Hi everyone! If you’re like me, you’re home right now doing your best to stay sane and healthy during this time. We all have to do what we can to keep our bodies healthy and happy during our “social distancing” efforts. As anyone who knows me can tell you…social distancing isn’t something I’ve ever thought to do. I love people, conversation and interacting with my friends and family on a daily basis. Right now I miss so much serving you in the studio and helping you feel good whether that is through massage, manicures, swapping recipes and stories or sharing herbal wellness information and ideas. You are each very important to me and this is why I have decided to write my first blog post. It’s my way to stay connected with you until I can give you a big hug again…and it will come soon I am confident.
As I spent the last week in self quarintine waiting to hear the test results of one of our beloved staff members, I had a lot of time to think about what I could do to help in some way during this scary time. Here’s what I’ve come up with…I can share with you what I’m doing with my family to stay as strong and as well as possible.
Saturday was a beautiful sunny day which provided me with some much needed outside time. I spent the entire day making herbal remedies and flower essences. Some of these you probably have in your backyard too. Usnea, dandelion, blue violet to name a few. All potent and magical little weeds.
As I was picking up limbs out of the yard I realized they were literally covered with herbal medicine. Usnea, which is a lichen/algae plant grows freely here. It is often called “old man’s beard” It looks like light green little strands dangling off branches. This herb is a powerful remedy and it couldn’t be better timed. As I described in my newsletter in the COVID-19 support article, Usnea is a potent immune stimulant. It kicks your immune system in gear when there are pathogens (cooties) present. Usnea works as a powerful antibacterial, antifungal and wait for it…ANTIVIRAL! This is one of the herbs to use right now to ramp up your body’s natural defense. Usnea is used as an effective remedy in sore throats, strep throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, sinus infections, colds, flu and other respiratory complaints. It is also a great remedy to use during urinary tract infections, wound healing when used topically, and yeast infections and thrush. What a great little backyard remedy. You can make a tincture of this herb to extract the most medicinal properties. This herb doesn’t lend well to teas simply because the compounds aren’t all water soluble. I like to use a double extraction method for this herb. First, I tincture it in 100 proof alcohol and then do a second decoction in water. When you combine the two parts, then you have the full potency of the herb. There are several articles online how to do this at home, or you may contact me directly for the specifics. I have a big batch going right now that will be an ingredient in my immune supporting formula.
Echinacea is another well known herb that we can all use right now to support our immune systems. This is another immune stimulating herb. I don’t recommend taking these types of herbs long term because it isn’t necessary to constantly stimulate the system…and honestly would create an imbalance in the system over time which could be counter productive. That being said, under the current situation with this virus, I think a daily cup of echinacea tea is an excellent support to the system. You can often find immune support tea blends ready blended at the store. Try one of these for a little insurance to your wellness.
Reishi mushroom is an amazing mushroom that works in our bodies to help the immune system modulate or respond appropriately to stimulus. Modulating herbs are less stimulating and therefore lend themselves to daily use. I put reishi in many of my tonic and elixir recipes as a boost to our body’s defense system. This herb is also in a class called adaptogenic herbs. That means it literally helps our body adapt to stress, disease and other imbalances to restore a level of homeostasis. Reishi is edible but I think its like shoe leather so instead I make a double extraction of it as well. It is very helpful in use with conditions such as bronchitis, allergies, asthma, restless leg syndrome, blood pressure, cholesterol and hormone balance. For an immune support it is full of antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Yup, this one is in my immune support formula, too.
Now this next one is pretty common these days…good ol Elderberry. I often think as a society, we Americans tend to think that if a little bit of something is good then a ton of it must be awesome, right? Well, yes and no. In my opinion elderberry gets overused and over promoted (hear me say commercialized). If you are taking elderberry syrup and the first ingredient is sugar, you are getting very little benefit. Most that I have seen sold are a high sugar content and very little good stuff…and wow that stuff at the store is way too expensive. Yes, elderberry is great for the respiratory system and great to help with respiratory infections and breaking up congestion. What I’m saying is use it when you think you’ve been exposed to a “bug” or are actively having symptoms. For daily support, I think it’s over kill. Perhaps, daily during cold and flu season but not “er day forever and ever”. Also, it’s important to note that too much elderberry works as a laxative…probably not what you were going for so use it in moderation.
I could ramble on forever about these immune support herbs. It’s part of my herbal work that I feel passionate about. Not just during the coronavirus outbreak, but on a regular basis, we should support our body’s natural defenses by using health supporting herbs, eating the freshest foods possible, getting plenty of rest and managing stress on a regular basis. I prefer to help my body stay in a state of wellness rather than working to fight an illness. Do your research and learn more about the immune supporting herbs that best meet your individual needs. Good luck and stay well. I hope to see you soon! If you are interested in purchasing my Immune Support formula feel free to contact me directly.