As we continue to wade through some of the colder months of the year, I wanted to shine a light on a few herbs that help open up the nasal passages to reduce congestion. While it's convenient to make a run to the store for cold and cough medicine, herbal medicine is more natural for us to consume (and most times more cost effective as well). Balms and salves are pretty simple to create at home once you've found the perfect consistency for your preferences. *Herbal teas and infusions are going to be the quickest way to use herbs to support your immune system and incorporate them into your daily routine. Eating during a fever may not prove to be beneficial, but consuming teas and infusions will help you remain hydrated while the herbs work in the body to provide relief.
- Elecampane is used to relieve coughs, and when combined with elderflower treats congestion. Specifically, it can be used to treat chronic respiratory conditions. It supports the bronchial tubes and can support lung health in people who have asthma.
- Elderflower treats symptoms of the cold and flu by easing symptoms. It dries out the mucus membranes of the nose and throat to reduce symptoms such as runny nose and sneezing. Elderberries also contain lots of Vitamin C and antioxidants, making it an effective remedy during the flu season.
- Ginger improves your body's resistance to infection by enhancing the immune system and also treats nausea and vomiting. It’s often added to herbal teas and infusions when boosting the immune system during onset of illness.
- Peppermint can also be combined with elderflower as an effective cold and flu remedy. It cools the temperature of the body, which can help break a fever, but can be taken as a hot tea to encourage sweating. Use the essential oil along with eucalyptus in balms or salves that can be rubbed on the chest to encourage peaceful breathing.
- Eucalyptus is often used in topical products to open the nasal passages. Steaming with eucalyptus can be a great way to incorporate aromatherapy into your routine, as well as assist with deep breathing. The essential oil can be used in a vaporizer to promote peaceful breathing during sleep as well.
*Herbal teas are often blended and taken for taste. For a more medicinal brew, leave your herbs to steep for at least 20 minutes. Once you've taken your tea bag out of the water, carefully squeeze the remaining medicine from the bag. I recommend using natural sweeteners such as honey or agave nectar (my favorite). Sip carefully!
Herbal Remedies Handbook - Andrew Chevallier
The Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Sourcebook - Julia Lawless
The Modern Herbal Dispensatory - Thomas Easley & Steven Horne
The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies - Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis