Herbs for a Cold

HerbsforColds

“Arrrrgh!” She cried as the kettle began to whistle.

“What’s wrong?” Her husband asked.

She poured boiling water over her cup of herbs and covered it before she answered.

“My throat is getting all scratchy, and I can feel the pressure building in my sinuses–I’m coming down with a cold. I’m really mad about it.”

Her husband hugged her, then skedaddled out of the kitchen lickety-split.

He knows full well not to stick around for the first day of illness. That’s when it’s still super contagious, but more importantly it’s when I’m most explosive. I really hate getting sick. Those deep, hacking coughs mean a guaranteed trip to the massage therapist once it’s over to put my back right again and the pile of housework, writing, editing, and bookkeeping that builds while I’m not working means a week of working extra just to catch up. Talk about adding a barrel of stress to my already busy life.

Still, like the rest of my species, I get sick every now and then. Today, I’m brewing Winter Fortification tea with some extra elderflower and chile peppers. Together, they help fortify my system and kill off the cold or flu virus that’s trying to dig in. Yesterday, I made an anti-cold syrup of astragulas root, Oregon grape root, dandelion root, nettle, and meadowsweet with some lemon balm glycerite and lavender syrup to sweeten it and a nip of usnea, thyme, and calendula tinctures “for preserving.” I added a few drops of ginger essential oil, too, to help keep my digestion fired up. The up-side of being sick is that I get to take a swig or two from “Mom’s Old Cough Syrup” a few times a day. You’d be surprised how tasty that stuff is.

I’ve been working with ginger and chili peppers over the past couple of months. So far, I’ve staved off at least two flus with their help. I know because the guys refused to give them a try when they felt the first twinges of flu, and they got sick while I did not. This time, I let the stress of making money and stretching my budget get to me. I didn’t take care of myself earlier in the week, and now I’m hoping they’ll help at least lessen the symptoms, ’cause I know I’m not getting by without at least a touch of a cold.

Update on Sunday: Yep, those herbs combined with a couple day’s rest did the trick. I’m well on the road to recovery without so much as a throat clearing. Yay for Herbs!!!

If you need a few good recipes or tips on herbs for the flu and cold season, search The Practical Herbalist or listen to show 11 of Real Herbalism Radio.

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