The flu is pretty bad here in the Czech Republic. I guess it’s a bad flu everywhere this year.
My husband and I finally succumbed this week.
I haven’t been this sick in years.
It started with fatigue, The next day came aches and a fever (38.7+ or 101.6+). Then a bad cough that leaves you sore. Then the typical cold symptoms, stuffy head etc…
I don’t normally take days off for sickness. Every year, I am only sick one or two days tops. This one will see me at home for 4 days. Probably going back to work before I should. My husband is in bed with a fever as I type this. (Update: My oldest daughter just fell to it, in bed just now with a fever.)
The fever we support with our Fever Doctor Tea . This helps the fever to do its job while relieving pain as well as having anti-viral actions.
Soreness I relieve with cayenne pepper salve.
But, when the virus invades the respiratory tract, what can we do?
It all depends on the tissue states.
Plants have their own energetics: hot, dry, cool and moist. You notice this organically when you eat a cool and refreshing cucumber on a hot summer day or reach for warm and spicy ginger tea in the winter. According to your current energetics, herbs of complementary energetics should be used thus bringing the systems into homeostasis, balance.
Respiratory tract: red and parched
Throat/sinuses: inflamed and tight
Eyes: may be red
Sweating: little to none
Cough: dry and unproductive
Mucus: sticky, yellow or brown
Pain: possible in lungs or throat
Cravings: cold drinks
Violet, marshmallow, plantain and mullein
For my dry cough I used the Stings and Bites Salve as a chest poultice and my super moistening Cough Be Gone Tea.
Tongue: inflamed, may have yellow/orange coat
Throat/tonsils: inflamed and red
Sinuses: may be runny or yellow
Fever: may be present, sweating
Cough: wet cough
Mucus: excessive, clear or yellow
Usnea, horehound, eucalyptus, mint, red clover
Mouth/tongue: pale and dry
Mucus: clear and white, if present
Pain: dull in chest/throat possible
Cravings: hot liquids
Other: may feel cold/chills
Licorice, elecampane, cinnamon, fenugreek, fennel and elderberry
For my dry and cold state I use Elderberry Syrup as a tonic and Calendula Salve as a chest poultice.
Tongue: pale, wet, frothy, moist
Cough: productive, wet
Pain: dull in chest
Ginger, thyme, sage, rosemary, hyssop and bee balm
For my wet cough I use Thyme Cough Syrup and Sage Salve as a chest poultice and Ginger Tea with Hyssop.
I was given the opportunity to test out this dehydrator for a couple of months. It might just be my favourite now.
At 7:20 you will see me describing how to use this dehydrator to make potent herbal oil infusions.
Some of my clients have been asking for a cream for mature skin. After doing some research on some of the properties of sea buckthorn, I developed this recipe.
This is an excellent face cream for dry, aging or damaged skin. Be mindful that sea buckthorn has natural oils which could stain clothing.
I gave out samples of this face cream at work yesterday. I will let you know the feedback I receive, as it’s a new recipe.
Combine the oils, butter and beeswax in a saucepan over very low heat until everything is melted together
Pour into a measuring cup or container and let cool until the mixture is somewhat firm, thick and creamy
Scrape the oil mixture into a blender.
In a separate bowl. Combine the hydrosol, gel and essential oil
Turn the blender on full speed and slowly drizzle the the water mixture into the vortex created by the blender
Continue blending until all the water mixture has been absorbed by the oil.
The blender should “choke” as the mixture thickens and becomes creamy
After turning off the blender, scoop the cream into small jars.
Store the cream in a cool dark place.
Sea buckthorn: repairs damaged skin, anti-inflammatory, heals rosacea, moisturizes dry skin, high concentration of linoleic acid for skin regeneration, high in vitamin E and powerful anti-aging properties, remedies eczema and psoriasis, high in beta carotene
Poppy seed: high concentration of linoleic acid to repair damaged and aging skin, moisturising
Shea butter: moisturising, anti-inflammatory, aids in skin’s natural collagen production
Balm of Gilead: antioxidant, heals scars, clears up eczema and psoriasis, anti-inflammatory
Geranium: anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, skin healing, reduces discolouration and dark spots, heals scarring, beneficial during menopause
Caution: sea buckthorn, due to its high concentration of beta carotene, can stain skin orange if too much is used. A little goes a long way!
During a client consultation last weekend, the subject of dry eyes came up. Actually, overall hydration was discussed.
Both my husband and I wear contacts and I work long days. This is a recipe for eye disaster!
Last year we began taking Sea Buckthorn oil daily (a tablespoon in the morning) and noticed a good result. Personally, my eyes felt like they could handle the contacts even when I got home from work. Normally, I am sprinting upstairs as soon as I arrive home to rip my contacts out. After the Sea Buckthorn, I noticed my eyes were less scratchy, even in spring with all of the pollen floating about. Overall, my eye health seemed better.
After quite a few months of grey days, my cat has found a sunny window in a warm room, curled up in a baby pomelo plant. Plants are healing and comforting to more than just humans.
Water hydrates dehydrated skin and tissues, oil moistens or lubricates dry skin and tissues. Depending on what your body, skin and tissues need at that time, oil or water could be indicated.
Without a protective oil barrier on your skin, dehydration could take place quickly and the lost water, though easily replaced, will again flee quickly from your dry tissues.
Dry exterior tissues are helped by the ingestion of water and oils, surely, yet for acute situations a topical hydration or moisturising protocol is used in order to speed up the process. Ingested water and oil must go through the myriad other internal processes before reaching the skin.
The key is balance, or homeostasis.
We all know that we should drink water, quite a lot, during the day. It hydrates our tissues, cleans out toxins, enables our body to function well and increases our brain function.
According to Psychology Today:
“Our brains depend on proper hydration to function optimally. Brain cells require a delicate balance between water and various elements to operate, and when you lose too much water, that balance is disrupted. Your brain cells lose efficiency.
Years of research have found that when we’re parched, we have more difficulty keeping our attention focused. Dehydration can impair short-term memory function and the recall of long-term memory. The ability to perform mental arithmetic, like calculating whether or not you’ll be late for work if you hit snooze for another 15 minutes, is compromised when your fluids are low.”
(Different body sizes require different volumes of water. One good rule is to divide your weight by 20. This will be the number of glasses of water that you should drink every day.)
Tissue states in the body are dependent on more than just water, or staying hydrated. Creaky, achy joints, cracking, tight skin, muscle soreness, fuzzy eyesight, mental fatigue, as well as other more serious mental issues, could stem from a lack of moisturised tissues, or being in a dry tissue state.
According to True Skin care Center:
“Have you ever felt like your skin needs a drink of water? This may be true! With the vast variety of skincare products on the market today, as a consumer, it can be difficult to figure out what each one contains and why it works. Specifically, one of the most confusing topics is the difference between hydration and moisture. Dehydrated skin lacks water and therefore needs to be hydrated. Dry skin lacks oil and needs to be moisturized. It is important to distinguish between these two skin conditions because they can often be treated incorrectly.
Think of it like this:
While hydration is what makes our skin soft, it won’t stay that way if there is no oil protecting that hydration from evaporating and abandoning the skin, which would leave it dry and flaky. Conversely, to put oil on top of already dehydrated skin may smooth it, but it will still lack the hydration that makes it feel soft and elastic.
Dehydrated skin that is moisturized without receiving the amount of hydration will still look dull and feel uncomfortably tight. Dry skin that is hydrated but not moisturized will still flake and have a rough texture.”
Think about adding oil to your diet, whether on a salad or a tablespoon daily of hemp seed oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil or sea buckthorn, as well as the water regimen you already have.
Think about water for your skin, a re-hydrating bath with hydrating herbs, a cup of tea with herbs that help you hold fluids or an oil massage to combat dry skin from the outside.
Thank you Kiva Rose for this list:
Adaptogens & Sweet Tonics (Builds Fluids): Withania somniferum, Panax spp, Aralia spp., Glycyrrhiza glabra and allied spp. Codonopsis pilosula, Avena spp., Polygonatum spp.
Demulcents (Contributes Fluids): Althaea, Malva spp and other Malvaceae, Ulmus rubra, Ulmus pumila (and other mucilaginous U. species), Linum spp.
Oily Tonics (Contributes Oils): aromatic Salvia spp., Ligusticum spp., Angelica spp., Aralia spp., Arctium lappa, Linum spp.
Astringents (Holds Fluids): aromatic Salvia spp., Rhus spp.
Argan oil: ingested and topically
Flaxseed oil: ingested and topically
Coconut oil: ingested and topically
Sesame oil: ingested and topically
Jojoba oil: topically
Hemp seed oil: ingested and topically
Poppy seed oil: ingested and topically
Sea Buckthorn oil: ingested and topically
Olive oil: ingested and topically
“Thou pretty herb of Venus Tree
Thy true name is Yarrow
Now who my bosom friend must be
Pray tell thou me tomorrow”.
According to The Alchemist’s Kitchen:
“One of the most fascinating things about Yarrow is that it has been made use of for a very long time by humans. In fact, Yarrow was found amongst other medicinal herbs in a Neanderthal burial site in Iraq, which dates from around 60,000 BC .
Given this long historical use, which also includes traditional use in Ayurveda, Chinese Medicine and Native American Medicine, there is much folklore associated with this wonderful herb. Renowned Ayurvedic and Medical Herbalist Anne McIntyre shares the folklore of Achillea:
“Yarrow is one of the finest and most versatile healing plants, and respected as such since at least the time of the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians. Dioscorides, the Greek physician, writing in the 1st century AD referred to the healing properties of yarrow for battle wounds.”
The name yarrow is apparently derived from hieros, which means sacred, because of the plant’s association with ceremonial magic. Yarrow was thought to be richly endowed with spiritual properties, so it was preserved in temples and treated with special reverence. Its healing effect upon the blood was seen as an ability to influence the ‘life—blood’, the essence or ego that is carried in the blood. It was used as an amulet, a charm to protect against negative energy and evil, capable of overcoming the forces of darkness and being a conductor of benevolent powers. It was also believed to be a love charm and to be ruled by the planet Venus. In folklore, a maiden who places yarrow under her pillow and repeats the rhyme below will dream of her future husband.”
Yarrow’s botanical name Achillea refers to the ancient Greek hero Achilles who during the Trojan War, legend says, used yarrow to treat his and his soldier’s wounds. Throughout, history until the First World War, yarrow has been used for treating wounds, hence its common names soldiers’ woundwort and staunchweed.’
In China, yarrow stalks were used to reawaken the spiritual forces of the superconscious mind during ritual divination using the I Ching. “
Yarrow is a member of the family Asteraceae. It is an erect herbaceous perennial plant that produces one to several stems with a rhizomatous growth form. The leaves are evenly distributed along a stem with leaves also near the middle and bottom of stems. They vary in hairiness, are almost feathery, and are arranged spirally on stems. Leaves are cauline and are more or less clasping. Yarrow has a strong sweet scent similar to chrysanthemums with a relatively short life. Stems are angular and rough. The plant flowers from June to September. It can grow up to three feet in height.
Yarrow contains Alpha Pinene, Acetate, Borneol, Beta Pinene, Borneol, Cineole, Camphene, Camphor, Gamma Terpinene, Isoartemisia Ketone, Chamazulene, Limonene, Sabinene and Tricyclene.
According to The Practical Herbalist:
“Yarrow isn’t just for scrapes and bruises, it does wonders to reduce fever and clear the sinuses. This plant is the first in line for treating nasty colds and flu. It reduces sweating and treats diarrhea that can accompany illness. The same anti-inflammatory properties in this plant’s volatile oils that reduce swelling in angry wounds also fights bacterial infections. Yarrow has both tannins and salicyclic acid, which accounts for its noticeable astringency. This is one of the compounds that reduces both internal and external bleeding.
Yarrow compresses to the eyes of patients (without yarrow allergies) sharpen blurred vision due to swollen tissue. Do not get yarrow in the eye itself as it will cause further irritation. Just a warm yarrow tea bag or bit of yarrow wrapped in cheesecloth will do.
Since yarrow is so widespread, it makes the perfect medicine for hikers and hunters. Chewing a few of the bitter leaves will help alleviate a toothache until you can get to a dentist. Rubbing the leaves onto your temples will do wonders to subside a headache. Insect bites and nettle burns also relax under yarrow’s charms.
The use of yarrow for treating bruises and pain due to inflammation is legendary. Yarrow has many common names that reveal its history on the battlefield: soldier’s woundwort, bloodwort, and nosebleed plant are just a few. People have used yarrow’s anti-inflammatory actions for hemorrhoids and varicose veins for quick relief. The strengthening effect on the blood vessels make yarrow a wonderful plant to administer as a daily tonic for patient who easily bruise.
Yarrow makes an excellent first-aid poultice for deep cuts and wounds, too. It’s been known to help deep cuts heal with little to no scarring and can help the flesh even and connect after puncture wounds. It may be used in a mouth rinse to prevent dry socket after a tooth extraction. Just add a few drops to a few tablespoons of warm water, gargle and rinse.
Yarrow flower essence, especially pink yarrow flower essence, is quite good at helping empathic people (and others) to release emotional energies they’ve picked up from their environment, family and friends, and from work situations. I’ve found it a useful tool for recovering after attending large functions ranging from parties to conventions, too. Yarrow flower essence is a powerful ally for people in care-providing situations and professions, highly empathic people, and for young children. The list of treatments with yarrow seems to be limited only by the herbalist’s imagination.”
Yarrow is an herb we harvest regularly as a family. Both pink and white Yarrow grow in patches around lakes and forest entrances by our house. I often pick so much that our dehydrator can’t handle the volume. Luckily, yarrow dries great just by hanging it upside down. I use our grain mill to grind yarrow to a fine powder to be applied to fresh bleeding wounds in order to staunch the flow of blood, clean the wound and start the healing process. I use our juicer to grind the herb for tea, especially our Fever Doctor Tea. Yarrow plays a big part in my Veins Away Salve. I even use it to prevent or remedy under-eye bags. Yarrow tincture is used for compresses and liniments to expedite healing and disinfect wounds. Yarrow is in my travel first aid kit as it is useful for a host of ailments, form wounds to stomach flu, to fevers and sinusitis.
Yarrow, its scent and its medicinal power, is always a joyful sight when walking through meadow or forest. It is a reminder that there is treasure everywhere and it helps me feel connected to those who have walked the path of plants ages before me.
Tincture: 1:5; 40% ethanol): 2-4 ml three times a day
Tea: 3g in one day as tea or infusion .
External applications: salve, compress, powder or wash as needed.
Allergies to yarrow are possible, especially for those allergic to flowers from the Asteraceae family. It should not be taken in large doses during pregnancy, but it is sometimes appropriate in small doses at that time.