Category Archives: Herbal Medicine

Herbal Remedies: Colds and Flu

If you haven’t been blessed with the latest Flu to go around, yet this year…YAY for you!  Ironically, my Doctor had just asked me, “Would you like a flu shot?” and of course not agreeing with all the stuff they put in those shots I said, “No, thanks, I’m good.”

And a week later...BAM…I had the flu!


Feeling sick? You may have the Flu or a Cold!

First come all these lovely, wonderful symptoms: 


Crankiness (more so than normal)

Runny Nose

Sore Throat


Head and Body Aches



It’s a super great idea at the onset of symptoms to take a few days off (yes, you can do this) and rest your body.  Sleep…take it easy…eat lightly(did you know this enhances your immune activity?)…and more sleep.

This allows your body a chance to heal, this is a necessity…not a luxury.  Most of the healing of your virus-damaged cells occur between the hours of midnight and 3AM, so it’s important to be able to get a good nights rest.


Even Kat…I mean Cats get sick!

On a personal note: I…did…not…do…this!  I continued to work for a whole week, exhausting my body, allowing the virus to take strong hold and then….BAM!  I was down for the count.  Don’t be like me, notice you have symptoms…take a few days off and allow yourself to heal!

Did you know that your cold/flu symptoms are a sign that your immune system is hard at work, trying really hard to throw off the infection.  That’s why it’s a great idea to NOTsuppress symptoms.  Yes…I said do NOT!  When you have a fever, you should think twice before trying to lower it…even with herbs.  Know why?  Fevers are one of your body’s natural defenses.  You see, heat deactivates viruses even better than antibiotics.

While aspirin and acetaminophen work well to alleviate pain, they can impair the immune system from working, putting those who are already in poor health at risk for more serious sinus/lung infections and sometimes even worse…pneumonia.

Conventional cold medicines like the liquids and capsules and antihistamines aren’t much better.  Be careful and very selective on what you choose to take or not take.  Sometimes these remedies have little to offer the cold or flu sufferer other than suppressing their symptoms and prolonging their misery.


Be cautious and choosy when taking over the counter medications that may suppress your symptoms and prolong your illness.


The symptoms are your bodies way of purging…detoxing…ridding the system of the foreign invaders.  

Let’s Go Herbal!

Here’s a list of some of the most beneficial herbs for colds/flu:

The Strongest Flu Fighting Herbs:





Tea Tree

Rose Geranium


Lemon Balm


The Strongest Kitchen Spices for Colds/Flu are:


Black Pepper








Tend to Get Colds/Flu Frequently-Try these super immune boosting herbs:

Siberian Ginseng




(They are also great for the lungs!)

Coughs, Sneezing, Body Aches…


Siberian Ginseng-this herb taken regularly will help decrease the amount of colds/flu you get and help prevent bronchitis.

Shizandra-taking this herb helps your system to be more resistant to the flu virus.

Astragalus-helps to increase the body’s production of interferon, which protects cells from invasions of viruses.  It has also been used to prevent both viral and bacterial lung infections.

Echinacea-this wonderful immune building herb also stops cold and flu viruses from reproducing once they have gained access to a cell.  Echinacea stimulates cells in the immune system called macrophages, these cells quickly go to the site of the infection to literally “gobble” up the microbes causing the problem.

Licorice-this herb is a twin of Echinacea in that it works in much the same manner.

Elder Berries-have long been used as a folk remedy for flu.  And those folks really knew what they were doing!  More than one compound in the berries prevent the flu virus from invading healthy cells.  Elder berries may even inhibit more serious viruses such as herpes and Epstein-Barr.  They also lower fever, ease symptoms of sinus congestion, sore throat and headaches.

Osha-a well known southwestern herb, helps ease the pain and discomfort of lungs that are sore as a result of coughing or congestion.  It also relieves the indigestion that often accompanies colds/flu’s.

Natural “herbal” antibiotics can be taken directly into the body via an Essential Oil Steam

(especially good if you have infected lungs or sinuses)


Get those healing herbs…IN!

Essential Oil Steam

3 Cups Water

1/4 tsp. Eucalyptus OR Peppermint Essential Oil

~Bring water to a simmer and turn off the heat.  Add essential oil. Set pot where you can sit down next to it.  Place your face over the pot and drape a towel over the back of your heat to form a mini-sauna.  Breathe in the steam, coming out for fresh air as needed.  Do at least 3 rounds a few times a day.

~If you can’t find PURE essential oils, you may use dried herbs.


Don’t have time for a steam?  


Use your Homemade Nasal Inhaler

1/4 tsp. course salt

5 drops Eucalyptus essential oil, or EO of choice

~Place the salt in a small glass vial with a tight lid and add oil.  The salt will absorb the oil and provide a convenient way to carry the oil without danger of spilling it.  Open the vial and inhale deeply.

Last but most assuredly not least, you want to be consuming MASS quantities of liquids, to help flush everything OUT of your body.  Water, water and more water, diluted juices and teas.  Especially herbal teas.  Here is a great Cold/Flu tea recipe.


Drink some good for you Cold & Flu tea several times throughout the day.

Cold & Flu Tea

1/2 tsp. EACH

Echinacea Root, Peppermint Leaves, Hyssop Leaves, Yarrow Leaves, Elder Flowers, Shizandra Berries.

1 Qt. Boiling Water

~Combine herbs and pour boiling water over them. Steep for at least 20 minutes.  Strain and drink frequently throughout the day.  If you can’t find any or all of the herbs you can make instant tea from tinctures.  Or buy commercial tea with similiar ingredients.

Final Thoughts

Colds/Flu are absolutely no fun.  Just a few tips to remember; at first sign, stop and rest.  Take a few days, sleep, eat lightly drink a lot of fluids, rest your body.  Support your system with good for you herbs and remedies and only take over the counter chemical medications with caution and it’s okay to pick and choose.  Try not to suppress, allow your body to detox.

Once on your feet again, let’s build up that Immune System!!  That’s another post!

Do what Mom always said…Eat Your Soup!

6 Tips to Getting Going Again….. 

1. Drink water. A lot of water. Your body is getting over fighting a virus, infection, what have you, and water makes it that much easier to do so. It helps to detox your body, as well as replenish whatever was lost during being sick.

2. Eat. Sounds pretty basic, but can often be a chore when you’re not feeling your best. As long as you don’t have the flu, make sure you’re eating adequately to maintain the vitamins and minerals your body needs. This also keeps your energy up and assists in your recovery. That being said, make sure you’re eating healthy foods that your body can use, specifically foods packed with Vitamin C and Vitamins B. Immunity-boosting foods are a good idea. Comfort foods can be tempting, but make sure you’re supplementing vitamin-packed foods as well.  Stay away from dairy for awhile…to hard for the body to digest and mucous producing.

3. Get plenty of sleep. This is where your body recovers the most and can do battle with any lingering germs. Sleeping an adequate amount will greatly help your immune system, as well as help you recover faster. Adding in a nap isn’t a bad idea either, if that’s a possibility for you.

4. Assess yourself. It’s hard not to be active for a few days, never mind 2 weeks. You may need to take some more time to recover. Doing some self assessing can be beneficial; don’t start back in to anything prematurely, allowing yourself adequate time to rest and recuperate.

5. Start slow. When you’re ready to get back in to life again, whatever that means for you…take it slow.  Don’t expect your body to automatically bounce back into the groove it was in before you got sick.  It takes time.  Allow yourself to go slow, one thing at a time at back into your routine.  Allowing yourself breaks and rest.

6. Listen to your body. If you start feeling light-headed or nauseous, or anything remotely like “sick”, back off and take it easy.  This applies to anything.  You don’t want a setback and have to check out of life all over again.  Your body knows best so it’s a good idea to listen to it.

This article can also be viewed at Simply-Living-Simply.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!



Muscle Relaxants and PAIN!

When it comes to back pain, use of muscle relaxants is often recommended to alleviate the discomfort. This type of physical distress is often the result of muscle strains and spasms. Muscle spasm is a phenomenon in which there is sudden abnormal contraction of muscles. In this condition, the muscles tighten and do not relax temporarily causing moderate to excruciating pain. In such circumstances, taking these oral medications allow the muscles to relax, thereby providing back pain relief.


Muscle Relaxants

The main purpose of taking these tablets is to stop repeated involuntary contraction of muscles. As we all know, the brain through its complex network of nerves sends electrical signals to promote movement of muscles. In simple words, the electrical activity in the brain controls muscle action. The task of conducting this electrical activity is assigned to neurons, which are nerve cells that fire and receive signals from the brain to coordinate muscle movement. These neurons and the nerves that act as brain signal carriers are collectively known as the nervous system. The nerve has to forward the electrical signal to the desired muscle group, without which movement of muscles cannot be achieved. These drugs that reduce muscle spasms either completely block or partially restrict the nerves from reaching the muscles. This helps to reduce episodes of muscle spasm. Basically, these muscle relaxants try to suppress the nervous system in order to prevent occurrence of muscle spasms.



muscle relaxants Muscle Relaxants and PAIN!

Many different types of chemical medications



The medications that stop the nerve signals from making a contact with muscles are known as neuromuscular relaxants. These are usually administered before a surgery so that the person is not subjected to muscle spasms when the surgery is in progress. Muscle relaxants that are normally prescribed for back pain are spasmolytics that only inhibit the transmission of nerve signals to a certain extent.


Whether it is acute or chronic back pain, doctor often recommends the following drugs to relieve the discomfort. Keep in mind that these are prescription medications and so should not be taken without the consent of the doctor.


Metaxalone (Skelaxin)

Carisoprodol (Soma)

Diazepam (Valium)

Methocarbamol (Robaxin)

Cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril)


Although muscle relaxers over the counter such as tramaden and lioresal are available without a doctor’s prescription, it is advised to seek medical advice before using these medications. Usually these medications are taken before going to bed at night. These medicines do not provide immediately relief and it may take a while (20-25 minutes) before one experiences its relaxing effects. One will definitely experience improvement in pain, but don’t expect it to happen instantly after the drug is taken. Studies show that these drugs can contribute immensely to ease the muscle tension when taken as instructed by the doctor.


Side Effects

It is a known fact that any synthetically prepared medication is not free from side effects and the same holds true for muscle relaxants. These oral drugs that come in muscle relaxers list no doubt act as excellent pain relievers but have few side effects. However, this undesired effect is not worrisome and usually manifests in the form of drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, constipation, diarrhea and trembling. Reducing the dosage may help to manage these side effects effectively.



herbal pills Muscle Relaxants and PAIN!

Medication the herbal, natural way



Herbal Muscle Relaxants

Herbs too can contribute to combat back pain arising from muscle sprains and spasms. These pain relieving herbs act as natural nervous system depressants. Natural muscle relaxants have a long history of use in healing muscle injuries and strains. These herbs display sedative properties and help to calm the muscles. Like synthetically prepared medicines, the herbs also restrict the nerve signals from reaching the muscles, thus contributing to control muscle spasms. These herbal relaxants are extremely effective to improve pain and stiffness associated with back muscle spasms. Some of the popular herbal remedies for back pain are given below:






Kava root

St. John’s Wort


These herbs are available in the form of pills but many prefer to have herbal tea to mitigate back pain. Chamomile or vervain tea is a proven home remedy for reliving back pain. Some herbs like Kava Root are sold in powdered form and have to diluted with water before consuming orally. On the other hand, application of rosemary oil on the painful site is beneficial to reduce muscle tension.


Be it synthetically prepared or herbal muscle relaxants, one needs to talk to a doctor before ingesting these medications. Knowing pros and cons of these medicines, is extremely important, which is not possible without contacting a qualified health care professional.


What do you do when you need help?  Chemical, herbal, other?  Let me know…

This article was contributed by Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!

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A Short History of Herbs

The world of today is a world of progress, no one doubts about that. We have managed to do in 200 years of continuous industrial revolution, what we couldn’t do in thousands and thousands of our up and down history. And yet, with all these technological breakdowns and synthetic substances, artificial food, not to mention the reign of King “Plastic”, some people still find the power and the wisdom to ask themselves how people in the past remained healthy and fit without nutritional supplements, drugs, even antibiotics.

Their secret was that that they used what Mother Nature gave them: the plants to cure themselves. Fortunately, this knowledge hasn’t been forgotten; even if they’re not so widely used, plants have found their place in our civilization.

The story begins thousands of years ago, before the recorded history, when man didn’t know how to write or read, but knew how to follow their instincts. They discovered that certain herbs could alleviate their pains, others could make a wound disappear and others could even kill them. In the course of time, societies developed and with them appeared the means to transmit their knowledge other than orally.


rhubarb A Short History of Herbs


5000 years ago, in Ancient China, people used rhubarb (Rheune palmatum) as a purgative without knowing anything about the actual active substances they contained. Also, they used Ephedra to treat asthma, even though the substance called ephedrine was discovered much later, in 1887 AD. All oriental ancient civilizations had their insights into the fascinating world of botany, as plants were one of the few elements to which they could resort to heal themselves.

The famous king Hammurabi of Babylon (18th century BC) recommended mint to cure constipation and other digestive disorders. Mesopotamian doctors considered that the best time to take a herbal medicine was at night or early in the morning, a principle which is confirmed nowadays by modern studies.

The Indians had an entire system of rules, prescriptions, remedies and practices, calledAyurveda, many of which involved the use of plants. They also had strict rules about when, by whom and from where the plants should be collected.


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Caster Oil Plant Seeds

People in Ancient Egypt knew and used the castor-oil plant, wormwood, saffron and oregano to heal and disinfect wounds; they also put coriander in their tombs so that the spirit will remain healthy in his afterlife. There are written records of their use of garlic (especially for the workmen who built the pyramids), indigo, mint and opium. The Greek and Roman civilizations have made a major contribution to the medical science. Although much of their studies stemmed from other cultures (Mesopotamian, Egyptian), they added precious information and, in time, they became more and more concerned about the diseases and cures as natural and realistic processes, rather than spiritual or magical. Physicians like Hippocrates, Dioscoride and others have recorded their discoveries; their works would enlighten the pre-medieval civilizations for many centuries after their death. Dioscorides wrote De Materia Medica (1st century AD), which contained a list of hundreds of medicinal plants, along with their description and curative qualities.

The Dark Ages met with a lack of any further recorded herbal studies; the knowledge was probably transmitted from generation to generation – parents taught children, monks, even herbalist taught apprentices. However, there lived a great Persian physician by the name of Avicenna (Abu Ali al-Husayn ibn Abd Allah Ibn Sina) who wrote one of the most famous books in the history of medical science: The Canon, which also contained information about how plants should be used and their properties.

In 1527, the Swiss thinker Paracelsus demonstrates that only a small part of the plant has an effect upon the human body (1g per 20 kg of plant), which is what we now call active substance. Later on, scientists have developed methods to isolate these substances.


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Theatrum Botanicum by John Parkinson in 1640


However, the first complete categorization of all known medicinal plants was printed in a book called Theatrum Botanicum by John Parkinson in 1640 AD. In 1649 Nicholas Culpeper pulished A Physical Directory, which is considered one of the best herbal pharmacopoeia manuals still quoted today.


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A Physical Directory by Nicholas Culpeper


As chemistry as a science developed, physicians started to use more and more widely synthetic medicines, such as aspirin, which proved to have side effects. Yet all pharmacists and drug producers confirm the fact that, unlike artificially synthesized substances, medicines extracted from plants are more accessible to the metabolism and friendlier with the human body.

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This article was written by Kat Yorba at Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.  While you are there like them on Facebook!

A Natural Herbal Remedy Could Be Your Answer

Natural herbal remedies are drawing the attention of many traditional medical practitioners.  They are rapidly recognizing the ability of the hundreds of thousands of known herbs that have the ability to treat and prevent various human and animal illnesses, as well as properties that can enhance mental attitude, appearance, and performance.

herbal pills A Natural Herbal Remedy Could Be Your Answer

Herbal Capsules

Many centuries of experimentation by many cultures, for example Indian herbal medicine (Ayurvedic), Chinese herbal medicine, and western herbal medicine have created many uses for plants either singularly or in compounds, and sometimes animal by products to prevent and treat various conditions and illnesses.
A natural remedy can be anything from tea, to complex preparations of herbal compounds used in hospitals and clinics. These formulas come in many forms such as capsules, pills, ointments, and gels.

You may be using some of the common herbs as a food in your home such as:  

* Garlic–natural antibiotic and helps reduce cholesterol
* Cinnamon–lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides
* Ginger–prevents motion sickness and lowers risk of blood clots
* Chamomile Tea–calms nerves and help relieve digestive problems
* Peppermint–Treats many digestion and gastrointestinal problems
These common herbs may be mixed with other proven natural products to achieve a particular result.

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Herbal Mortar and Pestle

Traditional medicine is very useful for diagnosis, emergencies, trauma and surgery, but often does not cut it for preventing disease from occurring. The time and wait needed to visit a doctor to get a prescription, and the ever growing cost of medicine is allowing an opportunity for many people to try to get help from natural products.
Many traditional medicines are showing many adverse side effects. Natural, is not necessarily safe, and may have unwanted side effects just as with conventional medicines, however a large ever growing number of the population has been using herbals, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids for many years with very favorable results and no adverse effects.

herbal go to first aid kit A Natural Herbal Remedy Could Be Your Answer

Your fully stocked Herbal Medicine Kit

Natural herbal products are now available for use by adults, children, and pets to remedy countless conditions from Angina and Arthritis, to skin care remedies, thyroid treatment, urinary tract infection and an unlimited number of other disorders.
Many new products have been compounded to remedy conditions other then disease, such as smoking cessation, removing unwanted hair, eliminating wrinkles and many other conditions.

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One of the many natural herbal remedies could be your answer.

This article was written by Kat at Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!


Herbal Remedies: Hayfever

Hayfever, it’s more than just itchies and sneezies in the spring…it strikes in late summer too!!  I have hayfever really bad at the end of summer/beginning of fall due to RAGWEED!! And according to WebMD, I’m not alone. “Odds are you’re among the 10% to 30% of Americans who suffer from hay fever, or allergic rhinitis. And most cases of hay fever are caused by an allergy to fall pollen from plants belonging to the genus Ambrosia — more commonly known as ragweed.”

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Up front and center stage, Ragweed is the star of fall allergies!

All about Ragweed

There are 17 different species of ragweed in the United States and these plants are most common in the rural areas of the Eastern states and Midwest, but are found throughout the U.S.

Ragweed is the most common culprit in fall allergies. It starts spreading up to 1 billion pollen grains per plant in mid-August, and the grains are so light that they float easily even on gentle breezes. Pollen has been detected as far as 400 miles out to sea and up to two miles up in the atmosphere Another culprit is the mold that grows under piles of fallen leaves. If you do have allergies, at least it’s an excuse to avoid yard work!

“The reality is that there is not a corner of the country where there is no ragweed pollen,” says Christine B. Franzese, MD.  If that sounds bad, things may soon get even worse. Studies show that rising temps and carbon dioxide may extend the season even further….in most parts of the country, the season used to start in mid-August and run through September; now it seems to begin from the first of August through mid-October.


Hay Fever Triggers:

Hay fever doesn’t mean you’re allergic to hay. Despite its name, hay fever is almost never triggered by hay, and it doesn’t cause a fever. Hay fever apparently got it’s name because so many people are allergic to pollen from hay and grasses.

Seasonal triggers include:

  • Tree pollen, common in the spring
  • Grass pollen, common in the late spring and summer
  • Ragweed pollen, common in the fall
  • Spores from fungi and molds, which can be worse during warm-weather months

Year-round triggers include:

  • Dust mites or cockroaches
  • Dander (dried skin flakes and saliva) from pets, such as cats, dogs or birds
  • Spores from indoor and outdoor fungi and molds


Allergic Reaction:

Allergic reactions occur when our immune systems mistakes an innocent substance such as pollen for a threat and attacks it.  When an attack occurs, several substances, including histamines, are released; these substances produce inflammation and make your sinuses run and your eyes tear.

More symptoms of Ragweed allergy include sneezing; runny or stuffy nose; itchy throat or inside of ears; hives; and swollen eyelids and itchy eyes. This is often called hay fever orseasonal allergic rhinitis. Some people also develop asthma symptoms,such as coughing, wheezing, and trouble breathing.


hay fever Herbal Remedies: Hayfever


Herbal Help for Hayfever:

Natural antihistamines such as Chamomile, Peppermint, Ginger, Anise and Feverfew are excellent to include in your Anti-Allergy Program.  Let’s look at some teas, tinctures and pills that will be of big help to us during this time.

1.  To relieve congestion and sneezing:  Elder Flowers and Yarrow are great herbs to relieve these symptoms.  Echinacea and Chamomile help to decrease the congestion and slow allergic reactions.  My homemade Nasal Inhaler and Sinus Congestion Tea will work wonders and help with these symptoms!

Nasal Inhaler

1/4 tsp. Coarse Salt

5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil


Place salt in a small vial (try and use glass) with a tight lid and add oil. The salt will absorb the oil.  When needed, open the vial and inhale deeply.


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Sinus Congestion Tea


Sinus Congestion Tea

1 tsp. Each: Yarrow flowers, Elder flowers, Peppermint leaves, Elecampane root

1 Qt. Boiling Water


Pour boiling water over herbs and steep for at least 20 minutes in a covered container.  Strain out herbs.  Drink tea a few times a day or every half hour when severely congested.  Can be taken as a tincture or pill form.


That’s a look at getting rid of your symptoms…how about prevention??

Let’s look at 3 chinese herbs that can be used to improve the immune system which in turn helps prevent allergy symptoms.


1.  Siberian Ginseng – This herb is a good choice as an immune herb as it also clears bronchial passages, reduces inflammation and counters fatigue.

2.  Don Quai – Chinese herbalist have for a very long time used this herb to treat allergies, especially those related to the lungs.  This multi-purpose drug reduces the number of antibodies manufactured by your immune system and fewer antibodies mean less reaction to allergic substances like pollen.

3.  Chinese Skullcap – This herb cuts down on the swelling and puffiness caused by allergies.  It also helps improve liver functions.


A combination of herbs and vitamins are usually a one-two punch.  Rose hips, which are high in vitamin C could help detoxify irritating allergens and pantothenic acid (100-200 milligrams daily) will help support our adrenal glands.


Hay Fever Preventive Tincture

1/2 tsp. EACH tinctures of: Siberian Ginseng root, Nettle leaves, Elder flowers, Peppermint leaves, Chinese Skullcap


Combine all herbal tinctures together.  Take 1/2 a dropper-full at least 5X a day. It is better to start when you experience the earliest signs of hay fever.

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Hay Fever Preventative Tincture

To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.

– William Blake

This article was written by Kat from Simply-Living-Simply and can be viewed here.  Like them on Facebook while you are there!