‘Tis the season for the dreaded cold and flu. If you find yourself hit by a nasty cold, or the flu, here are some herbal treatments for cold or flu relief that can help you feel better.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) has great immune boosting properties, and is very well know for it’s healing properties. Native Americans introduced us to this healing herb, as they used it to treat many illnesses. Echinacea has been used for hundreds of years.
Studies have shown that it contains natural chemicals that stimulate the immune system’s response to both viral and bacterial infections. In order to get Echinacea to work well, you must take it often for a few days, and then cut back as the cold gets better.
Astragalus root can also be used to boost the immune system. It is antiviral and stimulates the immune system to heal. During high fevers, Astragalus is not suggested, as it could prolong the fever.
Some other antiviral herbs that can be used are Hyssop, Thyme, and Ginger. Blends are usually recommended for best results of cold or flu relief.
How To Make A Thyme Cough Syrup
You will need:
2 cups water
2 Tbs dried thyme (if you use fresh, you will need 4 Tbs). Dried herbs are more concentrated.
1/2 cup honey or vegetable glycerin. You can also use agave syrup. Honey should not be used on children under 1 year.
Bring the thyme and water to a medium-high simmer. Do not boil as this will ruin the herb. Turn off heat. Let sit for 15-20 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Add the honey and stir well.
Dosage: Adults- 1-2 Tbs every 3 hours. Children can take 1 -2 teaspoons depending on weight.
Catnip Cools Fevers
Fevers are common with a cold or the flu. Fevers usually hit their highest temp later in the afternoon. While most people think of fevers as a bad thing, in actuality, fevers are our bodies way of purging out the illness. Fevers are a good thing, unless they go too high. Fevers over 101 degrees should be seen by a doctor. For lower fevers, let the body do it’s job.
Catnip can reduce the fever, by making the body sweat it out. Catnip is calming for humans. Boneset can also be used as fever reducer, as well as for serious pain. An herbal sprtiz can be used to lower the fever as well. Yarrow can also be used to help treat a fever.
Herbs To Clear Sinuses
One of the best way to clear the sinuses is with steam inhalation therapy. Using hot water, lean over a pan of water with a towel over their head to get the most of the steam. Add eucalyptus, peppermint and tea tree. Mix 1 drop of each into the pan. Be sure to closes eyes. You can add chamomile to help reduce inflammation in the nostrils.
Herbs To Soothe A Cough
To soothe a cough, a mild infusion of mullein leaf is helpful. Elecampane helps with bronchitis, and can be added to the mullein leaf. A combination of horehound and ginger marshmallow root, and slippery elm can also be helpful. Marshmallow root and slippery elm are great to soothe the mouth and throat. Marshmallow root helps reduce coughing. These herbs can be made into a cough syrup to be taken every 3 to 4 hours.
Clearing Up Those Ear Infections
Reducing the pain of the ear infection is the most important step to take. To help reduce the pain, apply a few drops of warm garlic and mullein oil onto a cotton ball, and fit into the ear. You can use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel to add heat to the area. Do not use this regimen if there is any ear drainage. Adding Oregon grape root to the herbal regimen for several days can help fight the infection. Be sure not to take an herbal remedy if a prescription antibiotic is taken.
A Word To The Wise
Smaller doses would be used for children. Children under 6 months should not use herbal remedies. If you take medications, contact your doctor before using any herbs. See the doctor for a high fever (over 101 F), severe pain or severe vomiting. Echinacea should not be used by persons that have an autoimmune disease. Be sure to check with a qualified health practitioner before starting any herbs and for dosing. If the cold does not get better in 1 week, see a doctor.
This is just an overview of each herb. Never self diagnose, or use herbs improperly.