What are Tonics? How do I use them?

What are Tonics? How do I use them?

As an herbalist, I am constantly telling folks that using herbs as tonics (regularly, while well) will help keep them well, instead of only using them as remedies (when they have a crisis, like a migraine, an infection, etc.) This is not how we were taught to see "medicine" in a modern western culture, so some people are baffled when I talk about daily or regular use of herbs and extracts.

I use herbs daily, whether or not I am experiencing pain, discomfort, or illness. For example, I put Thyme in almost everything I cook- not only because I like the flavor, but because it kills more viruses and bacteria than bleach. (I have a school aged child and work with sick people, so I do what I can!) I also live with anxiety that I manage with stress reduction techniques, therapy, and herbs. I meditate, do breathing exercises, and drink Tulsi and Rose almost daily. I also take some Reishi and Eleuthero now and again (usually as tinctures).

Tonics, quite simply put, strengthen and optimize the body and its systems to stay well. Why wait for a system collapse or breakdown before using plant allies? Your tonic consumption can be as simple as taking a tisane regularly, or incorporating certain plants into your food. I created Winter Wellness Soup Blend to add to soups, chilis, and stews in the cold months to give the immune and endocrine systems a little love. This is not a new or innovative idea- the Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Japanese people have been doing this for generations. 

I also do Berry Blast Elixir (and my kid, too) or Fire Cider as a cold weather seasonal tonic many times a week October-March. As the weather changes, we need an extra boost to deal with climate stressors on the body.

There are many kinds of tonics: immune, respiratory, adrenal, whole body, emotional or custom blend that an herbalist makes just for you. To find the right tonic for you, it requires some experimentation- as each person's biochemistry, constitution, and imbalances are a tad different and we respond to herbs, pharmaceuticals, and even foods differently. But we at Haven make a family of tonics that are a boon to many.

A glossary of sorts- we make the following kinds of tonics at Haven:
tinctures (herbs extracted in alcohol and water),
tisanes (herbal teas),
oxymels (Apple cider vinegar extraction, combined and sweetened with honey), aromatherapy (diluted essential oil roll ons, to be exact)
elixirs (combination tincture and water extraction, combined with honey)

Adapt: This tincture is an triple adaptogen formula that fortifies not only the adrenals, but the immune system and stabilizes blood sugar. People spewing cortisol all the time (stressed out and anxious folks) could benefit from this restorative tonic now and again. Buy it here.

Awesomesauce: Everyone needs to feel Awesomesauce, right? This is a milder adaptogen formula that also is nutritive (meaning lotsa nutrition in here). Adding wild plant nutrition to your diet adds more minerals and almost everyone is deficient in minerals these days.  Buy it here.

Breathe Easy: Our tonic for people with chronic lung issues. Here's a testimonial from a regular user: "I cannot live without this! I used to take pills and use an inhaler multiple times a week for my asthma, and now I am off the pills and keep an inhaler 'just in case'. I haven't used it in months. Please never stop making this!"-A.H. Columbus, OH  Buy it here.

Change of Heart: Our tonic for folks who need cardiovascular support. People who have a family history or have cardiovascular issues themselves can benefit- this tincture has herbs that strengthen the vessels, the heart, and make regular its functioning (including heart rate and blood pressure).  Buy it here.

Comfort and Joy: We like to call this a "hug in a cup", because this emotional support tisane really does feel comforting like that. Traumatized, stressed out, anxious, or grieving folks will find this herbal tea a boon. For people with chronic disorders (like my anxiety), this tea is safe to use multiple times a day if you wish.  Buy it here.

Digestive Bitters: The one tonic everyone can benefit from and should be taking on the regular! Stimulate your bitter receptors for optimum digestion, immune functioning, brain functioning, and more! Americans do not consume enough bitter- so this replaces food we do not eat. This tincture is kept in my dining room sowe remember it 15 minutes before meals.  Buy it here.

Equilibrium: A female hormone tonic that works to balance, so it is beneficial for all kinds of imbalance, for example, PCOS, Menopause, PMS, uterine cysts. People with temporary discomfort with menses can benefit from a remedy like Moontime Tisane, but those that have an ongoing issue (even if temporary, like menopause) should use Equilibrium.  Buy it here.

Fire Cider: a seasonal tonic for cold weather! This is a popular item in fall and winter, because its ingredients are there for immune enhancement, pathogen destruction, circulation enhancement, and joint health- all things we need while treading on and living in ice and snow.  (P.S. We gladly call for a boycott of Shire City, who tried to trademark a recipe and name of an herbalist formula not their own and call our product Fire Cider.)  Buy it here.

Frazzled: is our nervous system tonic, designed for people with disorders of the nervous system. It benefits all parts of the system- central and peripheral, from the smaller axon parts to the brain itself. We have seen folks with serious nervous system disorders maintain functionality while eliminating some of their pain on this formula. "This is my jam for my Parkinson's."-A.T, Columbus, Ohio  Buy it here.

Life is Sweet: is a tonic for those struggling to balance blood sugar. It is also pancreatic support, when the pancreas is failing to keep up with demand. "Kept me insulin free and diet controlled!" - O.K., Columbus, OH Buy it here.

Liquid Health: Optimum nutrition in liquid form (the most absorbable kind). Testimonal: "I started taking Liquid Health when I was breastfeeding, thinking I needed more nutrition. My milk supply doubled without any other changes, and I was astounded!"-BJ, Columbus, OH If the body has enough nutrition to feed two people while taking this, we know we are onto something!  Buy it here.

Smooth Sailing: An emotional stabilizer and regulator. Good for both depressed and anxious persons and those that cycle in between the two. Helpful to finding a "golden mean" for mood and emotions. Formerly called Stressless, this tincture is a St. John's Wort-free formula (meaning people on anti-depressants can take this) has many fans, and is one of our best sellers.  Buy it here.


Winter Wellness Soup Blend: Stick a bag (each package comes with two bags) in your next soup, chili, bone broth, or stew pot and reap the benefits of these immune and endocrine supporting herbs! Stay well by combining the power of home cooking and nutrition with tonic herbalism.  Buy it here.

Women's Balance: an aromatherapy roll on for times of hormonal imbalance. Helpful especially in long-term situations like menopause or PCOS. If you love floral scents, this is a pleasant way to work on hormonal balance.  Buy it here.


Not sure what you mean, Norma- we DO indeed sell smoke blends to individuals here: https://havenherbs.com/products/herbal-smoking-blends?pos=1&psq=smo&ss=e&v=1.0&variant=36104646983841

Thanks for the well wishes!

Lily Kunning

Why do you not sell your smoking herbs to individual buyers?
I am quitting tobacco and am looking for helpful and gentle herbs to put in a pipe.
Anyone whose herbal “tobacco” you might recommend?
PS — Hope the move goes smoothly and congratulations! Also, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Norma Ryan

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