Tag Archives: Achillea millefolium

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: 

Tiredness

Crankiness (more so than normal)

Runny Nose

Sore Throat

Cough

Head and Body Aches

Fever

Nausea

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.

Remember:

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:

Eucalyptus

Sage

Licorice

Lavender

Tea Tree

Rose Geranium

Bergamot

Lemon Balm

Hyssop

The Strongest Kitchen Spices for Colds/Flu are:

Cinnamon

Black Pepper

Lemon

Thyme

Marjoram

Rosemary

Basil

Garlic

Peppermint

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

Siberian Ginseng

Echinacea

Shizandra

Astragalus

(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!

 

 

Herbal Medicine Kit – Bleeding

“Roots and herbs she gathers,

Morning, night and noon,

By the raising dog-star,

Underneath the moon.”

~ Eleanor C. Koenig

 
 

Welcome Back…

…to another posting of the Herbal Medicine Kit. Today we continue on with our series with looking at “Bleeding.” We will discuss the herb Agrimony and Yarrow. Make an Herbal Compress to stop Bleeding and a Tincture of Yarrow.

Let’s get to it…

 BLEEDING

Some people can handle the sight of blood, some can’t. I am one of those who can’t. But I find that being prepared…knowing ahead of time what to do and having my supplies on hand enables me to feel better about the whole issue.

Let’s better understand what bleeding does. Bleeding has it’s advantages. It’s the bodies way of cleaning dire and foreign particles from a wound, and when exposed to air it forms a fibrous substance called fibrin. This fiber creates a netting that entangles other blood cells so that they clot into a scab…your bodies natural band-aid!

So, your in a serious situation and bleeding needs to be stopped right away. Certain herbs can be applied directly to the wounded area. If this does not stop the bleeding, apply an herbal compress with pressure. While administering herbal remedies, you should also try to slow the flow of blood by raising the injured area higher than the heart.

Agrimony, plantain and yarrow are versatile herbs that can arrest bleeding and encourage scabbing.

Keep in mind that treatments made with these herbs in the form of powders or poutices are an emergency tactic only. Although herbs quickly arrest bleeding, they are not antiseptic enough so proper cleaning and disinfecting will also need to be done. Use your discretion but seek medical attentionwhen necessary!

Herbal Compress to Stop Bleeding:

Click HERE to print recipe!

Agrimony

Agrimony

Defined

Agrimonia gryposepala: species native to North America commonly known as tall hairy agrimony was used by the Among the Iroquois people, Cherokee, The Ojibwe and other indegious peoples for much the same purposes of the common agrimony Agrimonia eupatoria which was naturalized from europe. Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium Cannabinum (Linn.)and the Water Agrimony Eupatorium Aquaticum mas, have somewhat similar properties but are not botanically related.

Therapeutic Uses

Agrimony’s astringency is effective against diarrhea, especially in small children, and because of its low toxicity, the herb is particularly suitable for children’s illnesses. Agrimony stops irritation of the urinary tract that may increase a child’s urge to urinate and, therefore, may be useful in the treatment of bladder leakage (cannot hold urine), bed-wetting and adult incontinence.

Agrimony is perhaps best known as a wound herb used on medieval battlefields to staunch bleeding.This same property helps to staunch heavy menstrual bleeding as well. Agrimony is most used in modern herbal practice as a mild astringent and a tonic, the tannins it contains tone the mucus membranes making it is useful for alleviating the symptoms of coughs and sore throats. The combination of being a bitter tonic as well as an astringent herb make agrimony a valuable tonic for the digestive system and a useful remedy for healing peptic ulcers. The bitter principles in the plant support the function of the liver and gallbladder. The herbal tea can be used as a skin wash; it is thought to improve minor injuries and chronic skin conditions.

Recipe:

Skin Wash/Tea/Infused Liquid for Creams or Gargle :

Standard brew using 1 teaspoon of dried herb to each cup hot water. The longer you let it steep, the more tannins are extracted. Make a stronger decoction for external use in baths and skin washes Drink 2 to 3 cups per day. Used in ointment form for skin rashes, and as a gargle for sore throat.

Yarrow

Yarrow

Description:

Yarrow was once known as “nosebleed”, it’s feathery leaves making an ideal astringent swab to encourage clotting. Yarrow skin washes and leaf poultices can staunch bleeding and help to disinfect cuts and scrapes; taken as a tea it can help slow heavy menstrual bleeding as well. Yarrow is a good herb to have on hand to treat winter colds and flu; a hot cup of yarrow tea makes you sweat and helps the body expel toxins while reducing fever. The chemical makeup of yarrow is complex, and it contains many active medicinal compounds in addition to the tannins and volatile oil azulene. These compounds are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and help relax blood vessels. Yarrow should be on everyone’s list of remedies since the herb makes itself useful for everything from brewing beer to a hair rinse to preventing baldness. In China, yarrow is used fresh as a poultice for healing wounds. A decoction of the whole plant is prescribed for stomach ulcers, amenorrhoea, and abscesses.

Side Effects:

Avoid in pregnancy, can cause allergic skin reactions in sensitive people who suffer from allergies related to the Asteraceae family. Moderation is the key to safe use, the thujone content can be toxic over an extended period of time

Recipe:

Yarrow Spritzer

For a tonic that soothes the nerves and uplifts at the same time, this is a good combination for an aroma lamp or mister. Also use as a facial steam for the benefits of yarrow that is skin healing and for spruce that helps the respiratory system.

Variations: Use lime instead of orange.

3 drops-Orange

4 drops-Spruce

2 drops -Ylang-Ylang

6 drops -Yarrow

How to Use:

Lamps/Diffusers:

15 to 20 drops of a blend can be used at a time in most standard sized aroma lamps.

Mist Spray:

As a general rule use 15-30 drops per cup (8 oz.) of liquid for mist sprays, depending on your preference and the strength of the essential oils.

Yarrow Tincture

Click HERE to print!

Recap: That concludes our look at “Bleeding”. Today we learned a little more about the herbs; Agrimony & Yarrow. We made a Herbal Compress to stop Bleeding and also Yarrow Tincture.

Looking ahead: Next post we will be learning all about “Bruises”. We will first talk about Arnica, Witch Hazel and Chamomile. Then move on to several recipes; Bruise Compress, Tincture of Arnica & a Herbal Ice.

Reminder: Have on hand St. John’s wort flower tops, Witch Hazel Bark, Chamomile Flowers, Lavender Flowers, Lavender Essential Oil, Distilled Water, Washcloth for Compress.

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Blessings to you and yours,

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