An Herbal Approach to Cold and Flu Season

Create: 10/31/2016 - 18:49

Over the last few days, many of my clients have asked should they vaccinate or not against the Flu. The number one question at this time of year. Many of us are quite frankly confused as to the preventative/treatment approach for ourselves and family members. As practicing herbalist, I have been asked my opinion on this provocative issue.

Vaccinations are sometimes necessary. The elderly, persons with a compromised immune system and very young children should be protected. Caregivers are needed and are often not enough. Therefore, caregivers and educators should consider getting vaccinated. With that being said, the decision to be vaccinated should be weighed carefully. Are there sensible and easy options to protect you and your family without being vaccinated, while the choice is still ours? Sure there are, and one choice is to use an herbal approach.

Herbalism like prevention, is all about personal responsibility, responsibility to yourself and others. If you are sick, prevent others from being so by self-quarantining. Most employers have viewed the flu a serious enough illness to encourage their employees to utilize their sick days when feeling ill.

Prevention in this case and in all other health concerns, is the most worthwhile consideration. Specifically for this flu season, building your immune system should be your utmost concern.

Herbs that build the immune system that can be taken prior to feeling ill are:

Astragulus (Astragalus Membranaceus), Reshi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) and Elder Berries (Sambuca Nigra) are all herbs that can be taken as a tea or tincture during the flu season on a preventative basis.  They are immune enhancers and are best taken before cold and flu season strikes; they help to build the body's natural resistance.

My best advice to you is to know your body and recognize the symptoms of illness. Everyone begins to feel ill in a different way; fatigue, sore throat, headache, nausea, chills, etc. The first hour of an illness setting in is most important in treating that illness.

An herbal approach to treatment of the flu includes all of the following: clearing toxins and excess conditions by increasing sweating, killing germs and reducing fever, pains, stiffness and congestion.

This is accomplished by stimulating a natural immune system response. Here are a few symptoms and how they could be handled with herbal medicine.


- At the first signs of the Flu - a diaphoretic remedy such as Yarrow Flowers (Achillea millefolium) which can be taken; it will encourage sweating and help to eliminate toxins. A tea or tincture of Yarrow can be taken in small doses every half hour to an hour.

- If your cold symptoms become inflammatory, take an herbal antibiotic or anti-microbial - such as Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis) or Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) in tea or tincture of up to 7 days. These are both powerful herbs and should be regarded as such.

- If you are congested, have a cough or phlegm present - use an expectorant, astringent, and antispasmodic herb. Echinacea can kill germs and dries phlegm. Echinacea can be a drying herb, so you should not take when you have a dry cough. Use an herbal steam of Peppermint (Menta piperita) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globules) to help with the congestion. Other herbs that can help are: Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale), and Thyme (Thymus vulagris).

- For a sore throat - use a soothing demulcent (an herb which provides moisture) such as Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis) and Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra). A gargle can be made with Yarrow, Sage (Salvia officinales) and or Echinacea.

Above all use common sense when feeling ill; avoid cold, raw foods, dairy products, dress warmly, and get the rest your body needs. Do eat lots of garlic in your diet, miso soups, and organic vegetable broths. Take care of yourselves and each other this flu season!

Theabove information is not intended to diagnose or treat the flu, and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.


Karen M. Rose | Sacred Vibes Healing | Brooklyn, NY | Visit my website for further information on my services and classes.


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