By Valerie Lull
A tonic is a beverage that stimulates, strengthens and energizes the body. Many people drink tonics daily to stay healthy and vigorous. I take lemon water as a daily tonic. I find it stimulates and refreshes my body, not to mention the healthful properties of the drink.Tonics have been used from ancient times going back to the Babylonians and the Chinese. Early American settlers made apple-cider vinegar from crab apples.
There are many variations of healthful tonics. They range all the way from alcohol based gin or vodka tonics to herbal tonics, like sassafras or dandelion. Tonics can be applied topically, like a hair tonic, or internally in the form of an infusion or beverage. I suppose technically you could call soda pop a tonic if it stimulates or energizes you. We don't recommend soda pop as a healthful tonic. Instead we use herbal tonics.
There seems to be a tonic recipe for everything. Some tonics are for the sinuses, the liver or to impart energy. The British made a tonic from quinine, gin, water, sugar and lime. These items were added to quinine, used as a prophylactic, so it would be palatable. Malaria was rampant in some of the British colonies. This was the origin of the drink gin and tonic.
Tonics can be purchased over the counter in health food stores or you can make a tonic yourself. One popular tonic involves the use of apple-cider vinegar and lemon juice diluted with water. Most people prefer warm water. There are many variations of this. You can add raw honey to the vinegar and lemon. Some people use the apple-cider vinegar with just water and leave out the lemon. I use just plain lemon juice with a little club soda added to give it a zing. Many herbal teas can be used as a tonic like ginger and lemon. Using spring water or purified water is a must for a good tonic.
Like all other alternative remedies you need to consult your health care practitioner before starting the use of a tonic. Some herbs do not mix with prescription medications.