HERB - Cold and Flu class notes

Sheron Buchele/Curtis Rowland foxryde at verinet.com
Sun Jan 24 17:49:53 PST 1999

Greetings to this fine list,

I have been overwhelmed with requests to just post it to the list.
Apologies to any who are paying by the minute or who are not interested,
but the notes are not long.

There was a lot of herbal farbling, not suprizingly.  I ended up talking a
lot of the outline and didn't take notes of what was discussed ( I was too
busy discussing!).

Here you go!   Any or all may be used with credit.


Herbal Cold & Flu Care
January 23, A.S. XXXIII
Baroness Leonora, O.P.
Premier Champion of the Domestic Arts to the Barony of Unser Hafen
Former Premier Champion of the Domestic Arts to the Crown of the Outlands
Master Healer to the Crown of the Outlands

To differentiate between a cold and a flu is beyond the scope of this class.  

This class is not an overview of how a person of the Middle Ages would
treat either malady.  That would greatly depend on where the person lived,
when they lived, and their degree of education.  That is a whole class in
and of itself.

We will review herbal safety, what you can and cannot expect from herbal
remedies, and then we will discuss symptoms and herbal relief.  We will
talk about what to do when you feel one coming on!  I will hand out some
recipes for various herbal preparations.

Herbal Safety:

Many herbs are completely safe to use, very effective, and easy to grow or
wildcraft.  For example, mint.  Mint tea is wonderful for a boost if you
are tired, delicious, and if you water it enough, it will grow fabulously.
Found in the wild, it is easy to identify.  Simply crush a leaf and sniff
it.  However, many common herbs have dangerous look-alikes.  (Discuss
mixing up mint with nettles in the wild)  Every year, people die from
eating foxglove leaves mistaking them for young comfrey or other greens.
Foxglove is a beautiful flower and the source of a life saving drug,
digitalis.  It is a powerful heart stimulant that can kill.

Buy organic herbs from a reputable grower or store.  If you wish to
wildcraft, have someone teach you.  It is possible to identify plants from
books safely, but you need a good book and usually to visit the plant when
it is blooming.  Better still, grow those herbs that you wish to have in
your garden or in pots.  We have wonderful light here; I am growing things
on the windowsill here that I only dreamed of in the Midwest.  Most
greenhouses have herb starts, or ask a friend for a start.  Many herbs will
grow fine from seeds.  

Label your herbs carefully.  Store them out of the light.  Keep them cool
and dry.  Discard them as they fade and loose odor.  Whole leaves will last
a full year, ground herbs turn to sawdust within a few months.  Whole
spices will keep for several years stored in brown glass.  I suggest buying
small quantities from a bulk seller.  The herbs in tins can be fine, just
much more expensive.  

What you can and cannot expect from herbal remedies

There are many different schools of herbal medicine.  Each has a slightly
different universe of plants, method of diagnosis, administration mode, and
way of viewing health.  
I will be discussing Western European with some New World/Native American
The general method of administration is either via capsule, tincture, or
Capsule: ground herbs in gel cap;
Tincture (t): soaking herbs in food-grade alcohol and water;
Tea (i): dried herbs hot water.

Herbs generally contain hundreds of different active compounds.  Science
often doesn't understand more than a couple of the active compounds.
Sometimes the most prevalent is viewed as be the active component - which
is later found to not have the desired action.  This is why I recommend
using whole herbs.

Speaking generally, herbs act in a gentle, holistic, and long-term fashion.
 They are not the "magic bullet" that modern drugs purport to be.  Be
prepared to drink 3 cups of tea a day for some time, depending on the
results desired.  I am always amazed by how well they work encouraging
heath from within.


Mullein - irritating coughs with bronchial congestion
Marshmallow root  - demulcent, expectorant, soothes inflamed mucosa; tea,
tincture, syrup
Anise - dry coughs with bronchial irritation  
Hyssop - anti spasmodic, good for thin phlegm
Thyme - anti-septic, expectorant, useful for thick, infected phlegm & dry
difficult coughs (esp bronchitis)

Runny nose & Stuffed up head
Sage - very good for infections of the mouth or throat, gargle the tea,
Golden rod - drying, astringent, phlegm-reducing, anti-inflammatory for mucosa
Catnip - dries up mucous congestion
Inhalants - essential oils dropped into bowl of steaming water: thyme,
eucalyptus, pine, rosemary
Peppermint -  breaks up congestion

Excess Phlegm:
Golden rod - drying, astringent, anti-inflammatory for mucosa, phlegm reducing
Elder flowers - especially for upper respiratory mucus, anti-inflammatory,

Induce sweating:
Cinnamon twigs or bark  (add ginger & drink to stave off chills)
Elder flowers

Cools fever: 
Yarrow flowers (t, aerial parts)

Sore throat: 
Slippery elm, marshmallow root - High in mucilage
Lady's Mantle - astringent, reduces inflammation, reduces laryngitis
Echinacea - antibacterial, astringent
Red Raspberry leaves - astringent

Aches and pains
Boneset - promotes sweating, reduces fever, expectorant, good for hot
feverish colds, and muscle pain with flu
White willow bark - also soothes stomach

Best Old Wives Tale
Chicken soup (actually studies have born out the use)

What to do when you feel one coming on:
Echinacea - 4 caps every 4 hours for 2 to 3 days
Vitamin C
Plenty of liquids (hot tea of elder flowers and lemon balm - inhibit the
growth of viruses)
Eat lightly and healthy foods
Lots of rest and keep warm

Keep one away:
Astragalus - boost immune function
Siberian ginseng - 8 weeks 2 week break

Cold and Flu Care Recipes 
- by Baroness Leonora, Premier Domestic Champion to the Baronage of Unser
Hafen, A.S. XXXIII

Ginger citrus drink - wonderfully soothing for sore throats, helps with
nausea, and helps to reduce symptoms of congestion.

1 good sized hand of ginger
2 organic oranges
4 organic lemons
Honey to taste

Put 6 cups of filtered water to boil.  Wash the ginger and the fruit well.
Slice entire fruits into thin slices using a sharp knife, remove and
discard any seeds.  Slice ginger into thin slices or, alternately, into
chunks, which should be well crushed.  When the water comes to a boil, add
the fruit and ginger.  Turn heat down to a simmer.  Cover and allow to
simmer for about 30 minutes.  Strain concentrate into clean glass jar.  

To use: pour half a cup of concentrate into a mug, add several tablespoons
of honey (to taste), fill with water.  Warm in the microwave for several
minutes until hot.  Stir and serve.

Fever tea - drink several hot cups of tea, go to bed, bundle yourself up
and sweat out a fever

4 sticks of cinnamon bark, crushed
Put cinnamon bark into 4 cups of filtered water.  Cover, bring to boil,
reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove from heat.  Add 2 teaspoons of elder flowers, 2 teaspoons boneset
aerial parts.  Allow to steep for 10 minutes.  Strain and serve with honey.

Horehound Cough Syrup

6 cups filtered water
25 g. dried horehound
10 g. dried mullein
20 g. dried thyme

Bring water to a boil in a large stainless steel pan.  Add herbs and stir
well.  Cover tightly and reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes.

Strain herbs out with a coffee filter.  Return infusion to the pan.  Add 2
cups of sugar.  Boil uncovered until reduced by half.  Add ½ cup of honey.

Cover and cool slightly.  Pour into sterilized bottles, cap tightly.  Will
store on the counter for 1 month or keep in the refrigerator for 6 months.

If you wish, you may cook this until hard crack stage (300 degrees F) to
make a hard candy.

Chicken Soup

1 - 2 to 3 pound organic chicken, washed well
5 to 10 cloves of garlic
5 shredded carrots
5 sliced potatoes
1 large onion chopped roughly
Other vegetables as desired: squash, mushrooms, celery, cabbage, etc.
2 bay leaves

Put ingredients into a large heavy-bottomed stainless steel pan.  Cover
with filtered water by at least 2".  Put on the stove and bring to a good
simmer.  Simmer until the chicken is very done - the meat falls away from
the bones easily.  Take the pot from the heat.  Remove the chicken from the
pan and set on a large platter.  Allow to cool slightly.  Remove meat from
bones.  I usually only use about half of the meat in the soup.  I save the
rest for sandwiches.  

Shred the meat back into the pot.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh
jalapano peppers (more or less as desired - you want a goodly heat to
encourage your nose to run but not enough to corrode your stomach!)  Add 1
roughly chopped tomato.  Heat through.  Squeeze in the juice of 1 large
lemon and any fresh chopped herbs desired.  Add salt and freshly ground
pepper to taste.  Serve it forth!

  Practice random acts of intelligence & senseless acts of self-control. 
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