Tag Archives: flu

rosa canina

Roses: The Medicinal Properties Of This Highly Popular and Romantic Flower

rosa caninaThe rose – it’s the most commonly purchased flower, typically given during special times – anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, etc. Not sure what it looks like?

How To Identify The Rose

The family of roses has flowers with open petals shaped like cups and thorns along the branches/stems. On some rose species, thorns are found on underneath the leaves. The key action of them is astringent, which means the tissues contract. This aspect can be found in both the rose’s leaves and petals.

During the warmer seasons of the year, the rose is dotted with red oval-shaped fruit. This “fruit” can be both eaten and used for medicinal purposes.

Now, most commonly seen rose is the dog rose (wild rose); it’s the one most people see when they walk around the neighborhood.

As a child, you may have seen rosehips. In fact, you might have used the seeds as itching powder. This reason is that the seeds are a powerful irritant. Thus, when the hips are being processed, the skin should not be constantly exposed to them. The hips can easily be cut in half, seeds removed and keep the flesh for either them to be dried or processed further. Now, you can eat the outer red, fleshy section of the rose as well as the petals.

How To Create Syrup From Rosehips For Medicinal Purposes

rosehipsIf you plan on using the rosehips for medicinal purposes, put them into a syrup concoction. Of course, the key issue in creating syrup is to have sterilized containers that are well-sealed. Rosehips have less sugar than what’s in jams and, if it’s not properly prepared, it will ferment.

What are the steps to create syrup from the rosehips?

  1. Crush them so that water can touch the flesh while ensuring the seeds are kept away.
  2. Use water to cover them and simmer until the hips become soft.
  3. Using a cloth, strain the juice. Whatever you do, do not squeeze the cloth. If you do, the syrup will turn cloudy.
  4. Throw in sugar, just half a kilo per one liter of juice.
  5. Simmer until sugar is completely dissolved.
  6. Allow to cool

If it’s overcooked, it will change into jelly. Now, there are some recipes where the water will re-cover the hips, allowing more juice to be extracted. This is then put into sterilized bottles. Be sure you boil the containers for 15 minutes and allow them to drain. Be sure you leave a two and half centimeter gap when you fill it up.

Now, screw the lids on, undo it by half a turn and place it in a pan of water. Slowly bring it to a boil and boil for up to 30 minutes. When cool, tighten. If it’s not sealed properly, use wax to cover it.

How Are Rosehips Used For Medicinal Purposes

For hundreds of years, the syrup has been used to prevent colds and flus. It wasn’t until recently that scientists learned that Vitamin C was the rosehip’s active ingredient.

Rosehips also have the astringent action, which can be used in treating gums that are bleeding. You can use the petals a survival plaster – lick and apply on a cut and it’ll stop bleeding. Oil can also be made from the petals. Many worthwhile uses for it include antidepressants and aphrodisiacs. Thus, if you feel blue during the winter season, it’s time to use rose oil. However, it’s costly so keep that in mind.

Other worthwhile uses include using the rose stem’s outside fiber to make a cordage material. But, don’t forget to remove the thorns.

Related Articles

 

Salix_Alba_Weeping_Willow

The Original Aspirin: White Willow

What is white willow?

White Willow (Salix alba), Location: Riparian ...
White Willow (Salix alba), Location: Riparian forest near Bingen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Salix alba is the botanical name of white willow. The other common names for white willow are willow, common willow and European willow. The genus name of the willows, Salix, derives from the Celtic sal, which means “near,” and lis, “water.” The specific name, alba, is a Latin word which means “white”, and it refers to the color of the leaves’ undersides.

It comprises of about 300 species. Some species grow very tall up to 25m or more. Some of them grow up to 1.5-2m only.

It is a deciduous tree. Its native is Europe and Western and Central Asia. They are found from Arctic area to South Africa.

How to identify white willow?

As seen earlier, the tree may be medium sized or very tall. They have rounded crown of branches. They have a weak stem that get easily broken during storms.

If you are looking for the tree in the wild, you should first look in places that are far from ponds, stream, river and other sources of water.

de: Blatt der Silber-Weide (Salix alba), Ort: ...

The upper surface of the shiny leaves is grayish green in color. The color changes to yellow when they are ready to whither.The leaves are paler than other species of willow because of the silky white hairy appearance under them.

The bark of white willow is slightly yellow in color. The limbs of the branches extend up to the ground. There is sure to be a lot of litter beneath the tree that includes broken twigs, branches and withered leaves.

Does white willow have medical benefits?

White willow has a lot of medicinal benefits. It has been used thousands of years before to cure many health conditions. It was in the early eighteenth century that it was first found that the bark of white willow contained salicin that treated pain and fever effectively. The extracts were used to make the first aspirin in the later part of eighteenth century.

What are the health properties of white willow?

The bark and leaves of white willow are useful in treating the following.

1. It is used for getting relief from pains. It is effective in treating lower back pain, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
2. Its anti-inflammatory properties are useful in reducing the inflammation.
3. It reduces the symptoms of flu and other types of fever.
4. It is helpful in lowering the symptoms of menopause like night sweats and hot flashes.
5. They have been successfully used to remove warts, corns and unnecessary flesh from the body.
6. Although it is not very effective for weight loss when it is used alone, it boosts the metabolism of the body and helps in weight loss when combined with other herbs.
7. It gives relief from headaches and toothaches.
8. It is useful to people who are at the risk of getting strokes because of its blood thinning properties.
9. It is also used to treat bursitis and tendonitis.

Why is it preferred over aspirin?

It starts to act later than aspirin, but the effects remains for a longer duration of time. Moreover, it does not cause stomach bleeding.

Medicine Uses

Digestion

  • helps to protect the gut lining from inflammation and irritation
  • reduces dysentery and diarrhea
  • great for weak digestion, dyspepsia, heartburn acidity and worms

Respiratory system

  • decongestant for head colds, flu and fevers
  • reestablishes strength after disease

Musculoskeletal system

  • alleviates pain
  • acts as an anti-inflammatory for rheumatism, arthritis, gout, muscular aches, backache, tendonitis, bursitis and sprains

Immune system

  • useful for fevers and headaches
  • cures malaria

Urinary system

  • decreases fluid retention
  • aids to remove toxins via urine

Externally

  • make use lotion for cuts and wounds
  • make gargles for irritated throats
  • mouthwash for mouth ulcers and bleeding gum
  • put poultices on inflamed joints

How to use white willow?

It can be used as tea, tincture and tablets or liquid form. The dosage depends upon the form in which you are taking it.

  • You can drink four or more cups of white willow tea a day.
  • If you are going for the tincture form, you can take 3-5 ml three times a day.
  • If you are going for tablets or liquid form you can take 60-240 mg a day.

How to prepare white willow decoction and tea?

Decoction for white willow herbal tea can be prepared by boiling root, bark, leaves and seeds. They should be boiled in water and simmered to make sure that all medicinal properties are fully extracted. It can be either drunk or used topically for sores or gargled to heal toothaches and throat aches.

If you cannot get the parts of white willow, it is not a matter of concern. It is available in powder form in almost all stores that sell herbal supplements. Take 2 tablespoons of the powder and boil it in 8 ounces of water. When it starts to boil, simmer it for 10-15 minutes. Then let it steep for half an hour. Filter the tea and add lemon, honey or sugar to suit your taste.

How to prepare white willow tincture?

The ratio of white willow powder and the solvent is 1:5. The solvent used here is grain alcohol. Dissolve it thoroughly and store it in a airtight container for 2 weeks. Then strain it. You can mix it with water, milk, juice or tea.

What are the side effects of white willow?

  • The side effects include renal damage, tinnitus and gastrointestinal problems.
  • It may cause other side effects like vomiting, nausea and stomach ulcers etc.
  • It is not advisable for pregnant and lactating women.
  • don’t use if allergic to salicylates and in bleeding problems
  • children and teenagers with chickenpox, flu or any undiagnosed illness should avoid it due to chance of Reye’s syndrome

What are the interactions of white willow?

  • It should not be taken while taking medications like beta blockers, diuretics, anticoagulants and NSAID etc.
  • employ with caution with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen

White willow is a wonderful herb with many medicinal properties, but it is better to take it after consulting your doctor.

Cold Season

What NOT To Do During Cold And Flu Season

While this article is called what NOT to do, I will be offering a plethora of what TO DO.

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be sick every single season, when others cruise through? It’s not just because they are lucky, it’s because of the old survival rule ‘Be Prepared’

 

DON’Ts –

  1. Don’t “starve a fever and feed a cold” – don’t do either. Instead, drink a lot of water, preferably warm as it helps to soothe mucous membranes. Drink fresh juices – get yourself a juicer so you can do this at least once a day. Raw foods are proven immune strengtheners. Eat healthy – I know we all want to comfort eat but that is damaging and can in fact just start a downward spiral.
  2. Hot milk
    Hot milk (Photo credit: anasararojas)

    Don’t drink sugary or milky warm drinks – this increases acidity, which puts you in the sick room in the first place. It also increases mucous which you don’t want. Constant aggravation of your nervous system and digestive system will only aggravate your respiratory system. Instead, drink lots of warm water infused with beneficial herbs such as nasturtium thyme, sage, chamomile, mint and Himalayan salt. It replaces valuable electrolytes as well as soothing airways and flushing out toxins.

  3. Don’t sit indoors in warm rooms 24/7 – this actually allows the bugs to grow due to increased humidity. If you are suffering a fever, by all means rug up and warm your body but the fresh air outside is far more beneficial. As is the great big free Vitamin D machine – sunshine. Don’t cover up, don’t block out the sun’s rays. Considering we need a few hours a day to absorb sufficient D, many of us are lacking. And considering asthma is linked to a D deficiency, it explains why lots of kids and even adults suffer with asthma so frequently.
  4. Don’t just use mentholated rub on your chest or neck. Don’t laugh but the best place to use it is on the soles of your feet. I am not joking. If you cough, it will actually stop it faster than any cough medicine. For kids, rub it on before bed and cover feet with socks. It works. Of course, try and find a non-petroleum jelly based rub – there are many based on safer gels.
  5. Don’t share your germs! Don’t go to work, don’t send your kids to school or daycare, don’t cough in public and don’t cough into your hands. Each of these things will spread sickness faster than anything else. I personally get angry when I am forced to share the germs of others. I don’t share mine and I appreciate others offering the same respect.
  6. Don’t try and work it out of you. Think about the animals in the wild. When they are sick, they sleep and even hibernate. Sometimes they eat plants for instinctive healing, but most of all they sleep. We need to learn to do the same. If your body is telling you it is too tired or weak to work, listen. Go to bed, sleep it off. You’d do the same for a hangover or late night, and they are self inflicted. If your body speaks, just allow yourself to listen it. Rather than drag an illness out or make it worse (no, you can’t sweat it out by overburdening it) you may just find you cut the duration.
  7. Don’t just let your body suffer. That is one of the worst things you can do and I am amazed at the number of so-called experts who will advise you to do this very thing. The body cannot heal well while it is under duress. If a cut is inflamed and you irritate it, will it heal? The same can be said for any inflammatory illness. Soothe it with analgesia – that can range from willowbark and feverfew to a special paracetamol/codeine formulation.
  8. Don’t ignore it hoping it will go away. All you are doing is putting off the inevitable and inviting more chronic illness. I have lost count of the number of chronically unwell people who begin with “I thought it was just a cold and that it would go away.”

So what can you do?

Well, apart from what has been written above, there is a LOT you can do.

  1. A herbal ‘antibiotic’– of which there are many. Most will contain echinacea and garlic – funny enough, most doctors will say not to waste your time, yet studies have proven that in contagious disease, including drug-resistant strains, that herbal medicine is far more effective than any drug on the market. And with far less side effects. These herb-biotics can range from basic herbs to Chinese herbs (free of questionable and cruelly-derived animal ingredients) and can be in tablet or tonic forms. The taste does take some getting used to but in my house at least, the kids love the taste.

    An Ikea garlic press, with pressed garlic.
    pressed garlic (source: wikipedia)
  2. Steaming and nasal washing – using neti pots, steam machines, even a hot shower – these all serve to clean and soothe the mucous membranes and actually speed healing.
  3. Look at your lifestyle and diet. If you find yourself getting repeated coughs, colds and flus, it is no coincidence. Overhaul your diet – include raw and fresh food, lots of water and remove all the usual triggers of ill health – wheat, yeast, sugar, dairy and meat. See these foods as a rare treat. If you have detrimental habits/addictions you may have to ask yourself what is more important.
  4. Hot baths (hydrotherapy). You may not believe this but if you run a hot bath and add a tablespoon each of powdered ginger, Epsom Salts and Bicarb, you will draw and ‘break’ the virus. Try it – it works. The same therapy is safe for all ages.
  5. Orange, pear, appleIncrease antioxidant intake. Fresh, raw juices – cucumber, celery, carrot, apple, orange, berry, cabbage, kale, spinach. The benefits of these foods raw, are far too numerous to mention. Studies have shown that antioxidant intake is better than just about any other option – A, C, E, curcuminoids (turmeric etc), pine bark extract, olive leaf extract, etc – all not only fight the virus but knock off free radicals and soothe tissues.
  6. Foot soaks. Foot spas or even a bucket of hot water with Epsom Salts, Eucalyptus and other essential oils will draw out toxins and warm the body.
  7. Washing – both your body and surroundings. You need to wash away the toxins that build up at least once every two days (if you are very unwell). Your clothing and bedding will need regular cleaning and disinfecting with a healthy option such as eucalyptus, lavender or tea tree oil.
  8. Excrete – no joke. There are herbs that help with expectoration (coughing up of mucous), diaphoresis (sweating), urination (flushing through the kidneys) and bowel evacuation which needs to be kept frequent in order to prevent stagnant build up and weakened processes. See my other articles on such herbs – it’s worth it for everyone to either have a little herb garden or a store of them in the pantry.

 

Be pro-active this season. If you are already unwell, please take the steps necessary to get well. If you are not yet affected, please take the steps to build your immunity and make your environment one that discourages poor immunity. Don’t ignore it hoping it will go away. All you are doing is putting off the inevitable and inviting more chronic illness. I have lost count of the number of chronically unwell people who begin with “I thought it was just a cold and that it would go away.”