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To calculate proportions in the recipe, choose a part such as 1 tablespoon, or 1/8 cup then simply combine the required parts and blend well.
Preparation: Using one tablespoon of the herbal formula per cup of water, pour boiling water over the herbs, cover, steep for ten minutes then strain. Drink the tea while it is hot for maximum effect.
I really like to add fresh grated ginger root to this when it is available. You can add about a tablespoon of fresh ginger in addition to the dried ginger in the recipe.
Coughs & Congestion
Choose from among the expectorant and demulcent herbs to find herbs that are soothing to the respiratory system. Add anti-microbial herbs to aid in quick recovery and to help prevent secondary infections like bronchitis. The Bronchial Formula contains herbs that have expectorant, demulcent and anti-microbial qualities. These herbs will help the body to expel mucus and heal inflamed tissues.
Preparation: Choose a part and combine the required proportions of the herbs together and mix well. This formula is best prepared as a tincture (see Herbal Preparation Methods) but can be prepared as a tea as well. You may want to increase your dosage of Usnea in addition to the amount provided in this formula, especially if you are preparing the Bronchial Formula as a tea because the usnic acid does not dissolve well in water.
Dosage is 30 drops 3 times per day, or up to 4 cups of tea per day using 1 tablespoon of herb per cup.
The expectorant cough syrup is a pleasant way to take your herbs or administer them to children. You can alter this recipe to include herbs to treat other symptoms if you like.
Quick Cough Syrup
Combine equal parts of the Bronchial Formula tincture and honey. Warm the mixture enough to blend them together well, then refrigerate.
Preparation: Add 6 tablespoons of the herb mixture to 2 cups of water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, then return to stove and simmer until one cup of liquid remains. Remove from heat and stir in honey while it is hot. Store in a pint glass jar in the refrigerator. You may add tinctures, like Usnea, to the formula at the same time that you add the honey. A little alcohol added, from your tinctures or brandy, does help to preserve the syrup.
Dosage is 1 tablespoons 3-4 times per day.
It is important to allow the coughing reflex to work towards expelling phlegm from the respiratory tract. The risk of secondary infection increases if the congestion remains stagnant. For this reason, avoid cough suppressant herbs and drugs in your home formulas. Use the Vapor Salve to rub on the chest or inhale the Vapor Steam to relieve congestion of the chest and sinuses and ease coughing.
Preparation: Add the beeswax to the olive oil and heat until the beeswax is melted. Use very low heat or a double boiler to prevent burning the oil. When the wax is melted, remove the oil from the heat then add the essential oils and stir to blend. When the mixture is cool it is ready to use. You can make this using only the eucalyptus oil if necessary.
To use rub a small amount on the chest as needed to relieve congestion.
Preparation: Bring the water to a boil then pour into a 2 quart bowl. Add 10 drops of essential oil or pour the water over the thyme leaves.
To use lean over close to the bowl and cover your head with a towel. Breath in the steams vapors. Be careful not to burn your face with the steam or hot water. Both thyme and eucalyptus oils have anti-microbial properties that will help to destroy micro-organisms as well as open up the bronchial passages and sinuses
Choose astringent herbs to help check diarrhea. Remember to drink lots of fluids and avoid foods, especially those that are difficult to digest until the bowels are functioning normally.
Slippery Elm Gruel © Millie Fodor
Slippery Elm Gruel is a soothing and healing herbal food for the digestive system. Slippery Elm is as nutritious as oatmeal and can be eaten as a food frequently. It is especially good for children or elderly if they are having difficulty digesting foods while recuperating from an illness.
To prepare Slippery Elm Gruel put 1 tablespoon of slippery elm powder in a small bowl then slowly stir in 3/4 cup boiling water. The mixture will thicken similar to cream of wheat. You can add honey, maple syrup, or cinnamon for flavor.
Blackberry root tea is also an herb of choice for treating diarrhea. Simmer 1 tablespoon of root per cup of water for 10 minutes then strain. Sip about 1/4 cup of blackberry root tea per hour until symptoms subside.
Often a cold precedes ear problems and it is much easier to treat the cold towards preventing complications such as earaches. If you or your child have a tendency to develop otitus media, follow the protocol for using Echinacea, garlic and Usnea at the first sign of a cold. If there is a lot of congestion, drink lots of fluids, try the Steam Vapors and expectorant herbs to loosen the mucus and aid in expelling it from the body. A hot water bottle placed over the ear can help to relieve pain.
Mullein Garlic Ear Oil can be used to relieve pain and inflammation in the external ear canal. Garlic is an anti-microbial herb that will help to kill bacteria that may be causing infection and mullein flowers help to relieve pain.
Preparation: Chop the garlic into small pieces. Place the garlic and mullein flowers in a small glass jar with a lid. Cover the mullein flowers with olive oil and allow to set in the sun for several days, or heat over very low heat for 4 hours. If you are using fresh mullein flowers, cover your jar with cheesecloth rather than a lid to allow moisture to escape. Strain the oil through cheesecloth and store your oil in a small dropper bottle in the refrigerator.
To use warm the oil to body temperature by placing the bottle of oil in a glass of hot water for a few minutes. Insert 2-3 drops in the affected ear 2-3 times per day.
If there is fluid oozing from the ear or any chance that the ear drum is perforated do not use the ear oil and consult your doctor. If antibiotic therapy is required be sure to replace the "good bacteria" in the body to prevent reinfection. Acidophilus capsules, powder, or yogurt containing live bacteria cultures will help to rebuild the intestinal flora
A fever is a natural defense mechanism that our bodies use to destroy bacteria and viruses. The herbs that are suggested here are used to support your body during this process to aid in quick recovery rather than eliminate the fever.
Use Usnea, Echinacea and garlic throughout an illness that includes fever. In addition, choose herbs that have diaphoretic properties which help to eliminate toxins through perspiration. Cold and Flu Tea combines several diaphoretic herbs and is perfect for this use. Individual herbs that are useful are boneset, elder flowers, catnip, ginger or peppermint.
Drink lots of herbal teas, distilled water, or fresh juices to aid in the elimination of toxins from the body.
To bring down a fever, sponge the body with a cool cloth or bathe in a tepid bath. A catnip enema is effective in bringing down a fever, especially for a child who needs the extra fluids. The water can be absorbed through the lower bowel to help prevent dehydration.
Preparation: Pour boiling water over the catnip in a one quart jar. Cover and allow to steep for ten minutes. Strain and cool until lukewarm. Administer using a enema bag with rectal tip.
Ginger tea is specific for treating nausea. If available, use fresh grated ginger root, 1 tablespoon per cup. Several of the other diaphoretic herbs are useful for treating nausea as well (Boneset, elder flower, and peppermint). Try any of these herbs individually or the Cold and Flu Tea.
A liquid diet will usually aid recovery. Drink plenty of distilled water, herbal teas and juices. If you want to eat, choose foods that are easily digested such as fruit or rice. Avoid dairy products, sugars, and fats.
Choose the anti-microbial herbs, Usnea and echinacea, for treating sore throat. Usnea is specific for strep throat and very effective if enough is used. Use demulcent herbs for soothing relief of inflamed tissues, such as slippery elm or comfrey root.
Preparation: Put the honey and essential oil in a small bowl. Add the echinacea and osha root powders to the honey and stir it well. Stir in slippery elm powder to the mixture a little at a time until it reaches a consistency that can be worked with your fingers. Do not make the mixture too dry as the herbs will continue to absorb moisture. Pinch off small pieces and roll into balls. The honey helps preserve the herb lozenges and they will last several weeks if stored in the refrigerator, about two days if not refrigerated.
To use dissolve the herb lozenges in your mouth so that the healing properties of the herbs are able to coat the throat. You can eat these as often as needed. Alter the recipe to include herbs specific to other conditions as well. You can also use tinctures. The herb lozenges are a good way to get children to take their herbs. Try rolling the them in minced dried fruit or nuts. Peppermint oil is strong and helps to masked the flavor of strong or bitter herbs but feel free to experiment with other flavors or omit.
Dosages for herbal tinctures are best determined individually based upon the power of the herb & the reason for its use. A couple of good reference books is the most reliable way of choosing the correct dose. The dosage is dependent upon the illness you are treating and the power of the herbs you are using. For most purposes, herbalist use gentle herbs that can be safely used in large dosages. Commercial tinctures are labeled with the recommended dosage, usually 10-30 drops three times per day. Sometimes ten to thirty drops of tincture is sufficient for a therapeutic dose, other times you may need a teaspoon every hour.
Dosages for children are not provided in most herbals. To determine the correct dose you need to consider the size of the child, the ailment, the power of the herb you intend to use, and the adult dosage.
Young's Rule for determining dosage uses the child's age divided by twelve plus the age. The dosage for a 4 year old:
4/12+4 = 4/16 = 1/4 of the adult dose.
Clark's Rule for determining dosages divides the weight of the child by 150 to give the approximate fraction of the adult dose. Dosage for a 40 lb. child: . 40 /150 = .26 or approx. 1/4 the adult dose.
Herbs can also be used to help the body maintain health and vitality. For this purpose you can choose from among the tonic and detoxifying herbs. My own favorite tonic formula is Detox Tea. It is designed to help rid the liver, blood, and organs of toxins and to provide vitamins and minerals.
Preparation: Simmer 1 tablespoon of the herb blend per cup of water for 20 minutes. Strain. Excellent hot or iced. You can drink up to 3-4 cups per day.
You can also use some herbs like echinacea as a preventative. Echinacea is a tonic herb but remember that its immune stimulating properties may decline if used continuously. Begin treating yourself with echinacea when you have been exposed to other sick people and would like to reduce your chances of catching their illness. Tonic herbs in general do not cause undesirable side effects or toxicity so your not causing any harm by using them in a preventative manner.
During times of high stress the adrenal glands are heavily taxed and you are more likely to become sick. Learn to recognize stressful situations and use tonic therapies to help the adrenal glands and immune system to remain strong. Ginseng, licorice and nettles are excellent adrenal gland tonics. I have only suggested a handful of the many tonifying herbs available. Most of the books written by Rosemary Gladstar, David Hoffmann, or Michael Tierra are good sources for more information on tonic therapies.
During times of stress vitamin C is needed in large quantities by the adrenal glands. Supplementation will help to prevent adrenal depletion as well as boost the immune system. The late, Linus Pauling, invested a great portion of his life in researching vitamin C. He recommended using vitamin C to bowel tolerance ( maximum dose that does not cause diarrhea) whenever the body is fighting an illness. Many nutritionist recommend at least 3000mg per day and 10,000mg up to bowel tolerance during illness.
A NOTE ON GOLDENSEAL
In almost every herbal you will read that goldenseal is good for many symptoms of colds and flu. Goldenseal is a very effective herb, but it is also true that goldenseal grows no where else in the world except these northeastern United States and that the populations of wild goldenseal are severely threatened from over-harvesting. There is almost always herbs that can be used in place of threatened species that are equally effective.
Other commonly used herbs can easily be threatened by overuse by the herbal community. Echinacea angustifolia is severely threatened in the wild as it has become one of the most popular herbs in the world. To avoid this negative impact upon the plant world, I encourage you to adopt a policy of using only cultivated herbs of threatened species. Because Echinacea angustifolia and goldenseal are not easy to cultivate in abundance, I encourage you to grow your own supplies if you wish to use these herbs.
Echinacea purpurea is easily cultivated and available in abundance.
The information contained here is a sharing of the authors experiences and those of other herbalist. It is not intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. This information is not a substitute for professional health care and guidance. If you suspect you may have a health problem contact a natural health care professional.
RECOMMENDED READING AND REFERENCES
ECHINACEA: NATURE'S IMMUNE ENHANCER. Steven Foster. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont. 1991.
ECHINACEA: THE IMMUNE HERB. Christopher Hobbs. California. Botanica Press. 1990.
ECO-HERBALISM: ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS FACING HERBALIST TODAY. Rosemary Gladstar. Written for the North East Herb Association Newsletter.
AN ELDERS' HERBAL. David Hoffmann. Vermont. Healing Arts Press.1993
HERB BOOK. John Lust. New York. Bantam Books. 1974.
THE HERBAL HANDBOOK. David Hoffmann. Healing Arts Press. Rochester, Vermont. 1988.
HERBAL HEALING FOR WOMEN, Rosemary Gladstar. New York. Simon & Schuster.1993
HERBAL MEDICINAL PREPARATIONS. Rosemary Gladstar Slick. Vermont. Sage
HERBAL PREPARATIONS AND NATURAL THERAPIES. Debra Nuzzi. Morningstar Publications. Boulder, CO. 1989.
HERBS FOR WINTER HEALTH. Rosemary Gladstar Slick. Vermont. Sage
THE MALE HERBAL: HEALTH CARE FOR MEN & BOYS. James Green. California. Crossing Press. 1991.
NEW HOLISTIC HERBAL. David Hoffmann. Element. Rockport, Mass. 1990.
POCKET HERBAL REFERENCE GUIDE. Debra Nuzzi. California. The Crossing Press. 1992
PRESCRIPTION FOR NUTRITIONAL HEALING. James F. Balch M.D.& Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. New York. Avery Publishing Group. 1990.
SMART MEDICINE FOR A HEALTHIER CHILD. Zand, Walton, Roundtree. Avery. New York. 1994.
USNEA: THE HERBAL ANTIBIOTIC. Christopher Hobbs. California. Botanica Press. 1990.
THE WAY OF HERBS, Michael Tierra C.A.,N.D. New York, Washington Square Press.1983.
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