Sunday, May 29, 2011

Respiratory system

Learning about the Respiratory system. When  my throat began to feel as if it were swelling and was thick…. my niece Stephanie, had asked me to go morel mushroom hunting with her and I had to regretfully decline as I just knew I was conjuring up some sort of illness. I was so lucky that a week later my nephew Scott, brought me over a nice mess of mushrooms as I never did get out to the woods to hunt any this year…
Back to the story:) It was not but a few hours and I knew I was in for a rough time. Throat getting sore, nose dripping constantly, continuous coughing, sweating, weepy eyes, headachy.. yup, I was a mess so had myself to document!
I took my temperature every few hours, and never did get more than a tiny bit above normal, so was not concerned about making sure the herbs I decided to use were specifically anti- pyretic, (fever preventing). This lack of fever also helped me decide I was going to probably be experiencing a cold and not the flu. Either one is due to a virus so the first thing I need to do was decide which anti-viral herbs I would use. I started by making a big pot of tea with elderflower (also an anti-catarrhal) , lemon balm ( also a decongestant) and mullein (also analgesic,anti-inflammatory and and anti-spasmodic)in it. Mullein is one of the herbs of my Materia medicas . Mullein is an old friend of mine. It grows all over our area and was easily encouraged to grow in the gardens of Comfrey Cottages a few years ago. With the calming effects of the tea I was able to think clearly and get things ready for this journey. I don’t know about you, but when I start to feel unwell I also get a general feeling of nervousness so I really was grateful when I started to just relax and accept the fact I had to slow down and rest.
Before I got feeling completely in the thralls of this roller coaster ride, I made sure and placed in my bedroom boxes of tissue, my teapot  a pitcher of water, and laid out handily several changes of bed linen. When someone is sick it is important to keep the room as fresh as possible, both for the sake of cleanliness and to encourage the return of health, but also to make the unwell person feel fresher, cleaner and thus better also:) Time to pamper myself! I keep spray bottles of just plain water and lavender in the kitchen and in the bath room, as an everyday anti-viral spray for surfaces and the air, so I decided to make a third one for the bedroom to freshen the air periodically and also for the surfaces I touched. I also spritzed the sheets with it when I left the room so that was nice to return to when forced to lie back down:) Since my everyday scent was lavender, for this spray, I added essential oil of lemon to my sick room spray. Lemon is a bright and cheery scent right? And strong enough I could actually smell it! On the stove I kept a pot of water with hyssop essential oil added it to it. Hyssop is also an anti-catarrhal herb and one that really helps me when I have the type of cough that is spasmodic and continuous.
 My throat was just a mess! The constant draining of mucous and coughing was keeping it so raw and was making me so gaggy and my glands were swollen so decided the next thing to do was to make throat spray. No picture of that as I just didn’t think to take many pictures at all during the illness:(  I made the spray from tinctures of plantain, cleavers, yarrow, mullein and horehound. I took spoonfuls of the different honey infused herbs I had on hand such as horehound,(another herb I have grown for a long time and one of this lessons Materia medica herbs), marshmallow root, and hyssop. I sucked on homemade lozenges made with both horehound and mullein leaf. This is my recipe:) It is more taffy like than like a hard candy
1 cup honey ( I use herb infused honey. For this batch I used horehound and mullein infused honeys as I am studying those two herbs and both were useful for my condition)
3/4 cups water ( I use a decoction of both horehound and mullein)
1 teaspoon vinegar (I used an herbal vinegar of sage and thyme I already had made in the larder)
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of real butter
2 cups organic sugar
In a heavy saucepan I combine the sugar, vinegar and salt. I stir in the honey and herbal decoction and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Continue stirring over heat until the mixture starts to boil, and then just let it cook undisturbed until it reaches the soft crack stage at about 270 degrees. Then add the butter. Have a buttered and lipped cookie sheet at the ready, and pour the mixture into it. After it cools enough to handle, butter up your clean hands and stretch, pull, and fold the taffy onto itself, repeatedly for about 15 minutes. Then roll it out into snake like rolls of about 1/2  inch in diameter. Butter a knife or pair of scissors, and cut these rolls into one each pieces, wrap them in small pieces of waxed paper, twisted to close:)
A nice recipe for a respiratory syrup , which I found to be very beneficial. I did take pictures of that:)
Another herbal helping action I took was to use herbal steams and saline rinses. For the herbal steams, I would cook a pot of mullein, horehound and water until it boiled, added some essential oil of hyssop, poured it all in a big bowl and tented my head with a towel as I leaned over the vapors and inhaled.

Big herbal and honey hugs to all who visit Comfrey Cottages xx


Sarah Head said...

Interesting post, Leslie. Did you make a note of how long the cold lasted and whether using herbs made a difference to the severity? I have to admit I reach for the easy stuff when I start going down with something - dropperfuls of elderberry elixir every few hours and drinks of fire cider vinegar and horseradish honey as often as I can make them. The fire cider vinegar sorts out any sore throat issues as well as killing all known germs! I usually find that although the elderberry doesn't stop the cold from appearing, it does cut the time I suffer in half and I've not gone on to develop anything secondary. This is in direct contrast to the hacking or mucous laden coughs I hear from other people in my office which go on for weeks!

*Ulrike* said...

I absolutely love this post! The pollen has been really bad here, and my daughter usually has a hard time with it. She would have been perfect! I did treat her to a sinus massage which helped a lot cleansing the lymph glands which I myself had done too. Although all of these other herbs I'll need to remember for the next time. I did make a drink of apple cider vinegar and honey which I keep in the fridge for when my throat gets sore. It seems like this crazy weather is keeping us hopping! How are your honeybees doing?
Take Care!

Rowan said...

Hope you are feeling much better now. Not easy to keep a record like this when you are feeling so grim - well done!

Comfrey Cottages said...

I am certain the herbs made a difference in my recovery time, Sarah. I was already using anti virals with my pot of tea, elderflower being one of them, I kept at the ready. I use elderberry tincture as more of a preventative while the cold/flu season is on. I don't really care for elderberry elixer and not a big tincture taker most times. I prefer to take my herbs as food. Edibles, syrups, honeys,teas, shrubs,(herbal honey and herbal vinegar infusions added to water), etc. I make vinegar, tend bees for honey,grow herbs, but illegal to make my own alcohol, so while I do make tinctures, and have them on hand, for myself, I don't use them much. I do give them to family members I know won't tend themselves appropriately with the other options, though. xx
I am so proud of you Ulrike! Sounds as if you are taking care of yourself and your daughter in a lovely natural way!!! xxx Good job!
Thanks Rowan:) I am right as rain again, and thank you for asking. xxx