Treat your Flu and Cold with Healing Herbs
The summer is now waning and many people are dreading the fall and winter because of the usual flu and colds that accompany the turning leaves and drifting snow. Luckily these illnesses can be controlled and even avoided using herbs.
* Garlic: Is very effective in improving the function of the immune system and should be taken proactively to avoid catching the flu or colds.
* Yarrow: This lovely yellow flower is great to treat the fever associated with the flu and can be used in conjunction with Elder to fight this debilitating symptom.
* Elder: Most people have heard of elderberries in wine and never realized that the compound that gives these berries their deep color also can shorten the duration of the flu. The flowers are also useful to treat sinus congestion and fever. There are several sinus congestion teas on the market that have dried elder flowers as the main component.
* Marshmallow: This plant root has been used for centuries to treat sore throat and coughs due to many different viruses. It is very effective in relieving the irritated throat passages and ease lung congestion due to mucus buildup.
* Thyme: although most people use this herb with great effect in culinary creations it also is an extremely powerful antimicrobial which can treat respiratory infections successfully. Do not ingest the essential oil of this plant but instead infuse either dried or fresh leaves in boiling water and drink like a tea.
* Sage: This herb is actually an ingredient in many commercial preparations designed to sooth sore throats. Similar to thyme, sage has antimicrobial properties and can be used to gargle with help relieve sore throat symptoms.
These are the most commonly used effective herbs for the various symptoms relating to the flu and common cold but care must be taken just as one would with synthetic drugs. Dosage and preparation should be carefully adhered to and you should always follow the producers’ instructions or carefully study the best amount. People on blood thinners or heading towards surgery should avoid taking garlic and yarrow supplements. Elder berries need to always be cooked and elder flower must not be used for long periods of time. Avoid yarrow if you have allergies to Echinacea and stop taking it if sensitivity to sunlight develops. If you are on other medications marshmallow may reduce their effectiveness and do not take this supplement if you are diabetic. If you are pregnant or breast feeding any herbal supplementation should only be done with the supervision of a professional.
Although herbs have been used for centuries to treat ailments and promote good health, it is absolutely essential that you never ingest or otherwise use a plant unless you are 100 percent sure what it is, and that it is safe to use.
Yarrow, which grows wild in Berks County, traditionally has been used to staunch bleeding, to treat bowel ailments and as an anti-inflammatory. Pennsylvania Germans used yarrow as a “sweating tonic” to reduce fever.
Sweet violet, a very common plant that grows wild and blooms in early spring, is reputed to soothe sore throats and lessen coughs, promote sound sleep and treat fibrous cysts, lumps, infections and growths in the breast and female reproductive systems. Violet leaves are high in vitamins A and C.
Dandelion leaves, with which many people wage battle every spring, has been used as a diuretic, to improve circulation in lower legs and feet, to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and stimulate metabolism.
Dandelion root is said to be excellent for the liver, as well as to decrease acne and eczema, and regulate hormone balance.
Plantain grows readily in yards not treated with chemicals; you may find some in yours if you look. This broad-leafed plant can treat mosquito or bee stings, increase healthy cell growth or sooth muscle tears. Plantain is used in Europe to for upper respiratory problems.
Catnip is not only beneficial to cats, but can be used to treat nervous tension; gastric reflux and ulcers; colds, flu and intestinal viruses in children; and fever. It also can be used as a mosquito repellent.
The common elder plant may be found growing in gullies along roads. Tiny, white, fragrant flowers give way to berries, both of which traditionally have been used as a cold/flu remedy and to treat measles and chicken pox. Flowers can be used in facial preparations and are said to remove age spots and freckles.
Cabbage, cayenne, ginger, turmeric (curcuma), yarrow, potato
- Cut out the midribs from several large green cabbage leaves and iron them with a steam iron until they are soft as velvet. Rub a little olive oil on one side and put them on the area of pain, covering them with a heavy towel. Leave for a while before changing again. GUARANTEED relief, every single time.
- Cayenne capsules are very effective as pain relievers. Take two capsules 3-4 times a day with milk or apple juice, on a consistent basis. Pain may increase early on for a short time, but will diminish soon enough.
- Hot ginger compresses relief pains of many sorts, including arthritis: 1.5 grated unpeeled ginger roots need to be tied in a small cloth, then hung for 7 minutes into a gallon of hot water that just stopped boiling. The ginger juice colors the water golden. Towels dipped in the still very hot water, then gently squeezed and applied to the aching spot, should stay warm for 15-20 minutes and grant relief. The procedure might be repeated for a total treatment of about 45 minutes, and repeated after 4-6 hours.
- Turmeric, one of the main ingredients of curry, has anti-inflammatory properties. Half a tsp in juice taken both morning and night can relief arthritic pains too.
- A tea from yarrow, in combination with CamoCare Pain Relieving creme, reduces all manners of inflammation nicely: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 3 tbsp of yarrow. Cover and let simmer for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep for 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup several times a day when cool, and use the cream to rub the external points of inflammation at the same time.
- The following potato plaster reduces inflammations caused by contusions, sprains, burns, fractures, hemorrhoids, abscesses, arthritis, neuralgia and eczema: Peel and grate ordinary potatoes, mix half of them with an equal amount of green vegetable leaves (either spinach, radish or cabbage). The vegetable leaves should be coarsely pureed in t a food blender before mixing with the potatoes. To this wet mass add 10% white flower, then mix everything thoroughly by hand in a big bowl. Add just enough ice water (never warm water) to give the paste a wet, somewhat even and thick consistency. Apply plaster directly on the skin. For sensitive skin, rub the affected area with olive oil before applying the plaster. Put a clean cloth over the plaster and secure with a linen bandage. When the plaster dries out, apply warm water on the dry mass until it becomes moist again. Let the plaster sit in place for about 3.5 hours, while reclining. Remove plaster and rinse skin with warm water.