Winter is the season for sniffles, sneezes, sore throats, colds, coughs and fevers. The body’s natural healing efforts are chal enged and dietary adjustments together with herbal remedies are ideal for supporting the immune system. GENERAL RULES FOR HEALTHY LIVING Viruses and bacteria need fertile soil to grow. How fertile the soil is depends on one’s state of health and in particular on the state of the immune system. Tiredness and stress lowers resistance. A fit and emotionally balanced person has better chances to adapt successful y to change in temperatures and resist getting an infection. Regular deep breathing and gentle stretching exercises encourage the release of tension and boost immunity. Good sleep is nourishing and healing. Fresh air and outdoor activities improve vitamin D uptake, bone health, blood sugar regulation and mood. BOOSTING IMMUNE DEFENCES Exercise regularly, go for brisk walks, keep warm and rest in a relaxed environment with warming drinks (see handouts. Ginger, cinnamon and chil i pepper and cloves warm from the inside out and relieve congestion caused by the cold. . PREVENTION
Echinacea root in small daily dosages (1 cup/day) helps to keep bacteria and viruses away.
Elderberry, thyme, garlic and onion are antibacterial and antiviral, protecting the respiratory system.
Rosehips, elderberries, blackcurrants are rich in vitamin C and bioflavonoids,
Oily fish, seeds and nuts for omega 3s & 6s and magnesium-rich foods (green leafy vegetables)
Sprouted seeds, beans and lentils provide good protein and energy and promote immune function.
Mushrooms are revered immune system tonics and taste delicious in soups and stir-fries.
TREATING ACUTE SYMPTOMS
Yarrow, elderflower and peppermint hot infusion (tea) drunk frequently helps at the beginning of a fever.
Lime flowers relax the circulation and allow sweating.
Echinacea, elderberry, thyme and garlic are antibacterial and antiviral.
Marshmal ow, slippery elm, comfrey, coltsfoot are expectorants that loosen a cough and thin catarrh.
Anise, eucalyptus and sage aromatic essential oils used in steam inhalation relieve nasal congestion.
COUGH SYRUP 1 tbsp liquorice root
Prepare a triple-strength tea by simmering the herbs in water for 10 minutes, then steeping for 20 minutes. Strain the tea, then stir in honey and glycerin while the tea is stil warm. If using sugar simmer for 5 mins. Add optional essential oil. Take 1 tablespoon at a time. Stored in a cool place. Wil keep for 2 weeks. Refrigerated it wil keep for several months. ONION GARGLE FOR THROAT INFECTIONS
1 onion ½ fresh red chilli Juice of 2 lemons 1 tsp salt sprig of parsley Chop the onion and chilli finely and place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and salt. Leave to stand for 1 hour in the refrigerator. Strain and use as a gargle. After gargling, chew on a sprig of parsley to freshen breath. USE: Gargle daily, as soon as you feel a sore throat coming on, then spit out rather than swallow. Best made fresh daily. GOJI BERRY AND MISO SOUP FOR COLDS AND FLU Makes enough for 4. Can be eaten with noodles. 2 tbsp dried Echinacea root
2 fresh medium-sized chil ies, finely sliced
Simmer the dried Echinacea root in the water for 5-10 minutes and leave to stand. In another bowl, cover the goji berries with cold water & leave to rehydrate. Set the Echinacea and goji berries aside.
Boil the stock in a large pan. Add sliced onions, mushrooms, ginger and chil ies and simmer until soft.
Five minutes before serving, add the miso paste, Goji berries and chopped garlic. Final y, strain the Echinacea infusion and add this to the soup, reheating gently if necessary, but do not boil, to protect beneficial constituents.
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Herb/part used Medicinal uses Thyme leaf/flower
Cough, bronchitis, asthma, gargle for laryngitis and tonsil itis and
For throat infections and to relieve congestion in sinusitis. Reduces
fever in colds & flu and suppresses dry, irritating cough in laryngitis.
(induces sweating), expectorant, antinausea and antimicrobial.
May help to reduce fever by promoting sweating. Decongestant.
May relieve the symptoms of asthma in combination with other herbs. Contraindicated in heartburn. Rosemary leaf/flower
For colds and flu and warming up the circulation.
Rosmarinus officinalis Limeflowers & bracts
Useful diaphoretic for colds & flu. Relieves catarrhal irritation of the
mouth and throat. Helps to relieve headaches associated with
Traditional y used with peppermint & elderflower as a tea for colds.
pyretic). Circulatory, anti-inflammatory.
Its antiseptic volatile oil makes it useful for respiratory infections.
Soothes inflamed sore membranes in coughs, bronchitis, hayfever.
Elderflower & berry
For upper respiratory tract catarrh, inflammation, hay fever, sinusitis,
Hyssop leaf, flower
For al respiratory infections with excessive mucous and cough.
Used for prevention of coughs and colds. A tea made by steeping
young, green pine needles in boiling water ("tallstrunt" in Swedish).
Rosehip syrup was given to children during World War II for its
vitamin C content. One cup of 30 berries contains as much as 40
oranges, so strongly support the immune system.
Mushrooms are adaptogens to the immune system: their complex
polysaccharides and other elements help regulate a disordered immune function and act as an invigorating tonic.
FIND PLANTS IN YOUR AREA & SHARING YOUR HERB & FOOD STORIES
You can find out what grows in your area by using the postcode plants database http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/plants-fungi/postcode-plants/. For more about how useful the plant is for wildlife and its growing conditions, see the Plants for a Future database http://www.pfaf.org/database/
We’d really like you to share your own stories and experiences about the use of food and herbs in health. Do use the SustainCare web link for this: http://www.plant-medicine.com/shareyourstoriesform.htm. These pages are being developed, but wil soon form a major new information service whereby we can learn from each other and find evidence-based healthcare remedies. See SustainCare www.sustaincare.net and Plant Medicine www.plant-medicine.com. Books The Encyclopaedia of Herbal Medicine
Andrew Cheval ier pub. Dorling Kindersley 2002
Herbal Remedies: A practical beginner's guide Christopher Hedley & Non Shaw pub. Parragon 2002 Ottolenghi cookbooks and Guardian Saturday magazine recipes Herb & Health Shops Applejacks 28 The Mal , Stratford, London E15 1XD 20
Neal’s Yard Remedies stores nationwide www.nealsyardremedies.com G. Baldwin & Co 171/173 Walworth Rd, London SE17 1RW www.baldwins.co.uk Tel 020 7703 5550 For your local medical herbalist, contact: Gail Farrow MNIMH [email protected] Tel 07815 168410 Col ege of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (CPP) Tel 01323 484353 www.phytotherapists.org National Institute of Medical Herbalists (NIMH) Tel 01392 426022 www.nimh.org.uk
Living Medicine West Ham workshop leader Anna Betz MCPP Medical Herbalist mob: 07731 584358
[email protected] Living Medicine November 2010
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