Support Strategies for Colds and The Flu

My strategy for colds and flu

For once I feel ready for anything. The house is stocked full of food and other necessary supplies. It has not always been that way. When experiencing the worst of cold or flu symptoms I did not have a plan. Any herbal resources I had were either packed up in the basement or at the store. Useless when you are running a fever and unable to get out of bed. Out of reach when your child sick in the middle of the night.  Herbs can be easy to access, affordable, and might support the body to recover from illness. If I start the kids or myself on formulas that I have made as soon as someone feels a sore throat or run down, then the illness lasts less than 48 hours. Sleep or rest is also very important.

I prefer to have a preventative strategy that I begin early on. Waiting until things get really bad and then making a trip to the store or doctor is stressful . At the first sign of a sore throat, feeling tired/run down, a runny nose, or that “flu” feeling- I use my Super Immune glycerite (has echinacea). If we have been exposed to someone sick I start with the Super C glycerite (has rose hips). I also use the Immune Boost Honey in tea or milk. If symptoms progress and there is fever I use the Fever Tincture (yarrow and catnip). For cough I use either the Black Currant Syrup or a Horehound Syrup. My new Cold Tea is great for addressing symptoms that effect the respiratory or digestive system.  The Lung Salve breaks up congestion and relaxes the muscles in the chest. The Immune Support tincture that I just tinctured up last week (has osha, and usnea among other things) is used 24-48 hours after symptoms first appear. It depends on how fast the illness is moving and if there is cough or fever.

Whipped elderberry butter

I was at the farmer’s market and saw this lavender colored honey. After chatting with the vendor for a bit I said to myself ” I can make that at home easily and at a much lower cost.” It smells heavenly and is a great way to get herbs into kids. I just mix it into a tea that they like. My girls are not fond of my glycerites or elderberry syrup.

Whipped Lavender and Elder Berry Honey

Add 2 cups of organic honey into a food processor (make sure the container is dry and you put the blade in first). Set aside

Grind about 1/2 cup of whole, dried elder berries in a coffee grinder until you have a fine powder. Add 1/4 cup of the powder to food processor. Store the rest.

Grind 1 TBSP of whole lavender flowers in the coffee grinder. Add 1 tsp of that to the processor.

Whip the honey until it thickens and is no longer clear.

Remove and store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. If you store in a dark place and only use clean utensils to dispense it, your honey will last for months without crystalizing.

*Note about using dried elderberries. Like apples, peaches, and strawberries the elder plant contains trace amount of alkaloids in the stems, leaves, roots, and seeds. It is believed that these chemicals can convert to cyanide when exposed to the acids in the human stomach. There are numerous reports of people getting VERY sick after eating unripe elder berries or the ripe berries of certain more wild member of the Sambucus family. To be on the safe side most people cook and then strain out the seeds when using elder berries. There are many herbalists who use the dried berries in tinctures, glycerides, and in other products. You will find recipes on-line that use them in smoothies, etc. Also stories of people feeling sick after eating the dried elderberries. None of my herb books or teachers expressed concern about using ripe berries that have been dried. The Botanical Safety Handbook mentions no reports or research studies about the dangers of ripe dried berries, only unripe fresh berries. There is also no mention of the need to the cook ripe berries (dried or fresh). Please do your research and make your own informed decision when using elder berries. There is no concern with consuming the elder flowers.

Do you have a go to plan or remedies that you use when you feel the first signs of cold or flu?

Published by blackbirdsbackyard

My backyard botanical pharmacy is located in Boulder Colorado. I began studying herbal medicinewhen I was 12 years old. In college I studied subjects like anthropology, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, After graduation I decided to go to midwifery school. I attended births and had a small practice until I retired early in order to be a mother full time. I have always had an herb garden, gathered plants and made my own healing formulas with plants. Over the last 30 years there have been many teachers and I have attended dozens of workshops. I am one of those people who is always reading, studying and learning. In 2019 I was called to practice as an herbalist professionally, using "plant spirit medicine" and bio-energetic ( 5 element)healing techniques. I feel that there is a big need in the community for my skills and talents. I hope to inspire others to start their own backyard pharmacies as a solution to species extinction and the healthcare crisis in America. Healing has also become a spiritual practice and way for me to feel balanced and connected with nature. I consult with clients in person, teach classes (adults and kids), give tours of my garden and offer apprenticeships. Health, joy, meaning, and support are everyone's birthright.

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