Urban Life Tips

5 Herbs for Cold & Flu

Cold and the Flu are caused by viruses so cannot be treated with antibiotics, which actually targets bacterial infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses whatsoever. The medications that are most often prescribed to those affected are over-the-counter pain killers, such as paracetamol, sedatives, and medications that help soothe the throat and clear congestion. None of these are cures though, and they are taken to ease uncomfortable symptoms rather than fight infection.

On the other hand, simple herbal medicines have been shown in studies to help speed up healing time and some evidence implies that they can even stop us from catching the virus in the first place. Below is a list of five herbs that are known for their healing properties along with how to use them for self-medication.

1. Lavender

The oils of this well known flower not only smell beautiful but help relieve headaches and calm the mind. Together with other calming herbs, such as Lemon Balm, and Valerian, it helps promote rest and peaceful sleep. To get the most of this flower, use Lavender essential oils to scent linens and pillows and try using it in a handmade sanitizer. It’s naturally anti-septic and anti-bacterial and on the skin will help stop pathogens from entering the system.

Lavender Scented Tissues – Instead of purchasing tissues scented with perfumes, layer tissues in a sealed container with fresh lavender flowers. Leave them for at least two weeks for maximum absorption of essential oils. These tissues will give a boost of calming aromatherapy each time they’re used to blow your nose.

2. Eucalyptus

The extract from the leaves of this aromatic tree are anti-septic and used to relieve coughs, sore throats, and congested lungs. The leaves are where the medicine is and either they themselves or their essential oils are used for anointing the chest, in teas, and in herbal steams. The effect is warming, and the oils help to clear the chest, and to relieve infection and pain.

Inhaling the vapor of a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil placed in boiling water can help clear sinus and bronchial infections.

3. Horehound

Record of Horehound’s use for coughs and chest problems go back to ancient Greece with the physician Dioscorides recommending a decoction (boiled tea) of the roots for tuberculosis, asthma, and coughs. This green herb from the mint family grows about 1.5 feet tall and its leaves are used in teas and syrups to help soothe the throat and to help the body to expel phlegm.

Boil 1 ounce of fresh or dried horehound leaves in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Strain off the leaves and measure the remaining liquid. Add twice as much honey as liquid and mix well. The syrup can be stored in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to two months. The dosage is 1 teaspoon up to four times a day to soothe a cough.
Important Note: Do not take horehound if you are pregnant or nursing.

4. Elderberry

Elderberry has not yet been proven to stop you from getting a cold but research has shown that it’s anti-viral properties help fight the flu and can reduce the recovery time of both colds and flu by half. Though it’s not recommended to eat the raw or raw-dried berries due to mild toxicity, when cooked, Elderberries are perfectly safe and are delicious as well as health boosting.

5. Valerian

One thing the body really needs when you’re ill is sleep. The body uses the restful period while you’re slumbering to focus its attention on healing. To help with this, you could take Valerian root instead of taking chemical-formulated sedatives. This herb is effective, safe, non-addictive, and reduces tension and promotes restful sleep. Best of all, it doesn’t give you that sleeping pill hangover in the morning.

Make a tea by covering 1 teaspoon of the dried root with 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes.

Important Note: Do not take valerian if you are pregnant.

Source: lovelygreens

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