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HERBAL HEALING FOR THE FLU - Healing and Prevention
The Herbal 1-2-3 Punch for Swine Flu (H1N1)
The Community of Herbs
Catnip, My Hero


HERBAL HEALING FOR THE FLU - Healing and Prevention (RETURN TO TOP)

Did you know that flu shots don't give protection from all types of flu but only the ones the makers guess will be active this winter?

Prevention
Building a powerful immune system may be the best way to prevent the flu. Of course, this will not guarantee that you will not get the flu, but it cannot hurt and may (in most cases) help.

We all now understand that we are not just physical beings but, first and foremost spiritual, emotional beings as well. As such, staying healthy means decreasing stress and thinking loving, positive thoughts as often as possible. Meditation and prayer are wonderful ways to bring us to a loving space in our hearts and minds. Just 5-10 minutes a day in meditation can make a big difference in our overall health.

Herbal Infusions
Drink lots of whole plant herbal infusions (teas) to keep your body well nourished and well hydrated. These herbs are brimming with vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, antioxidants, free radical scavengers and so much that work to help you avoid the flu (and colds too).
Make your infusions (teas) strong using up to 1 oz of herb or herb blend per quart of water and let steep for at least 4 hours or overnight. Strain, refrigerate and drink 2 to 4 cups daily.

Anti-Viral Herbs
Flu and the cold are caused by viruses, which are harder to treat than bacterial infections. One of my favorite anti-viral herbs for prevention is St. John's wort, (L. name Hypericum perforatum) although echinacea and some others work well, too. Take 1 dropperfull each day for prevention. Note: If you already have the flu, take 1 dropperful 2 to 3 x day.

Immune Boosting Soups
Soups are an easy and delicious way to infuse all the healing properties of herbs right into your food. Include herbs like astragalus root, dandelion, eleutherococcus and burdock root. I put these tough roots in a small, muslin bag and infuse it in my pot of soup so I can just pull the bag out when the soup is done. Make sure to add lots of onion and garlic for their amazing immune-enhancing qualities and don’t forget the medicinal mushrooms and sea vegetables. You can use some or all of these immune boosting herbs in almost all soups you make.

If You Get The Flu
The main herb to use is boneset (L. name Eupatorium perfoliatum) mixed with a bit of red root (L. name Ceanothus fendleri), in tincture form. boneset is an immune stimulant that has a long history of being used effectively in cases of influenza and fever. The herb's common name of boneset was derived from its ability to break the terrible fevers associated with the flu. These fevers were so severe that they were described as bone fever. Red root is a wonderful lymph system stimulant, tonic, anti-inflammatory and more.

Oil of Oregano. According to Cass Ingram, M.D., in her book, The Cure is in the Cupboard, "oil of oregano is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it might destroy free radicals that cause cancer, strokes and heart disease. Oregano oil works as an antioxidant because of several potent compounds, including rosmarinic acid, hydroxycinnamic acid, p-hydroxyhydrocaffeic acid and labiatic acid.” The American Cancer Society adds that the oregano herb contains about 30 times more antioxidant capacity than oranges and 42 times the antioxidant power of apples. Personal note: In researching Oil of Oregano products, I found that dosages vary quite a bit. Many companies dilute with a lot of olive oil which can decrease the strength of their product so make sure you are purchasing a quality product.

If there is emotional exhaustion (and there usually is) use motherwort herb in tincture form to help calm the emotional heart. It is also a good idea to make up some beautiful herbal teas using herbs like chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower, etc. to help nourish the nervous system and add some slippery elm to help protect the stomach and provide the body with some much needed nutrients.

The following is an herbal protocol that gets great results but, please note, every physiology is unique so heed your inner wisdom. For the most part, herbs are pretty safe, but do take time to learn about the herbs you are using as a few should be used with caution. You can also check with a qualified herbalist if you are unsure how to begin.

NOTE: This protocol is contraindicated in pregnancy.

• Boneset w/red root tincture: 1 dropperful 2 to 4 x day in a little water
• Oil of Oregano: For the first few days, take about 5-10 drops (depending on the product preparation) in water 3 to 4 x day, then decrease to 2-4 drops 2 x day as symptoms lessen.

Note: Dosages can vary from one product to another, so make sure you are purchasing a quality product and follow package directions.

• Motherwort tincture: 1 dropperful 2-4 x day and as needed.
• Herbal infusions (tea): Drink freely throughout the day, but at least 1 cup 2-4 x day.

Every day, more and more of us are coming back to the knowing that herbs are our powerful allies for both prevention and healing. Open yourself to the earth and all her healing medicines. She is waiting for you and she will answer – all you need to do is ask.

Kathleen Gould, Herbalist RH


The Herbal 1-2-3 Punch for Swine Flu (RETURN TO TOP)

Cold and flu season is just around the corner and the Center for Disease Control as well as the World Health Organization have made us all very aware of the possibility of a Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreak this fall.

The H1N1 flu virus triggers what is called a "cytokine storm". Wikipedia's explanation of a cytokine storm is - When the immune system is fighting this virus, cytokines signal immune cells such as T-cells and macrophages to travel to the site of infection. In addition, cytokines activate those cells, stimulating them to produce more cytokines. Normally, this feedback loop is kept in check by the body. However, in some instances, the reaction becomes uncontrolled, and too many immune cells are activated in a single place. The precise reason for this is not entirely understood but may be caused by an exaggerated response when the immune system encounters a new and highly pathogenic invader. Cytokine storms have potential to do significant damage to body tissues and organs. If a cytokine storm occurs in the lungs, for example, fluids and immune cells such as macrophages may accumulate and eventually block off the airways, potentially resulting in death.

If someone in your office comes in sick (sneezing, coughing etc.) why is it that even though everyone is exposed to the virus or bacteria, some get sick while others do not?  Medical studies have shown the presence of virulent viruses and bacteria in many peoples' systems through they themselves never become ill.  The people who do not get sick all have something in common; their immune systems keep an infection from taking over their bodies.  Our immune system is our first line of defense so keeping our immune system healthy is the most important thing we can do right now - before the virus comes into our communities.  Then let's look at what to do when the virus comes into our community and finally what we can do should the virus come into our homes.  Hopefully by the time the virus comes into our community, our immune system will keep it out of our homes.
 
#1 - What To Do Now
Strengthening the Immune System

One of the simplest things we can do is to start drinking a quart or so of whole herb herbal tea daily.  Whole herbs are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that feed and support our overall bodies and including our immune systems.  Make up a big pot of tea and sweeten with stevia (sweet herb), honey or agave and store it in the refrigerator.  Each day as you leave your house, fill your sports bottle with your tea and sip it throughout the day. Drinking your teas hot or warm helps wash out viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

·
Herbs like ashwagandha, astragalus, oatstraw, licorice root, nettle, red clover, dandelion etc. are great, but all the herbs are helpful.  Just make sure they are whole loose herbs (not tea bags), preferably organic or wildcrafted. 
·
Eat whole, life-giving foods from living soils. 
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Eat more medicinal mushrooms i.e. shitake, reishi , etc.
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Eat only animal products from pasture-fed animals. 
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Include herbs like garlic, onion, turmeric and other good quality culinary herbs in your cooking.
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Smile, laugh, love.
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GET EMPOWERED!  Take a  herb class at a local herb shop to learn how to make simple herbal remedies, then make up tinctures of echinacea, astragalus, boneset, red root, St. John's wort, eleutherococcus and skullcap (these classes could be one of the best gifts you ever give yourself and your family).

#2 - When the Virus Comes Into Our Community

·
Gargle twice a day with warm salt water to help prevent proliferation of the virus.
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Clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Using a Neti Pot to clean nasal cavities is very effective in bringing down viral population.
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Wash your hands frequently and try not to touch your face.
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Continue drinking your daily herbal teas.
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Begin taking astragalus tincture 1 dropperful 2 to 3 x day.
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Begin taking St. John's wort tincture 1 dropperful 2 x day.
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Add herbs to your daily teas that nourish your nervous system.  Herbs like skullcap, passion flower, oatstraw, chamomile, etc.
·
Eat whole life -iving foods from living soils.
·
Eat only animal products from pasture-fed animals.
·
Smile, laugh, love.

  #3 - Flu In Your Home

·
Start taking curcumin (tumeric) supplements.
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Drink green tea.
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Take boneset, red root and St. John's wort tincture (mix these together if you like) - 1 dropperful 2 - 3 x day.
·
Eat whole life-living foods from living soils.
·
Eat only animal products from pasture-fed animals.
·
Smile, laugh, love (add rest and TLC).

For more information on these and other great medicinal herbs check with your local herbalist or visit your local herb shop.  Knowledge is Power.  GET EMPOWERED!


The Community of Herbs (RETURN TO TOP)

Even before Mary got to the classroom door, she could hear the laughter and felt a lightness of spirit come over her.  As the door opened, she was embraced by an array of wonderful smells - strong earthy aromas, sweet florals, exotic spices and others she had never experienced.  Once inside, she found the room filled with an electric excitement with people moving around, talking, and laughing.  Her eyes fell on the source of these smells - long tables filled with a plethora of medicinal herbs of every color and texture giving off their amazing aromas like a gift sent especially for her. Another excited participant walked over, introduced herself, and handed Mary a cup of delicious herbal tea. At that moment, they both knew a special friendship had begun.

This is a scenario we are seeing in communities all over the country.  More and more people are frustrated and seeking a simpler life.  We feel disconnected from our neighbors, families and our earth.  Living in this world of technology, we often forget how important it is to our wellbeing to nurture healthy, happy friendships.  Without friends to love and laugh with, we often become depressed and lonely and our physical health begins to fade. Many of us are saddened by the destruction of our environment and this affects not only our physical bodies but our spiritual and emotional bodies as well.  Today, people are losing their jobs and their medical insurance, and are looking for inexpensive alternatives for their healthcare.  Herbal healing answers all of these needs.

As she always does, Mother Nature has sat quietly by and waited for us to return to her ancient healing plants and today, thousands of people are seeking her wisdom once again. Learning to use herbs for healing not only brings us together in the classroom, it also brings us together as a community. The knowledge you have once you’ve learned to use whole herbs is so empowering you never have to feel like a victim again.  Herbs give us the tools we need to care for any illness that may present itself.  These powerful medicines have been used since the beginning of time.  It is only in the past 40-50 years that we seem to have forgotten these amazing gifts of the earth.  When we use whole plants for our healing, it keeps us connected to our beautiful Mother Earth as we stay in the knowing that it is the earth that provides our healing medicines and foods.  We, then, walk more lightly on the earth.

Herbs are living beings and it is important to know they are here to heal us on all levels (physical, emotional and spiritual).  We have seen and are vaguely aware of many of these simple, wild weeds. It is as though we have been asleep and seemingly forgotten them.  Simple but very powerful little weeds like Dandelion, Echinacea, Chamomile and thousands more are waiting quietly for us to rediscover them so they can once again share their healing wisdom.

When you have a shelf full of these simple herbs in your home and are be able to brew a safe and healing tea, make soothing herbal syrup, or create a liquid extract in your own kitchen, you will feel their empowerment. The wellbeing of you and your family is now in your healing hands.

Finding a qualified herbalist that teaches this ancient art of herbal healing is easier than ever.  These teachers are popping up all over the country.  Once, their classes had only a handful of students.  Now, they are filled with people all ages, races and religions coming together to create a growing community of empowered healers. It has been said that “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”  In these troubled times, the teachers may be as close as the earth and her healing plants right outside your own back door.



Catnip, My Hero
(RETURN TO TOP)

Years ago, women regularly grew medicinal herb gardens to give them the medicines they needed to care for themselves, their families, and people in their community. Having stood the test of time, these simple, yet powerful herbs, are making a strong come back in backyards all across the country.

Plants in the mint family were some of the easiest to grow and, more importantly, had a plethora of uses. There are many varieties of mints today. Perhaps the oldest and most popular one is catnip, Latin name Nepeta cataria, is undoubtedly best recognized as an intoxicating herb that cats find irresistible.

Catnip makes a pleasant tasting tea that is loaded with totally absorbable vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. One of the most well known uses is an infusion of catnip to help induce a restful night’s sleep. To make your Catnip Nightcap, put 1 heaping teaspoon full of dried catnip (or 1-2 tablespoons full, fresh catnip) in a cup. Fill with boiling water and cover tightly. Steep 20-30 minutes, strain (add honey or stevia if you like a sweeter tea) and drink before bed – sweet dreams! Note: Catnip is believed to help prevent nightmares too.

Catnip is a mild antibacterial, the leaves being chewed to help the pain of toothache or headache. Catnip helps stomach aches by calming the nerves; the tea is also helpful for stress, anxiety, tension and nervousness.

Externally, the macerated plant (called a poultice) is used directly on the skin for pain, sprains, bruises and insect bites to slow bleeding and speed healing or as a liniment to ease the pain of arthritis. A thick salve either applied directly or made into suppositories is very useful for hemorrhoids.

Make a strong infusion for use as a hair rinse for scalp irritations; as eyewash for inflammation, allergies and bloodshot eyes or as an enema to cleanse the bowel.

Women sing catnip’s praise for its antispasmodic properties in calming menstrual cramping and it’s soothing and calming properties for PMS, anxiety, stress and tension. It is also used to regulate periods and for delayed or suppressed menstruation. What else could a girl want?

With its myriad of uses in childhood imbalances, mom will never want to be without catnip. Catnip will help calm a child when they are teething, colicky or restless. When given for colds and fevers, it helps the child get the rest they need. A catnip enema has brought down a stubborn fever when nothing else worked. It is a gentle calmative for hyperactive children and a good digestive for an upset tummy. When your child is over excited or sick, making a catnip bath is often a mother’s hero. To make: bring a big pot of water to a boil. Take off the heat and add a couple of big handfuls of catnip to the pot. Cover tightly and let steep 45 minutes or longer. Strain off into bathtub and adjust water temperature before placing child in bath. This is a great bath for a stressed out mommy too, so you may both want to get in that catnip tub together! Catnip baths are a specific for the hyperactive child.

For respiratory infections, drinking hot catnip tea increases perspiration, effectively brings down fevers, and acts as a decongestant. At first sign of a cold or flu, begin drinking hot catnip tea frequently (2-4 cups throughout the day). It is also helpful in bronchitis and asthma, sore throats, coughs and sinusitis, as well as eruptive infections such as chicken pox and measles.

Iowa State University have proven that nepetalactone (the oil that gives catnip its smell) can be a more effective bug repellent than DEET by a factor of one hundred. Especially because DEET has been known to cause toxic reactions to some of its users, catnip—a less harmful product by far—may be the next wave of bug repellent (http://chemistry.about.com/library/weekly/aa103001a.htm)

Catnip is an extremely safe herb and there are no listed warnings or contraindications.

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For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Use as directed. Individual results may vary.