This winter, would you like to be someone who can say: “I used to get a lot of colds and flus”?
...by expanding your home medicine cabinet to include medicinal plants and essential oils that can protect your respiratory system.
(See below for specific natural herbal remedies from world-renowned botanical medicine expert David Crow to help protect you from seasonal sniffles and flu bugs.)
Medicinal plants can address a plethora of health challenges –– including those brought on by environmental toxins and mental stress.
Yet, how do you know which medicinal plants to use for a specific type of protection?
You look at the plant’s specific protective powers and how they’ll go to work within your system.
“Some plants work through their antioxidant powers, protecting against oxidative damage caused by free radicals from both inner and outer sources,” says David.
Others, he explains, counteract inflammation. Some enhance immunity, and some work directly — rejuvenating your core strength and building your resistance by helping to improve your sleep, moods and digestion.
Still others protect you by balancing your endocrine system. And there are even plants, David points out, that protect us from ourselves, such as those that quiet the mind during times of worry and anxiety.
The best protectors of the respiratory and digestive systems during cold and flu season are those that attack bacteria and viruses.
Here are a few of the plants (dried, fresh or as essential oils) David recommends to protect your respiratory system. (Also, listen to the audio clip below in which David provides important tips for using essential oils to promote respiratory health.):
Dried or Fresh Medicinal Plants for Protection
Medicinal Mushrooms (chaga from the northern forests or reishi from Asia)
Chaga and reishi mushrooms have been used for ages as boosters of vitality and immunity. They can be used to make a bitter but not altogether unpleasant tea, or can be taken as a tincture. Both traditional uses and modern research confirm their immune-strengthening powers, among many others.
Ginger Root (fresh from Hawaii) and Tulsi (dry “holy basil” leaves from India)
Fresh ginger root and dry tulsi leaves can be simmered to make a warming, aromatic stimulant drink that both prevents and treats upper respiratory infections. (You can also add the mushrooms, mentioned above, into this brew.)
Licorice is used extensively in Chinese medicine and is now available from high-quality organic sources in the West.
Its sweetness soothes the lungs and digestive system, reduces adrenal fatigue and boosts immunity. You can also use a licorice tincture or decoction (a liquor resulting from concentrating its essence by heating or boiling) to sweeten the bitterness of the mushrooms mentioned above.
Astragalus is famous for its ability to strengthen your immune system, especially of the lungs. If you have a tendency to catch colds and flus easily, you can take this popular herb from Chinese medicine as a tincture, or add it into the mushroom brew mentioned above.
There are dozens of additional herbs, as well as essential oils, you can use to fortify your lungs further –– depending on whether you’re suffering from congestion, dryness or inflammation.
Essential Oils for Protection
Essential oils are primarily inhaled during aromatherapy, so they have a direct effect on the respiratory system. And, there are many you can add to your natural home pharmacy for protecting the lungs –– especially during cold and flu season.
These include eucalyptus and conifer oils for their expectorant and antimicrobial effects, and flowers, such as lavender, for their anti-inflammatory benefits. Strongly antimicrobial oils, such as tea tree, are also popular choices for promoting respiratory health.
Yet, essential oils are potent and must be used safely to be beneficial and effective. Uses include dispersing them into the atmosphere in your home via a diffuser, putting a few drops in a bath, mixing them in a carrier oil (such as jojoba or grapeseed), or in a salve for a chest rub. You can also inhale a few drops directly from your palm.
Plants for protection have been used since ancient times, their beneficial results time-tested and enjoying a resurgence in modern treatments.
Today, there’s literally a global pharmacopeia of medicinal plants and essential oils available to protect us from toxins, stress and illness.
And with their help, you too can be one of those healthy people who navigates winter’s cold and flu season feeling strong, vital and empowered as you play an active role in boosting your immunity and healing naturally.
Please be aware that the remedies shared in this blog have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or health care provider. The information here is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a health care provider, and should not be construed as individual medical advice.
P.S. Enjoy the insights above? If so, you’re invited to share your experiences and thoughts below.