SurvivalMedicineBlog

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Cold? Flu? Pt. 5 Keepin’ It Simple with Herbs

ACHOO!  Herbs for Colds and Flu!

 © Kelli Armes, Herbalist

 

The best medicine is preventive medicine, but if/when you do come down with a cold or flu you may want to know about some herbs that could be helpful! These are herbs you may want to consider planting in your garden or allow to grow wild if they already grow near you! (Cold and Flu are different dis-eases, but since everyone lumps them in together, I will try to address both here)

Prevention:

2 ounces of sugar will suppress your immune system for 4 hours! Stay away from sugar(s) if you can.

Get plenty of rest!  Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system! Eat real food! (not food like substances).

Stress: Keep your stress levels down and add adaptogenic herbs if you are in a high stress lifestyle.

Cold Verses Flu:

It is important to remember that a cold is (in most cases) a benign harmless infection, but Influenza is a potential fatal disease! It is responsible for deaths in the US especially among those with compromised immune system.  It is important to know the difference so you can deal with them properly (if a person is going downhill and has the flu you may need to get medical attention!) Common cold can be caused by several different viruses, while the flu is cause by the Influenza virus.

Treatments:

Hot Teas and Soups!  It is not an ole wives tale, hot tea, and soups are good for you when you are feeling chilled!   Inhale your hot tea fumes while you sip! Eat hot soups (chicken soup is the folk remedy for a cold or flu! )

During a fever it is best to have warm or room temperature liquids (avoid any sugary drinks like juices, pop, etc.)  drink herbal teas, have soups, room temperature Filtered water avoid heavy foods.  Fast on foods (continue with liquids) failure to fast will lengthen recovery time. Keep your ‘patient’ in bed and do not overmedicate them simply support the body in doing what it needs to do!

I recommend against taking cold medicine.  Cold medicine can actually prolong the cold by suppressing the antibodies and can actually (according to studies) make your cold worse (it can drive it deeper into your system)

Steam inhalations are great at the onset of a cold or flu (or prevention) you can add a little rosemary essential oil, eucalyptus, Peppermint oil, Juniper essential oil or thyme essential oil (use small amounts of an essential oil and only those you know you tolerate).  Vaporizer is a great item to have on hand.

Flu-Rest is essential (going back to work too soon if you feel better, can make you susceptible to worsening symptoms or even possibly getting pneumonia).

Neti pot- use a salt solution to rinse the nasal passages to kill microorganism (you can add a few drops of ethically wildcrafted Goldenseal to your neti pot). Breathing in a little vinegar in warm water can also help.

Wet sock therapy is great for colds or bronchitis (not recommended when you have a fever, diabetes, or poor circulation)

Peppermint (Mentha x Piperita)  Very easy plant to grow (propagates by rhizomes)  Used for fevers, colds, flu, digestive upset.  Antibacterial, anti-tussive. Chop up stem and leaf and in a cup of water and use as a steam inhalation.  A little peppermint essential oil in vinegar makes a great disinfectant. Generally Leaf is used.

Energetics: spicy, bitter, and slightly cool

Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water on a heaped tsp of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink as desired.

Tincture: Take 1-2ml 3 times a day.

Boneset (Eupatorium Perfoliatum). The name comes from ‘break bone fever’ a mosquito borne illness. Also was used for malaria, cholera, typhoid (any illness that produced a fever). This herb was used during the 1918 Spanish Flu and was very effective. The flower is the part used. Great for viral infections (combines well with elder) colds, flu, bronchitis, and pneumonia.  Great for lingering viral infections.

Energetics: Bitter, pungent, astringent, cold and dry

 

Dosage: For an infusion, use 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep 10-20 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. Add sugar or honey and lemon to improve taste.

For tinctures, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon up to 3 times a day. Should not be given to children under age 2. Use small doses in tea (1-3 ounces at a time every few hours until desired effect).

 

 

Elder (Sambucus Nigra): Berries and flowers are used.  Some herbalists use the flowers and berries interchangeably, and some use the berry syrup for preventive (colds and flu) and other viral infections. Flowers  are great for flu treatment, fevers lung and sinus issues. Studies have shown that elder has stopped mutating flu virus and show to kill the virus.

Energetics: bitter, drying, cool, slightly sweet

Dosages: For children (1-6 years of age) 1 teaspoon (5ml) per day and can be increased to 1.5-2 teaspoons (10ml) per day, for use during winter months. For adults the recommended dose is 2 teaspoons (10ml) per day. Other forms can be dosed as follows: Dried flowers can be used as an infusion for adults, 3 to 5 grams, three times daily. Liquid Extract, for adults, use 1:1 in 25% alcohol, (3 to 5 ml) three times daily

 

 

Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) A weed growing freely in this area, touted at the ‘smart blood herb’ because it knows when to stop bleeding, yet can also help break up blood like in bruises.  it is also used to treat fevers and help them to be more productive, circulation issues, hypertension, diarrhea and female issues.

Energetics: bitter, spicy, neutral

Dosages: 1 teaspoon infused as a tea three times daily. Tincture: 1-2 ml three times daily

 

Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris). Antibacterial, antiviral, great for lung congestion, coughs, flu, COPD, bronchitis, and allergic rhinitis.  Great to coughs especially in tea form where you can get the aromatics of the plant. Do not use the kind in your spice cabinet, they are generally very old. Get a supply from an herb store.

Energetics: Spicy and warm

Dosages: Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water on 2 tsp of the dried herb and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day. Tincture: take 2-4ml 3 times a day.

 

Flu remedy recipe:   1 part peppermint; 1 part yarrow; 1 part boneset; 1 part elder flower; Mix equal part tinctures and take 1-2 ml 3 times daily.

Note: I like to start with small dosages, and if they work I do not use the ‘recommended dosage’, it is your choice, use your judgment, but remember more is not always better, sometimes less is more! None of the information is designed to diagnose treat, or cure any disease. Always seek medical attention when needed!

 

Thanks to the people I have studied with (formally or informally) for this giving me the knowledge to write this article (for their wisdom, knowledge and kindness). They are (in no particular order): Demetria Clark, Paul Bergner, David Winston, Kiva Rose, Jim McDonald, Susun Weed and www.herbmentor.com ( Recipe and dosages from herbalpedia).   There are a lot of herbs/Alternative things you can use, but these plants are the ones I chose because most of these plants grow wild in my area or are easily cultivated! The above information has been gleaned from listening to seminars, Audio courses, taking formal courses. conferences, Webinars, and my own personal research and experiences.  Thanks!

Kelli Armes aka Maw-Maw Kelli!  I can be contacted at kelliarmes@gmail.com or on Facebook Maw-Maw Kelli (Herb classes and More)!

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December 12, 2011 Posted by | Guidelines, Herbs, Medical Conditions, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cold? Flu? Allergies? Pt. 1 Which or what is it??

Its that time of the year, the weather is getting colder and its time for colds, coughs, allergies and the flu to make its appearance. What is it? What are the signs and symptoms? What do you have? How can you improve your chances of NOT catching something? And what do you do IF you or a loved one starts to feel something isn’t right?

I have put this information together for ease of reading and understanding and all information is taken directly from WebMd.

In this first part of Colds, Flu, Coughs, Allergies we will discuss what the symptoms/signs are of some the most common upper respiratory ailments are. Part 2 will have prevention tips and suggestions and Part 3 will address what to do ‘just in case’ you get a cold or the flu and finally, we will discuss, in Part 4 what complications may arise from the common cold or flu. No matter if its an average day when you get sick or the end of the world as you know it, we got you covered to help yourself, just in case.

Colds

Colds usually begin abruptly with a sore throat followed by symptoms such as clear, watery nasal drainage; sneezing; fatigue; and sometimes a low-grade fever (below 101 degrees F). Postnasal drip causes the sore throat and cough that accompany colds.

For the first few days of a cold, your nose drips with watery nasal secretions. Later, these secretions may become thicker and darker. (Dark mucus with a cold virus does not necessarily mean that you have developed a bacterial infection, so don’t beg your doctor for an antibiotic.)

A mild cough is a common cold symptom. The cough won’t get much worse, but this common cold symptom is likely to last into the second week of your cold. If you suffer with asthma or other lung problem, a cold may make it worse. If you are coughing up dark mucus — or if you are feeling a lot of distress in the lower parts of your lungs — you may have a bacterial infection. It’s a good idea to touch base with your doctor to find out if you need to be seen.

Usually, there is no fever with common cold symptoms. In fact, fever and more severe symptoms may indicate that you have the flu and not a cold.

Common cold symptoms usually start between one and three days after you are infected by a cold virus. Typically, they last for about three to seven days. At that point, the worst is over, but you may feel congested for a week or more. During the first three days that you have common cold symptoms, you are contagious. This means you can pass the cold virus to those you come in contact with.

If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a bacterial infection, which means you may need antibiotics.

Sometimes you may mistake cold symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection. If your cold symptoms begin quickly and are improving after a week, then it is usually a cold, not allergy. If your cold symptoms do not seem to be getting better after a week, check with your doctor to see if you have developed an allergy or sinusitis.

Flu

Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and come on quickly. Symptoms of flu include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough. Swine flu in particular is also associated with vomiting and diarrhea.

Most flu symptoms gradually improve over two to five days, but it’s not uncommon to feel run down for a week or more.

How do you know if you have flu or cold symptoms? Take your temperature, say many experts. Flu symptoms often mimic cold symptoms with nasal congestion, cough, aches, and malaise. But a common cold rarely has symptoms of fever above 101 degrees F. With flu symptoms, you will probably have a fever initially with the flu virus and you will feel miserable. Body and muscle aches are also more common with the flu. This table can help determine if you have cold or flu symptoms.

Symptoms Cold Flu
Fever Sometimes, usually mild Usual; higher (100-102 F; occasionally higher, especially in young children); lasts 3 to 4 days
Headache Occasionally Common
General Aches, Pains Slight Usual; often severe
Fatigue, Weakness Sometimes Usual; can last 2 to 3 weeks
Extreme Exhaustion Never Usual; at the beginning of the illness
Stuffy Nose Common Sometimes
Sneezing Usual Sometimes
Sore Throat Common Sometimes
Chest Discomfort, Cough Mild to moderate; hacking cough Common; can become severe

Other great questions to ask yourself or your child to figure out what ‘it’ is:

Flu vs. Colds: A Guide to Symptoms
Questions Flu Cold
Was the onset of illness … sudden? slow?
Do you or your child have a … high fever? no (or mild) fever?
Is you or your child’s exhaustion level … severe? mild?
Is you or your child’s head … achy? headache-free?
Is you or your child’s appetite … decreased? normal?
Are you or your child’s muscles … achy? fine?
Do you or your child have … chills? no chills?

Colds and flues are caused by hundreds of different viruses. When one of these viruses gets into your body, your immune system attacks. Some of the effects of this immune response are the classic symptoms of a cold, such as congestion and coughing. With the flu, you will often have the classic symptom of body aches and fever.

The germs that cause colds and flues are contagious. You can pick them up when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or shakes hands with you. After a couple of weeks, at the most (with the flu its just days), your immune system fights off the virus and you stop having symptoms.

Allergies are caused by an overactive immune system. For some reason, your body mistakes harmless substances — such as mold or pollen — for germs and attacks them. Your body releases chemicals such as histamine, just as it does when fighting a cold. This can cause swelling in your nasal passages, a runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Allergies are not contagious, although some people may inherit a tendency to develop them.

Differences Between Colds and Allergies

Characteristic

Cold

Allergy

Duration

three-14 days

Days to months — as long as you are exposed to the allergen

Time of Year

Most often in the winter, but possible at any time

Any time of the year — although the appearance of some allergens are seasonal

Onset of symptoms

Symptoms take a few days to appear after infection with the virus.

Symptoms can begin immediately after exposure to the allergen

Symptom

Cold

Allergy

Cough

Often

Sometimes

Aches

Sometimes

Never

Fatigue

Sometimes

Sometimes

Fever

Rarely

Never

Itchy, watery eyes

Rarely

Often

Sore throat

Often

Sometimes

Runny or stuffy nose

Often; usually yellow mucus

Often; usually clear mucus

Although there are some differences, cold and allergy symptoms overlap quite a bit. The most important difference is that colds don’t last longer than 14 days. If you still have symptoms after two weeks, these may be allergy symptoms.

In the next part of this series, Cold? Flu? Allergies? we will discuss common ways to prevent ‘catching’ a cold, flu or having allergy symptoms.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | Guidelines, Medical Conditions | , , , , , , | Leave a comment