While the winter season brings joy to both the young and the old as families come together, it also brings some health problems we shouldn’t ignore. We are all familiar with the common cold and the flu and we know they can strike when we are stressed or run down. The following herbal remedies will help you deal with all the problems the cold season may bring.
In this polluted world we have to be careful of what medicine we take as we are bombarded with chemicals every day, from every direction. I’ve been using herbal remedies ever since I can remember and I learned their secrets from my mother and grandmother. I try to pass on my knowledge and share my herbal remedies with every occasion I get since I truly believe we should pay more attention to what we put into our bodies. Most, if not all the herbs listed in this article can be procured by anyone so there shouldn’t be any need to go to the pharmacy.
Herbal remedies for the winter season:
Cough and Bronchitis
Coughing is a reaction caused by irritant particles in the bronchial tubes. Depending on the cough you have and where is centered, you can use various herbal remedies to clear or ease the cough. Productive, chest coughs are usually followed by white, yellow or green phlegm, while unproductive cough are dry and irritant. Bronchitis occurs when the lining of the lungs’ airways becomes inflamed and the patient may experience a raised temperature. As a general remedy, thyme works really well. You should take 3 cups of infusion a day.
For dry coughs in the throat and chest you should use herbs such as Balm of Gilead, thyme and licorice. Make an infusion using equal parts of balm of Gilead buds, thyme and licorice powder. Recommended dosage is 1/3 cup six times a day. You can also make a tincture by mixing equal parts of each tincture and take 1 tsp up to 5 times a day with water. You should reduce the dosage as the cough eases. Important notice: If you are pregnant you should avoid taking licorice.
For chest coughs and bronchitis you should use herbs such as elecampane, eucalyptus and licorice. Make a decoction of elecampane and take 1 2/3 cups a day. Add 5g licorice powder to improve the flavor. If you suffer from acute bronchitis and coughs you can add 5g of eucalyptus leaf to the decoction. You can also use Echinacea and garlic to ease chest coughs, one of the herbal remedies I’ve been using for years requires to take ½ tsp of Echinacea tincture with water 3 times a day and in addition to eat 2 garlic cloves daily. As an external remedy, you can make a massage oil by mixing 5 drops of eucalyptus and thyme essential oil with 2 tsp of olive or canola oil. Massage the over the chest and back twice a day.
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For sore and tired eyes, chamomile and Chrysanthemum can be used. Make a compress by infusing chamomile teabag or make a poultice with 15g of either herb to 1 cup of water. Allow it to cool, squeeze out the excess and place the compress or poultice over the eye.
For conjunctivitis you can use eyebright and cornflower. Make an infusion with either herb and strain. Allow it to cool and use it when still a little warm. Bathe eyes well using the infusion, but no more than twice a day. This is one of the herbal remedies my mother used constantly and she never needed professional help.
As a general remedy for colds, flu and fevers use the following herbs: garlic, ginger and lemon. Crush a garlic clove or two (depending on the size), grate a similar sized piece of fresh ginger and squeeze the juice from 1 lemon. Mix together with 1 tsp of honey and add ¾ cup of warm water. Drink up to 1 2/3 cups a day until the symptoms are no longer present. I guarantee this works every time.
For colds use lemon and cinnamon. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in a cup of warm water, add ½ tsp of cinnamon powder and 1 tsp of honey. Drink up to two cups a day. You can also use ginger to make an infusion. Infuse 3 slices of fresh ginger with ¾ cup of water for 5 minutes and take up to 3 cups a day. Elderberry and lemon is another one of the great herbal remedies I’ve learned from my grandmother. Take 1 tsp of elderberry tincture or extract in warm water with freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon up to 3 times a day.
For high fever use yarrow, boneset and cayenne. Make an infusion using 1 tsp of each yarrow and boneset, with a pinch of cayenne to ¾ cup of water. Brew for 5 minutes and drink hot. You can take up to 2 1/3 cups a day. Important notice: If you are pregnant you should avoid taking yarrow.
For flu with muscle aches and pain you can use thyme, lemon balm and elderflower. Make an infusion using 5g of each herb to 3 cups of water. Brew for 10 minutes and drink up to 3 cups a day. Echinacea works just as well and you need to take ½ tsp of tincture with water twice a day.
Herbal remedies for sore throats and tonsillitis usually involve the use of garlic, ginger and lemon, but there are a few good additions you should know about.
For sore throats use tamarind and lemon. Gargle with a decoction of tamarind fruit and 1 tbsp of lemon juice diluted in warm water. You can also use rosemary, sage, myrrh and Echinacea with good results. Dilute 1 tsp of equal parts of all tinctures in 5 tsp of warm water and gargle. You can also swallow the mixture, unless you are pregnant.
For tonsillitis Echinacea does a great job. You can make a decoction with 5g of root to 3 cups of water and drink 2 cups a day.
It wouldn’t be winter without nasal congestion and sinus problems and most often, the blocked sinuses can cause a painful pressure. Luckily, there are many herbal remedies that can help with congestions, sinus problems and earache.
For nasal congestion chamomile works every time. You can make a steam inhalation by infusing 15g of herb, or put 10 drops of essential oil in 3 cups of water. Inhale for 10 minutes.
For sinus congestion you can use nettle and elderflower herbs. Make an infusion using 1 tsp of each herb to 1 ¼ cups of water and take daily while symptoms last.
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For earache lavender and garlic are the recommended herbs. You can place 2 drops of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and plug into the ear. You can also crush a large clove of garlic and soak it in 1 tbsp of olive oil for at least 24 hours. Strain the oil and warm it at body temperature. Place 2 drops on a cotton ball and plug into the ear.
The herbal remedies listed here are accessible for everyone and they should be used as suggested. As precaution is recommended when using a new treatment, you should seek for professional advice if you experience the following: High fever for 102°F or more, sever pain in the respiratory tract or cough lasting for more than 2 weeks.
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