Herb Network: HeN

Cold Remedy Recipes

HeN: Local herb networks for growing, learning, sharing the gifts of the Plant realm for health support and remedy, caring for ourselves and Earth. COUGHS, COLDS AND FLU: A HEN  PRIORITY

Whenever we cannot breathe well, our whole body suffers (and usually friends and family too).  Breath is our prime way of receiving life force (not just oxygen+) and releasing waste.  It is also our fundamental key to understanding life's cycles and interconnectivity.  As we are discovering the perils of antibiotics and other synthetic drugs, and witnessing an over-burdened National Health Service, we can  be encouraged to renew and update skills and knowledge that were common just a few generations ago: household basic health care with herbs.  Because locally grown plants give us the most effective benefits, HeN has been initiated for community growing and sharing of herbs.  Starting the HeN how-to articles with cough and cold remedies is not only because of the importance of healthy respiratory function, also because the Plant realm offers us a wide range of safe herbs, easily grown locally,  for this range of maladies.

Horehound  should be available to every household where anyone is prone to cough.  An infusion (tea) is among the safest and speediest remedies for most every sort of cough - and unusually universal, benefitting almost everyone who uses it properly.  See the HeN article "Herbal Simples" for further details and about other helpful cough-n-cold herbs, and contact the local HeN hub person (details at end) if you are interested in hosting plants.  See "The Mighty Elder" re influenza remedy.  Following are two recipes worth making up to have on hand from Rosemary Gladstar's "Herbal Medicine, A Beginner's Guide" (with my comments) - a book which I recommend to everyone who wants to begin basic herbal home care.  (She has also published "Herbal Remedies for Children's Health".) These are widely known recipes which have been found very effective.

Live (unpasteurized) apple cider vinegar has legion benefits on its own (garlic too).  Used to make the following herbal macerates brings it to another, higher level of health aid.  We are fortunate in West Somerset to have good apple cider vinegar on tap at the Torre Cider Farm.  As small amounts of live cider vinegar can be outrageously expensive, it is worth seeking out local wholesale wholefood ordering groups (e.g. from SUMA) for wholesale price 5 litre bottles of Meridian Organic Cider Vinegar.  Or finding a cider farm who will sell and ship at affordable price, or... Good luck!

FOR COLDS  Four Thieves Vinegar  (Gladstar page 73)
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup lavender flowers (English not French)
1/2 cup rosemary leaves
1/2 cup (common) sage leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 (common) thyme leaves
1 teaspoon clove powder
Apple cider vinegar, organic unpasteurized, approx 1 litre
Place the garlic and herbs in a wide mouthed litre (or larger) jar and add enough warmed cider to cover them. (Warming the vinegar allows it to more actively draw the properties out of the herbs.)  Place the jar in a warm spot (near a sunny window is fine) and let sit for 3 to 4 weeks.  (Shake lovingly every day.)  Strain then pour into a glass jar / bottle with a tight fitting lid. (Place waxed or greaseproof paper between lid and jar to prevent lid rusting).  Store in a cool dark place where it will keep for up to a year.  To use: Take 1 to 2 tablespoons every 3 to 4 hours to ward off illness, and use liberally as a flavouring agent.  (Rinse mouth after to protect tooth enamel.)

FOR FLU, AT FIRST SIGN (which is sudden high fever), or colds Fire Cider (Gladstar page 74)
1 medium onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated ginger root
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated horseradish root
Apple cider vinegar, organic unpasteurized, approx 1 litre
Cayenne powder (cayenne or chilli is not beneficial for everyone. If in doubt leave it out.)
Combine the vegetables in a wide mouthed glass jar and add enough vinegar to cover them.  (Proceed as above. After straining:) Add honey and cayenne to taste.  The finished product should taste lively, hot pungent, and sweet.  To use: Take 1-2 tablespoons at first sign of symptoms  (rinse mouth after to protect tooth enamel), and repeat every 3-4 hours until symptoms subside.


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