The flu shot is highly recommended, especially for children, the elderly, and those who have serious illnesses. However, there are a lot of people who are not interested in getting the flu shot. Some have expressed that they have gotten sick from taking the flu shot, while others are just simply not interested. Whether true or not, I will share with you some information, in which I’ve learned from my herbal classes, on herbs that can help to build up your immune system and help fight off colds/flu at the onset.
According to one of my herbal instuctors, Echinacea is an herb that has immune-enhancing properties, as well as other properties, such as:
(1) alterative, which helps to restore the body’s function and help to gradually increase vitality and health.
(2) anti-catarrhal, which helps the body to remove excess build up in the sinus area.
(3) anti-microbial, which helps the body to destroy infections in the body (pathogenic microorganisms).
Echinacea can be taken alone as a liquid extract or blended with other herbs to improve the upper respiratory system. When taken as a liquid extract, it’s suggested that the extract must be both alcohol and water soluble to enhance all of its healing constituents. This is the most efficient way to take Echinacea, according to Andrea Candee, Master Herbalist. (Please do your own research to better understand alcohol and water soluble in herbs).
Echinacea can also be blended with one or two other herbs in a tea, as an infusion using either fresh or dried herbs. However, when using fresh herbs, you will measure twice as much of the herb as you would use for the dried herb. For example, if you use one (1) teaspoon of a dried herb, but you only have the fresh herb, then you would use three (3) teaspoons of the fresh herb. You can purchase your herbs at your local health store or herbalist. Here are two links to some resources below that you may want to check out.
Infusions are mainly for the soft parts of a plant, such as the flower, the leaf or green stem. If the plant part is a bark, root, seed or resin it’s best to make a decoction. For the sake of this article, we will talk about infusions.
Some of the herbs that can be taken along with Echinacea as a medicinal herbal tea are as follows:
Vitamin C + Echinacea is a great immune booster, especially after taking antibiotics from an infection.
Sage – a detoxification and decongestant.
Ginger – detoxifies and stimulates circulation.
Thyme – is a decongestant.
Boneset – relieves aches and pain.
Garlic – good for microbial infections.
Eucalyptus – a decongestant.
This is just to name a few, as there are other herbs that are good for immune system building. These herbal teas are great for making you perspire to help relieve the toxins from your body.
When making an infusion you would take one (1) teaspoon of the mixed herbs in equal parts, or three (3) teaspoons if using fresh herbs. Pour one (1) cup of hot water over the herbs and let steep for about 20 minutes or until it cools, strain it and then drink three (3) cups three (3) times a day until you feel better or for a couple of weeks.
If taking the Echinacea as an extract, take one (1) teaspoon three (3) times a day for a couple of days, take a break in between, then resume back to it. I’ll give you an example given during class. If you find that you are more stressed during the work week then take Echinacea during the week and stop over the weekend. If you find that you are more stressed over the weekend, take the Echinacea from Friday to Sunday and then stop during the week. Adults should take one (1) teaspoon. For children, you can give 1/3 of the adult dosage or a ½ teaspoon diluted in water or juice. You can also find a formula used by my teacher, Andrea Candee, Master Herbalist and Co-Author of her book titled, Gentle Healing for Baby and Child on page 197, for children dosing.
Additional tips: Although we cannot avoid all germs, remember to keep your hands away from your face and wash your hands as often as you can, eat right and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Try to avoid mucus causing foods, such as dairy products to help reduce the mucus; and add more fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains, and water to your daily diet.
Don’t wait until it turns into a full blown cold or flu. Head it off as soon as you experience any symptoms, such as a little sniffle, a scratchy or itchy throat, etc. And remember, always do your own research.
Candee, A. and Andrusi, D. (2000). Gentle Healing for Baby and Child; A Parent’s Guide to Child-Friendly Herbs and Other Natural Remedies for Common Ailments and Injuries. New York, New York: Pocket Books.
Hoffman, D. (1984 & reprinted 1994), The New Holistic Herbal; A Herbal Celebrating the Wholeness of Life. Brisbane, MA: Element Books Limited.
Hoffman, D. (1998). The Herbal handbook; A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press.
**For educational purposes only. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease nor a substitution of medical or dental advice, diagnosis or treatment. We encourage you to make your own conscious decision based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified medical or dental professional.
DISCLAIMER: THE CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO MAKE YOUR OWN HEALTH CARE DECISIONS BASED UPON YOUR RESEARCH AND IN PARTNERSHIP WITH A QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL.