August might seem a little early to be thinking about the cold + flu or sickness in general. In just a few short weeks school will be back in session and with that comes exposure to the many icks that threatens their immune system.
- Sore throats
- Stuffy nose
- Tummy Aches
There is much you can do naturally to overcome, speed up recovery, and even stop it in its tracks before it becomes full blown.
Herbs that boost the immune system:
Elderberries an absolute must in everyone’s herbal pantry. It is anticatarrhal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, and diaphoretic. Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin C. Counters infection and speeds up recovery. Elderberries can be taken to improve resistance to infections and reduce a tendency towards recurring colds, sore throats, and coughs.
Eleuthero is an adaptogenic, antioxidant, and immune tonic. Eleuthero strengthens the immune system, and regular use will reduce the incidence of colds and other common infectious diseases. Side note: athletes can benefit from eleuthero. It increases endurance and stamina, enhances mitochondrial activity, speeds recovery and prevents immune-depletion from excessive training.
Schisandra is an adaptogenic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune tonic, astringent, nervine, and expectorant. In Japan, schisandra is known as gomishi and is used for people with coughs, weakness, excess phlegm, and hood vertigo (a feeling of congestion and constriction around the head). As an adaptogenic herb it increases resistance and resilience to stress, enabling the body to avoid reaching functional collapse because it can adapt around the problems.
Cinnamon is antimicrobial, aromatic, astringent, mild stimulant, and relieves gas. Cinnamon is a favorite remedy for digestive upsets. In colds, flu, chest infection, and coughs, cinnamon provides relief as it stimulates the body’s circulatory system in an effort to speed up the healing process.
Licorice is an expectorant, alterative, and demulcent. By itself, licorice is a remedy for flu, colds, debility and all lung problems. Works well as an expectorant for treating coughs and bronchial congestion. Licorice is pleasant tasting and lends a sweetness that is agreeable by both children and adults.
Star anise is antifungal, antibacterial, and antioxidant. Star anise is considered the official flu fighter. Today, a compound in star anise is used as the “starter ingredient” for oseltamivir (Tamiflu), the most commonly prescribed drug for treating the flu (Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD: Healing Spices pg.221).
Other herbs beneficial for the immune system:
- Astragalus Root
Immune Boost Herbal Syrup :: Natural Immune Booster Recipe
2.35 ounces Elderberry
½ ounce Eleuthero Root
½ ounce Schisandra Berry
¼ ounce Cinnamon
¼ ounce Licorice
0.15 ounce Star Anise (approx. 5 stars)
8 Cups Water
1 Tbsp Calendula
1 Tbsp Yarrow
2 Cups Raw Honey (Maple Syrup can be substituted for children under 1)
Optional: Alcohol (Brandy, Rum, or Bourban Whiskey). I add 25% to the liquid portion as a preservative which was around 9 ounces for this batch.|
(This will make a 1/2 gallon approximately total. Recipe is flexible and can be halved.)
- Add elderberries, eleuthero root, schisandra berry, cinnamon, licorice, star anise, and water in pot.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 60 minutes. Remove from burner.
- Add calendula and yarrow to pot. Put lid on and steep for 1 hour.
- Strain mixture while using the back of the spoon to mash out as much liquid as possible. Pour into a ½ gallon mason jar.
- Add honey to liquid. Be sure the liquid is not above 110 degrees to retain all the medicinal benefits raw honey has to offer. Shake until honey dissolves (it will take some shaking but keep shaking until well mixed).
- Add optional alcohol. Bottle syrup. Without the alcohol it should keep in the fridge for 3-4 months.
How to use:
For children administer 1 teaspoon per day for prevention or 1 teaspoon every hour (while awake) at the onset of cold/flu-like symptoms. Honey is not recommended for children under the age of one.
For adults administer 1 tablespoon per day for prevention or 1 tablespoon every hour at the onset.
Disclaimer: Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This recipe is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Personally, I make these home remedies that I have researched and used myself. I encourage you to empower yourself with your own health and do your own research.
Adaptogens “Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief” by David Winston and Steven Maimes
Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal, PhD with Debora Yost
Herbal Remedies by Andrew Chevallier
Practical Herbalism “Ordinary Plants with Extraordinary Powers” by Philip Fritchey, MH, ND, CNHP
The How to Herb Book “Lets Remedy the Situation” by Velma J. Keith and Monteen Gordon
The Way of Herbs by Michael Tierra, L.Ac., O.M.D.