Pepper Juice. In the end there was one day I felt ‘blah’ but other than that, not one of us became sick.

I’m not going to claim Pepper Juice is a cure-all. But this isn’t the only story I could tell. Yes, we’ve come down with the sniffles occasionally, but for the most part any symptoms we’ve had are minor.

And we don’t just pull it out for cold and flu season, we use if for everything. Even sore muscles.

Ready to try it? Bring on the heat!

Pepper Juice – A Tincture for Colds & Flus

Allergies Candida-Diet, Gluten-Free
Website Whole Intentions

Ingredients

  • vodka or apple cider vinegar
  • Equal parts of -------------------- (about 1/2 cup of each)
  • garlic
  • onion
  • ginger
  • hot peppers (the hotter the better)
  • horseradish

Directions

1. Wash equal parts (e.g. 1/2 cup) of each vegetable and chop in a food processor or by hand. (You may want to wear gloves when handling the peppers. Also, make sure you don't touch your face or eyes.) You don't want to blend the veggies in a blender because you'll need to drain them later.
2. Fill a jar 2/3rds full with cut up vegetables. We use a half gallon jar.
3. Fill the jar with raw apple cider vinegar or 80 proof (at least) vodka, making sure you cover the veggies completely.

Why we choose vodka over ACV:

1. vodka pulls out more of the medicinal qualities
2. vodka makes the mucous membranes in the mouth more permeable, so the tincture can enter the bloodstream more effectively
3. vodka increases the shelf life of the tincture
4. The higher the alcohol content, the better the tincture will work.

The amount of alcohol in the average dose of tincture is equal to the alcohol in a ripe banana. If you're still concerned about the alcohol, you can place the tincture in a cup, pour boiling water over it, and the alcohol will evaporate within seconds.
4. Seal your jar, date it, and let it sit in a dark cupboard at room temperature for at least 14 days. (We've let ours sit 30 plus days and it's been just fine.) The longer it sits, the more nutrients the vodka will pull out. Shake the jar several times every day.
5. When you're ready to use it, strain out the vegetables and pour the liquid (now called a tincture) into a tincture bottle. Label it and keep it in a dark cupboard.

 

 

Shared at: The Healthy Home Economist, Butter Believer, Harke Is Online, Nourishing Treasures, Homestead Revival, Real Food Forager, The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Freaks, Simply Sweet Home, The Shabby Nest, Life As Mom, Fight Back Friday, Tip Junkie, Vintage Wannabee, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Time-Warp Wife, Confessions of A Frugal Mind, Far Above Rubies, Premeditated Leftovers, Confessions of A Stay-At-Home Mommy, At Home With K, At The Well, Women Living Well, Frugally Sustainable, The King’s Court IV, The Gluten Free Homemaker, Crystal & Comp, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, day2day Joys, This Chick Cooks, We Are That Family, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, The Stuff of Success, Blue Cricket Designs, Everyday Tastes, A Little Bit of Spain In Iowa, Sorta Crunchy, Momnivore’s Dilemma, Whipperberry, Real Food Whole HealthMom Trends, Creation Corner, Keeping It Simple, Skip to My Lou, Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms, Keeping It Simple, DIY Home Sweet Home, Cooking Traditional Foods, Coastal Charm, Permanent Posies, Hope Studios, The Girl Creative, Marvelous Messy, Delightfully Dowling, Home Savvy A to Z, Chef In Training, Rook No. 17, Celebrating Family, Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Thirty Handmade Days, Flour Me With Love, The Modest Mom, Raising Mighty Arrows, Our Simple Country Life, Comfy in The Kitchen Growing Home, Deep Roots at Home, Our Simple Farm, Little Natural Cottage,

Paula
I’m Paula - like many of you I wear a lot of hats. Child of God, wife of 19 years, mother of 5 earthly children (and another on the way), reluctant cook, chocolate-snatcher, and health and fitness coach at PaulaMillerFitness.com. Various family health issues including Lyme disease and candida has turned me into a 'researcher' with a passion for understanding how our God-created bodies thrive or deteriorate based on what we put in it.
Paula
Paula
Paula

Latest posts by Paula (see all)

Comments

  1. Linda says

    Wow! I can imagine that juice would do the trick, but I'm not sure I could handle it. I'm really not a pepper person. I love garlic and onion though, and used to make a cold fighting tea that used garlic, onion, and ginger. Thanks for sharing this at Gluten-Free Wednesdays!

  2. Paula says

    Jenny – I didn't add that to the list – but cayenne is quite the worker, isn't it!

    Judee – Each of the ingredients has value – I'd definitely make it even if I couldn't have the peppers.

    On a side note, my husband used to be allergic to ginger and I knew of a woman deathly allergic to eggs. In each case they ate miniscule amounts and gradually increased it until they weren't affected by it anymore.

    This approach may not work for everyone, but a lot of times when you react to a food that has so much healing potential (eggs, peppers, etc.) it's really your body trying to heal and cleanse which is why you get a reaction. A little at a time is how we've addressed a few of Travis's allergies.

    This is strictly my opinion from the research I've done. Please be cautious if you decide to try it. :)

  3. Paula says

    Linda – your welcome! and thanks for hosting a great link party!

    Judee – thank you for featuring this recipe on your site! I'll be over in just a sec!

  4. Paula says

    Good Girl Gone Green – yes, the heat takes a bit of getting used to – but the benefits far outweigh the flames!

    April – You are so welcome! Thanks for a great blog hop!

  5. Paula says

    Isn't that silly – I never thought of that!

    But upon pondering it, I would think there'd still be nutrients and beneficial goodness in the veggies, even after sitting for quite awhile.

    My thought would be to:
    1. puree it(?), freeze it, and add to soup, chili, salsa, etc.
    2. add whey and ferment it like you would any vegetable medley per Nourishing Traditions.

    Hmm, good question! I'll have to look into that. I've got a half gallon jar that should be ready to bottle up before too long.

  6. Shannon, Food Channel Editor, Momtrends.com says

    Interesting read! I'm a big wimp when it comes to hot food, but I see the point for sure. Does it come in capsule form? ;o)

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday! Thanks for linking up to Momtrends.com Friday Food!

  7. Paula says

    No capsules yet :)

    We've found it's better taken with water or under the tongue. Start with a drop at a time.

    Happy New Year!

  8. mjskit says

    I'm definitely a pepper person, as well as a garlic and onion person in abundance! I don't eat a lot of horseradish, but that could change. Your pepper juice looks quite interesting and definitely something to keep around for those "starting to feel sick days". Interesting post!

  9. Jenn Erickson says

    Thank you so much for sharing your talent and tips for healthy living on “A Little Birdie Told Me…” at Rook No. 17! Looking forward to seeing what inspirations you’ll share tomorrow!
    Warmest wishes,
    Jenn

  10. Karin says

    I made this and, yes, it is hot, but it works! Even my husband, who is not generally into the natural way of doing things, even thought it worked well!

  11. says

    It will be adequate – you just might want to take a little more of the tincture when you use it as it will be a bit weaker in medicinal value.

  12. says

    here are my 5 cents to this :)
    i have been making this sort of remedy for several years no, always with raw apple cider vinegar instead of vodka; i use it as salad dressing, for upset stomachs or just not feeling well; still hot as … and if i get too much hot pepper stuff in ( i add some ground African bird seed pepper on top) i hear about it too :) My daughters come and ask for it now! time to make a new batch again! mine sits for at least a month before i strain it; and i blend the veggies with the vinegar – except the horseradish (burned out a blender motor!) that now goes in the food processor.
    as for using the remaining veggie pulp, i put it in the compost, but tried last time to get a second smaller batch going with some of the old mush – it was weaker in terms of heat, but still pretty good for salad dressing.

    Paula, great blog by the way! enjoyed looking through!

    • says

      Hi Jill,
      Sorry it took awhile for me to respond – swamped over here. :)

      I myself have taken Pepper Juice while nursing, and trying to remember if we’d started using it when I was pregnant with our 2 1/2 year old. I called a friend who just had a baby and I knew also used this with her family. She confirmed that she used it safely during her pregnancy.

      The only reason I would caution against using it would be if it would affect the taste of your milk for your little one. I never noticed that it bothered my daughter in the slightest, but it is something to be aware of. :)

  13. Scott says

    We live in Driggs Idaho and here we can buy this pepper juice at our health food store. She makes it with the Apple Cider vinegar. We have take it for 10 years now. A tablespoon in a small glass of orange juice 2 times a day when we feel we may be getting sick or if someone in the house is getting sick. My 10 year old son has taken it for 3 years now. It does not completely wipe it out in a day but it takes the week long crud and cut it out in like 3 days with much less discomfort. I have not missed work due to flu in 10 years. Knock on wood.

  14. Jade says

    Hi, I have just found your site and am quite impressed with what I see,My family has used a similar”tonic” for years with much success in combating flu’s and other “winter”ailments.We used an apple cider vinegar base and had almost all the same ingredients with additions through the years,I believe we had cayenne pepper in ours,it was affectionately referred as “moms toxic cure” and it worked wonderfully:).

    • says

      Hi Jade and welcome! I think this recipe has been around for some time, under various names. Whatever name we dub it ( a dear friend calls it “Fire Water” LOL), it seems to have worked for many.

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

    • says

      Hi Lana,

      Even while Travis battled candida he took this with vodka. There were a couple of things we considered when debating between ACV and vodka.

      1. Vodka pulls out so much more of the healing benefits. I’d probably double or triple the dose I took if I used ACV instead.

      2. This isn’t something you take several times a day EVERY day – you might take it every day during cold/flu season to keep your immunity up, and more often if you’re around family or co-workers, but it’s not like taking a daily vitamin every day, all year long. The amount of vodka you’re actually getting is really small. Two droppers are only 1/2 tsp.

      In the end we figured a stronger dose with a little bit of vodka was better. BUT, if you’re concerned that any amount of vodka will set you back, I’d go with ACV.

      Hope that helps!

  15. Terra W says

    Paula, you say to do equal amounts of your list of ingredients w/an example of 1/2 c. each and that you fill a 1/2 gallon jar 2/3 of the way full. Your jar looks pretty full of ingredients, did you do a 1/2 cup of each in your 1/2 gallon jar?

    I am getting ready to make this for the first time and want to make sure I get the ratios right.

    Thank you!

    • says

      Hi Terra,

      My example was about 1/2 c. of each, but I honestly just keep chopping equal amounts until the jar is about 2/3 full. I’m sure I did more than 1/2 c. each. More like 1-3/4 cups of each if I remember correctly.

      Let me know how it turns out!

  16. says

    Hi Paula,
    I would love to try this recipe, but here in Australia we’re just coming out of the cold/flu season into summer. Do you know how long the tincture keeps once you’ve steeped it for 14 days? Would it be months, as in, could I keep it in a dark cupboard until this time next year?
    Thank you!
    Kiki

    • says

      Hi Kiki,

      Once you’ve let it sit and have strained it, you can keep it for about 2 years if you use apple cider vinegar and indefinitely if you use vodka.

      We’re just getting into fall/winter here – maybe I’ll come visit! 😉

  17. Holly says

    I just made a batch. I know I won’t get my kids to take it straight. Is it ok to mix with raw honey and/or lemon.

  18. DW says

    I drink this daily… I mix 1 tablespoon in a bottle of V8 or tomato juice… I love the taste and it keeps me healthy… Have run this by bio chemists and certified dietician and both say “that is just plain healthy” and I don’t get sick ever… it has been 15 years since a cold or flu has taken me out. I might get feeling blah for a day but that is it…

  19. barb says

    I have been searching for a tincture using vodka and hot peppers for medicinal use. Our family purchased a capiscan tincture from a massage therapist years ago and we moved away and never found another source. All I knew was that it was made with vodka and hot peppers much like you describe in the recipe. But you added other health filled ingredients and it is much better than I originally hoped. It doesn’t look difficult to make so will definitely try this. I will need to find some bottles and droppers to go with the remedy. Thank you for sharing.

    • says

      I’ve only ever heard of using ACV – and I’d suggest not buying the cheap stuff but something like Bragg’s that still has the ‘mother’ in it. :)

  20. Grasshopper says

    Awesome post! I plan to combine this with my Hot Echinacea tincture that includes Echinacea Augustifolia, Eleuthro, Cayenne Pepper, Elderberry, glycerin, and brandy. Thanks so MUCH!!!! Best of health to you and yours!

We'd love to hear from you! Please leave a courteous comment below (this doesn't mean you have to agree, just be kind in your response). Comments that use foul language, or are rude and obnoxious will be removed.