Good Health, Courtesy of Mother Earth
There is no secret pill or prescription for vitality and well being. But there are a few tried and true ingredients. Getting enough rest (8 hrs each night!) and extra during the colder months. Getting enough movement especially if it can be out in the sunshine. Spending quality time with people you love and who nurture your soul. And making sure your diet is supporting and replenishing your reserves, not depleting them. Making teas from freshly picked herbs is a simple and inexpensive way to support our health. Most traditional herbs found in a garden have antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. These compounds are what protect the plant from invaders and thus, in turn can protect you!
Powerful and commonly found herbs include Oregano, Thyme (which is especially good for sore throats), and Sage, which helps with excess damp in the body. Rosemary and Mint, two of my favorites, are wonderful for clearing stuffy sinuses and brain fog. Experiment with these plant friends - pick a handful (and remember to thank the plant for its help!) and simmer in water for 10 - 20 minutes. The longer you simmer, the stronger the taste will be. Some herbs can be bitter, like oregano and sage, and thus the longer you simmer, the more bitter your tea will become. In Chinese and Auryevedic Medicine, bitter herbs have a cleansing action to remove inflammation and toxins from the body. They also dry dampness, and this refers mainly to reduction of mucous membrane secretions. If you can handle the bitterness, these herbs can be very beneficial for colds and flus. You can always add a bit of honey and lemon to soften and round out the taste.
Two herbs that are wonderful for sore throats are Slippery Elm and Marshmallow Root. They are mucilaginous, meaning they soften and moisten, and produce a thick substance that coats inflamed tissue. The extracts of mucilaginous herbs also induce phagocytosis, which is a process in which certain cells engulf bacteria, dead cell tissue or other solid particles. This helps speed up the healing process.
Another powerhouse plant for cold and flu season is Osha. I cannot say enough good things about Osha. It is strong medicine, also known as Bear medicine, for supposedly the story goes that bears will eat it after coming out of hibernation to kill any fungus and bacteria that might of taken up residence in their bodies. Osha is used for sore throat, bronchitis, cough, common cold, influenza, swine flu, and pneumonia. It is also used to treat other viral infections including herpes and AIDS/HIV. Osha is BITTER. Milagro Herbs, a local herbal apothecary in Santa Fe, sells Osha syrup which is a yummier way to take this medicine, but for those willing to try, chewing on straight Osha root (just a tiny piece!) helps immediately with sore throats and gives your immune system a strong boost.
There are so many wonderful herbs to experiment with - Wild Cherry Bark to help with colds, whooping cough, bronchitis and other lung problems; diarrhea digestive disorders, Lemon Balm and Passionflower for an overtaxed, depleted nervous system, Willow Bark for fever and inflammation...this list could get very long. I am a regular at Milagro Herbs, and encourage anyone and everyone to go learn from the wonderful staff there!
*This blog post is intended to inform readers about herbs that can help with overall wellness. I am not a doctor and I don’t wish to play one on the internet. All information in this post is provided for your information only and should not be construed as medical advice. If you are seriously ill, please see your preferred physician!