February is just around the corner, and I am starting to think about seed potatoes already. This can only mean that spring is also around the corner. So, if winter is fast coming to an end, why should we now be thinking about colds and flu?
Certainly colds and flu are two of the commonest conditions that we will be faced with to treat with our Natural First Aid kit. The reason I have come to this now is, from my experience, the time for colds and flu is not in the heart of winter, but in the autumn and spring. For holistic practitioners, colds and flu are seen more as a natural cleansing mechanism than as a disease.
In our more primitive existence, winter challenged our ability to survive. In those times we lived outside more and therefore our bodies were more in touch and affected by the changing seasons. Just like the plants that know when to flower and set seed, or the birds that know it is time to flock and migrate, our bodies too knew it was time to cleans, and thus strengthen themselves, for the long cold months ahead. This could be achieved in the autumn months through the symptoms experienced in colds and flu.
To get through those long winter months in northern climates, we had to store in meat, nuts and grains. Fresh fruit and vegetable was scarce, especially fresh leafy vegetable. Our havy dependence on meats, nuts and grains, the metabolism of which leaves acid in the body, creates an imbalance that needs to be cleansed. Again, the acid excesses of winter can be thrown off through the symptoms of colds and flu.
As you have gone through this series, as well as other posts on my blog, you will have noticed that I am not a big supporter of formula, certainly not in chronic cases. I believe in matching an individual herb to a unique patient profile and then building the supporting herbs around it to make up a prescription. However, there is one mixture that we can add to our Natural First Aid kit, and treat it as one herb.
A number of years ago, when I was living in my lovely thatched cottage in Dorset, my parents came to stay for a couple of weeks. Some time during that visit, my Dad began to show the first sniffles and symptoms of cold. He told me, and I quickly went into action. I got out a herbal tea I keep for just such occasions. It contains equal parts of Elderflower (Sambucus nigra), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and Linden/Lime flowers (Tillia europea/cordata). Quite a number of herbalists already combine Yarrow and Elderflower, but they tend to add Peppermint as the traditional third. I prefer the Lime flowers in mine.
Anyway, I made a teaspoon to one cup of boiling water, infused for about 5-10 minutes, and gave it to my Dad to drink. I told him to have a hot bath and go to bed. The mixture will induce a light sweaty due on the skin…releasing those toxins. It will also afford a deep and restful healing sleep. You can drink this tea several times over the course of the day, but it is that last cup and bath combination that really works well.
The next day, my Dad was bounding around. He said, I don’t know what you gave me last night but it sure worked. I have observed that the best results occur if this is taken as soon as the first signs of a cold begin to appear. If you wait until it gets more established, you are in for a longer healing process.
Equally, the mixture is of value in flu. It is the Yarrow that is the key ingredient in bringing on a lovely light sweat. This will not only bring out the toxins in flu, but also cool the outer body. Fever is a vital part of the healing process and if not too extreme should be left to do its good work. If there is a need to control it when too high, then simply wet a cloth or sock in very cold tap water and put it on the right foot to draw the heat away. I have had this done to me and it brings down the fever to a productive level and allows sleep to take hold The Lime flowers (Linden) will also play a key role in bringing on a restful sleep that will speed up the healing process. Lime flowers work with Elderflowers to clear catarrh from the body…and indication of toxic excess.
Spring may be around the corner, but the colds and flu season is far from over. It is not too late to get in these three wonder herbs and store you magic mixture in the cupboard ready to go at the first sign of a sniffle or fever.
Health and Happiness
The Green Man