“Every home should have a herbal medicine cupboard.”
Barbara Griggs As a herbalist I rely on herbs in my home in all sorts of ways to keep myself and my family healthy. This is not always in the form of tinctures as these bespoke formulas need to be prescribed by a licensed practitioner. However, there are many ways you can incorporate powerful herbs into your life every day to support your physical and emotional health. This week I am running a series describing how you can utilise useful herbs or traditional herbal remedies that you will likely already have on hand or can easily obtain, to keep you well and calm during this time. I hope you find it helpful. 💛
Garlic is very good for immune support, it is antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. It is most powerful when eaten raw. Peel and crush the individual garlic cloves and wait 10 minutes before eating to allow the enzymes to convert substances in the garlic making them more powerful. • Use cold in sandwiches, salads, antipasti. • Add it to hot meals at the end of cooking. • Eat it however you like – some people swallow garlic cloves on their own! • For someone who doesn’t like garlic much, hide it under tomatoes, smother in honey or nut butter. • Infuse it in a lemon, ginger and honey drink. • A traditional use is to rub on the soles of feet as it can permeate skin and make its way through to your respiratory system (as long as you don’t have cuts on your feet). You can hide the taste and smell on your breath by eating parsley! Another fabulous detoxifying herb. Warning: Garlic should not be taken by those on blood thinning anticoagulant medication. Please see your practitioner for more information.
Fire Cider Vinegar
What is it? Fire Cider is a popular traditional herbal remedy used across the world. There are many variations, but the base is comprised of fresh garlic, onion, ginger, fresh horseradish and chilli – in apple cider vinegar.
You may also add addition spices – ginger, chilli or mustard seed will help even more. Dosage: Take a tablespoon or dilute with water to taste, every day. You can also add it to your food, as salad dressing or sprinkle it on your greens just before eating! You may also dilute it with water and gargle with it for a sore throat. Ingredients: Estimate amounts to suit you and what you have at home. ¼ cup of fresh grated horseradish A couple of pinches of black pepper 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or fresh chilli – chopped 2 tbsps turmeric powder or ¼ cup of fresh grated turmeric A litre of apple cider vinegar ½ cup of fresh grate ginger 1 onion – chopped 1 bulb of garlic (peel and crush cloves first) You can also add cinnamon, cloves, thyme, oregano, rosemary…. 1. Put ingredients in a jar. 2. Cover everything with the apple cider vinegar 3. Put a tight lid on the jar and steep for 3 weeks, move it each day to help the process. You can start by taking a tablespoon of the mixture from the first day, it will get stronger every day. 4. Strain and add honey to taste. 5. Label and store in fridge, it can last for up to a year in fridge or 3-6 months on shelf. 🥵
Green tea or epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
Recommended amount: 4 cups daily
The humble, or perhaps not, cup of Green tea (latin name Camellia sinensis), is high in protective polyphenols. The major polyphenols in green tea are flavonoids (EGCG), which function as powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to protect the body against disease and are an important part of a healthy diet.
An equal quantity of green tea contains less caffeine than coffee (one cup of green tea contains approximately 35-80 mg compared to approximately 100-400 mg in the same size cup of coffee), but it can still act as a stimulant. As a result, some people find that drinking green tea increases energy levels, concentration and mood but this effect may vary between individuals. The type and brand of tea you use, temperature and steeping time all have a significant effect on the antioxidant levels of brewed green tea. Warm and ambient temperatures are the best to retain antioxidants. Let the boiling water cool slightly before pouring onto the tea leaves and allow to steep for between 2 and 3 minutes. Up to date research highlighted by the Institute for Functional Medicine, indicates that in addition to reducing inflammation, green tea enhances the immune system and targets one of the processes involved in COVID-19 replication*(EGCG Suppresses NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation in Primary Macrophages). *https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/11/2138
Onion and garlic poultice
This is a very old but effective remedy for stubborn coughs and pneumonia. When placed on the chest, the heat from the poultice seeps into the skin to break up the coagulated mucous and bring down inflammation. Onions are also credited with expectorant properties that may further help in thinning out the mucous secretions, making them easier to expel. Some people find instant relief, some people find temporary aggravation as the mucus is released. How You need 3 onions, a few cloves of garlic and some apple cider vinegar. Chop finely saving any juice as much as possible. Combine the chopped onion and garlic in a bowl and mix with cornflour or other flour (around half a cup) and some tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. Respiratory herbs like thyme may help too. Make a paste that is thick enough to stay in place. Transfer the paste into a clean cloth the size and shape of the person’s lung area. Wrap the cloth over so you have a sandwich of the required size. Get the person to sit on a chair. Apply the cloth ‘sandwich’ to the back and place a hot water bottle over it. Make sure they are covered with a blanket so as not to get cold. This can be applied on either front or back. Information coming out of Covid-19 areas is that it is often better for patients to rest on front as it takes pressure off the lungs.