All though there are no known cures for the common flu, there are many herbs and natural remedies that are effective in decreasing the symptoms as well as reducing the duration of the illness. Some herbs have been used for generations and have provided protection from it. One of the most popular treatment is Elderberry (sambucus nigra). It has been used for centuries in the fight against flu, colds and sinus infections. Some of the ways people use Elderberry is in the form of syrup, tincture and tea. Scientific studies show that the botanical contains viburnic acid which encourages perspiration as well as aiding in detoxifying body tissues. In other words, elderberry can help reduce fever, and cleanse the body's cells of pathogens and purify the blood. Another herb used is Ginger Root (zingiber officinale). It is a warming botanical that has been used to treat digestive problems, stomach upset and nausea. In addition ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used for generations to help treat the common cold, flu-like symptoms, and headaches. The warming nature of the root helps to produce sweating which helps to release pathogens. Ginger also helps to strengthen the immunity of individuals who have a compromised immune system. Another is herb is Echinacea (echinacea purpurea). For centuries, it has been used to treat infections, snake bites, wounds, and several other ailments. Scientific research shows it helps to keep the immune system healthy and strong. It protects us from common pathogens such as the influenza virus. Research shows that it works against an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which will destroy the body's defense and it's ability to fight off disease. Another powerful herb is Boneset (eupatorium perfoliatum). It stimulates the immune system and has been used effectively to fight off symptoms of influenza and lower fever. It is great antiviral medicine and it helps to dry out mucous and stimulate digestion of toxins. In addition to treating fever and flu, Boneset has been used to treat respiratory problems, allergies, chills, rheumatism, bruises, broken bones, urinary tract infection and jaundice. Scientific studies show it contains at least 23 nutrients, including calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, niacin, selenium, vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc.
Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) is a member of the mint family. It has a square stem that is reddish in color and leaves grow on stalks in opposite pairs down the stem. The flowers grow from a somewhat square cluster and are purple in color. Gather the whole plant when it flowers. Heal-All is edible and some use it in salads, soups, or stews. It has been used as an alternative medicine for
centuries. It is a panacea, in other words a remedy claimed to be a curative for all problems or disorders or a cure-all. The plant is antibacterial, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, diuretic, hypotensive, stomachic, and used for many other ailments. An infusion of the plant is an excellent eye wash used to treat sties and pinkeye. It is taken internally as a treatment of fevers, diarrhea, or sores in the mouth or throat. It is used internally and externally as an antibiotic for hard to heal wounds and diseases. It shows promise in research for cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and many other maladies. Folklore proclaimed it to be a holy herb and was sent by God to cure all ailments of man. It was said to drive away the devil, which lead to the belief that Heal-All was grown in the Witches garden as a disguise. Native Americans used the root as a tea and it was drunk during ceremonies before going hunting. It was thought to sharpen the powers of their observation. to make a medicinal tea or infusion, add 1 ounce of dried or fresh herb to a pint of boiling water, sweeten with honey.
Sage and some of it's benefits
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a small shrub that has broad leaves with tiny hairs. It is a medicinal and culinary herb. Sage is a common treatment for several things, such as fevers, flu, coughs, colds, soothing sore throats and stuffy noses. A Sage syrup can be made by steeping it in honey, with the addition of ginger, cloves, and lemon juice. This is a wonderful treatment for the previous mentioned (if it's for a child under one years of age substitute maple syrup for honey). Sage has also been used to sooth stomach-aches, indigestion, gas, and colic. Some have used it as a gargle to help gingivitis (bleeding gums) and bad breath. It helps regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle as well as provides relief for women experiencing hot flashes during menopause. Sage is also used cosmetically and as a hair-rinse to relieve itching scalp and dandruff. It can be used as a facial rinse to help reduce acne breakouts. It's useful in the treatment of moderate aches and pains. When made into a wash it can be used as a disinfectant due to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties. The wash can be applied, while moderately hot, to aching joints as it works as a pain-reliever for individuals who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis, or gout. Sage is also known as a anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic herb. It makes an excellent healing salve for the treatment of wounds, scrapes, bruises, and minor injuries. Sage is also said to improve memory and cognitive function. It is also used to treat Alzheimer's' Disease.
Elderberry or Sambucus nigra, is a fast-growing, small tree. Elderberry trees generally mature to about 9-12 feet tall and produce white flowers in early summer. Flowering is followed by berries which are black in color and ripen in late summer to early fall. Elderberry has a long history of medicinal use and is often referred to as “nature’s medicine chest.”. Elderberry has been shown to be very effective against fighting off at least ten strains of flu virus. A clinical trial found that it cured 90 percent of flu infections in three days verses six days needed for the participants taking a placebo. Elderberry has many minerals & vitamins, particularly vitamins A, B17 and C. The flower's are a good source of potassium and viburnic acid (which is beneficial for asthma and bronchitis). Laboratory studies have shown that elderberry reduces excessive sinus mucus secretion along with help in lessening the swelling of mucous membranes. It also improves sinus drainage, and decreases nasal congestion for those suffering from bacterial sinusitis. Elderberry is believed to be an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, immune-stimulant and has been taken to reduce inflammation of the urinary tract and bladder, kidney problems, arthritic and rheumatic complaints. It helps in relieving bronchitis, asthma, sore throat, colds and influenza. Elderberry may be effective in treating some diseases related to a depressed immune system, and preliminary studies have shown it may be effective against some viruses, including herpes and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Externally it is used for infections, inflammations and swelling. It can be used as a wash for skin healing and complexion purification. The dried flowers can also be used for tea which will help boost and maintain immune & respiratory systems. Flowers can also be placed in a hot bath to aid in fever reduction.
What is your favorite herb? I have several favorites. One of them is Lemon Balm.
Lemon Balm not only smells lovely but it is used for so many things. It is a perennial member of the mint family and has proven to benefit the nervous system. Lemon balm is a soothing, sedative herb that can relieve tension and improve depression. An infusion of this citrus-scented herb will improve digestion, reduce fever, ease spasms, and enhance relaxation. The plant has anti-histaminic properties and helps with allergies. Lemon balm has been used for centuries to calm the mind and improve the memory. It has helped relieve pre-menstrual tension and cramping. It helps promote good digestion and relieves the discomfort of colic. It can ease one into a peaceful sleep. It also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Used externally as a skin wash, this herb can ease the sting of an insect bite. It also soothes cold sore eruptions and can treat wounds. Lemon balm's highly aromatic qualities make it a good insect repellent. It is also valued in aromatherapy to relax and soothe a troubled mind. Fresh leaves are often added to salads, or used with fish, mushroom, and cheese dishes. In France, this herb is used in making cordials, and is called Tea de France.
My name is Dawn Durow. I am a Professional Herbalist. I have a passion for natural healing and using herbs for health and wellness. I use locally grown, wild crafted and organic herbs in my practice.