Thursday, June 20, 2024



As the seasons change, our immune systems must overcome a new set of variables to keep us healthy. Doctors can only do so much, and I firmly believe it is up to me to do the best I can to stay as healthy as I can.

The best way I know to stay healthy is to maintain and strengthen my immune system. And the best way I know to do that is to use kitchen herbs and spices in my cooking. They are easy to come by; they are usually reasonably priced; they have few side effects, and best of all, they make my foods tastier.

When the seasons change, and my throat starts to get scratchy, I head for the spice cabinet to make a gargle. Grandpa Truman uses a salt gargle. Regular table salt works well, and I like to use the pink salt when it is available (it can come from Utah or the Himalayan Mountains-not the curing salt pink coloring has been added to).

Any herb and/or spice can be steeped in water to make tea and gargled. The following are essentials in my spice cabinet, and I’ve included some ways to use them.

Clove: Anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. Mix a pinch of ground cloves in with jelly before making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or make a tea to gargle (not to drink) before bed.

Cinnamon: good for blood sugar regulation. For a change of pace, sprinkle a bit over the top of the coffee grounds before brewing, carefully not mixing in because the fine particles of the powdered cinnamon will clog the filter; just sprinkle on top.

Celery Seed: Helps with flatulence and is anti-rheumatic (helps fight rheumatism). Sprinkle on roasts; add to soups and stews.

Garlic: Anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic.  Purchase local, or at the very least, American garlic. American garlic can have some roots still attached. Chinese garlic travels so far it loses its potency. Helps fight Candida albicans and strengthens the immune system.

Mustard Seed: Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Add a pinch of powdered mustard to scrambled eggs, potato salads, and mac and cheese. Use when making sausage.

Oregano: Anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Helps fight E.coli and Salmonella. (If your tummy is sensitive to Oregano, try Marjoram.)

Rosemary: Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Promotes healthy liver function. Add to chicken dishes and wild meat dishes, and works well with mushrooms.

Sage: Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Use to make sausage.

Thyme: Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Thymol is the main ingredient in many commercial mouthwashes, and thyme can be used to make homemade mouthwash.

Homemade Mouthwash and/or Gargle

1 Tablespoon of herb or spice            1 or 2 pints of water, depending on personal taste

Pick the spice and/or herb to be used, then heat the water to boiling. Pour over the herb and/or spice and let steep for half an hour or so to cool. Carefully drain out the solids. I let the solids fall to the bottom of the jar, then pour clear liquid out leaving the solids behind. Gargle with the tea.

 Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme mixed together in equal parts ahead of time into an ‘Italian Blend’ make a very good gargle. Clove alone is a good gargle. Even a good pre-packaged tea can work to give relief to a scratchy throat and help build up the immune system.

Tip: Over time, herb and spices lose their potency. The aromatic odor in them is a good indicator of current potency. If I can’t smell them, they probably aren’t doing my immune system any good, so I get rid of them and start fresh.

Extra: When I grow, or I’m gifted extra herbs like basil or rosemary, more than I need to freeze or dry, I stick a few sprigs in vases and set them around the house to improve air quality.

In 2000, Michele Priddy left the workforce to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition she could offer them, even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on stretching the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter, and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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