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Thursday, November 23, 2017


Our hands, feet, ears and head contain reflex points that correspond to every area and organ in our bodies. Reflexology charts show you what looks like a map of your body organs and glands with nerve endings that correspond to each organ, gland and area of the body. 
 Applying pressure to these specific points or areas stimulates the organs and areas of the body to help remove blockages, gives them a boost, and tells them to begin working. Reflexology also works to get the circulation flowing in specific areas of the body and can help break up congestion within the body that is keeping the circulation from flowing freely.

Tender spots are indicators of blockages within that particular area or organ. Blockages do not necessarily mean that there is something terribly wrong, but that the area of the body needs a bit of attention. and needs energy flowing.  Sometimes a congested or a blocked area will feel tight or thicker and less pliable.

Other areas may have the feeling of a knot or like that of a small BB or hardened pellet under the skin. These are referred to as crystals.  Once the crystals or tight areas break up or loosen up by pressing or applying pressure with the thumb and fingers, it allows circulation (energy) to flow freely. Imagine it as drinking a smoothie through a straw and as you drink a piece of fruit gets stuck in the straw keeping your drink from flowing though. Once you break up or remove that blockage, everything can flow freely once again. 

Reflexology has also been found helpful in stimulating the lymph to flow and stimulating the bowel to function. Reflexology opens the neural pathways by reducing stress and calming the body and mind which stimulates the body to heal.
There is a "vital energy" in the human body. If stress is not addressed, it leads to congestion of energy, which in turn causes bodily inefficiencies, which can lead to illness. This is what the Chinese call CHI energy.  The zones are similar to, but not the same as meridians found in Chinese medicine. However, there are some correlations between meridians and location of organs on the feet and ankles.

The reflexologist's application of pressure to feet, hands, or ears sends a calming message from the peripheral nerves in these extremities to the central nervous system, which in turn signals the body to adjust the tension level. This enhances overall relaxation, brings internal organs and their systems into a state of optimum functioning, and increases blood supply (which brings additional oxygen and nutrients to cells and enhances waste removal). It positively affects the circulatory, respiratory, endocrine, immune, and neuropeptide systems in the body.

Reflexology can produce pain relief through the gate control theory, or, the neuromatrix theory of pain. This theory suggests that pain is a subjective experience created by your brain. The brain does this in response to the sensory experience of pain, but it can also work independently of sensory input and create pain in response to emotional or cognitive factors. Thus things that influence the brain, such as your mood or external factors like stress can also affect your experience of pain. According to this theory, reflexology may reduce pain by reducing stress and improving mood.

Reflexology dates back to ancient China, Egypt, India and Japan. The re-discovery of reflexology is accredited to Dr. William Fitzgerald who in 1913 titled it Zone Therapy. Dr. Edwin F. Bowers and Dr. George Starr White also wrote books on reflexology. Another doctor, Dr. Joe Riley, had a student, Eunice Ingham, 
who was very interested in Dr. Fitzgerald’s method. With the encouragement of Dr. Riley, Eunice continued to improve and advance reflexology and to take her method to others. Ms. Ingham wrote her first book, Stories the Feet Can Tell, in 1938.  As opposed to Fitzgerald’s technique of using the reflex points to numb certain areas, she found that stimulating the reflex areas produced healing.

drawing of zones on feet

Zone theory

The recognition of reflexology as a specific type of treatment began with Zone Theory, in which the body is divided into 10 vertical zones. Each zone corresponds to fingers and toes all the way up to the top of the head. For example, if you are standing up with your hands on your thighs (palms facing down) the thumbs and great toe would be zone 1. On either side of the body, the index finger and second toe would be zone 2, etc.

In reflexology theory, every organ, valve, muscle, etc. that lies within a zone can be accessed via a point or area on the feet or hands. For example, working between toes 2 and 3, or fingers 2 and 3, the eye point is found. These pathways between pressure points and other parts of the body are thought to be connected via the nervous system.

Essential Oils and Reflexology
Essential oils are usually applied to the feet.  By using the reflex points and specific essential oils that correlate to healing that area, you will find that your family members or clients will find improvement to conditions that are bothering them.  Essential oils that help the brain can be applied to the big toes (Frankincense, Rosemary, Geranium, Vetiver) for conditions like depression, lack of concentration, anxiety and hyperactivity.  Eucalyptus and Lemon can be applied to the chest reflex points for respiratory conditions.  Dill, Ginger, Peppermint and Spearmint can be applied to the stomach areas for nausea and stomach ache.  Cypress to the leg areas (circulation), Birch and Lemongrass to the entire bottom of the foot for foot pain conditions (plantar faciitis), and oils like Tea Tree, Rosemary, Ravensara, Thyme and Oregano for pathogens (illness). 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

INFLAMMATION - Wound and Tissue Damage Herbs, Essential Oils and Nutrients

The commonly known treatment for INFLAMMATION is R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevate). 
Gabe Mirkin, the man who first proposed the R.I.C.E. protocol in the 1970’s, recently wrote an article questioning the benefits of ice and complete rest. “The response to both infection and tissue damage is the same. Inflammatory cells rush to injured tissue to start the healing process. The inflammatory cells called macrophages release a hormone called Insulin-like growth Factor (IGF-1) into the damaged tissues, which helps muscles and other injured parts to heal. However, applying ice to reduce swelling actually delays healing by preventing the body from releasing IGF-1.”
So, in the case of an acute injury, inflammation is a GOOD THING - it's the body's natural defense and healing system.
Ice gives relief and helps reduce swelling that causes pain, but it also slows your body’s natural ability to heal.  Taking anti-inflammatory medications like NSAIDs can do the same! NSAIDs (like ibuprofen) are problematic because they prolong the healing of an injury and they can wreak havoc on your gut, causing both severe and chronic digestive problems. People often think of these over-the-counter medications as being safe but in reality they are responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

Plants to help wound and tissue damage (Inflammation):

ARNICA - dilates capillaries, which increases blood flow to and from the injury. This increased blood flow brings healing hormones to the area and moves stagnant blood (like bruises). The result is decreased swelling and faster healing time. It’s best to use arnica on closed wound injuries.

ALOE VERA - the gel has the action of steroids, penetrates the skin quickly and deeply, increases circulation of blood to an area (where blood goes, healing goes).

CHAMOMILE and HELICHRYSUM -  essential oil can be easily applied topically to any injured area, to reduce pain, swelling, bruising, skin irritation and help in the healing process. 

COMFREY - healer of wounds, ulcers, knitter of flesh, sinew and bone.

ST. JOHNS WORT - helps with injuries and pain, especially nerve pain.  Also for bruises, sprains and neuropathy.  Reduces scarring and relieves pain and itching related to wound healing.Foods to reduce inflammatory conditions:

PINEAPPLE - contains bromelain which is very anti-inflammatory. 

ALL GREEN FOODS - Kale, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, chard, lettuce, etc all help to keep the body pH alkaline.  An acidic condition in the body increases inflammation.

MINERALS - Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Sodium and thee 72 trace minerals help to alkalinize the body and keep it from an acidic and inflammatory condition.

What causes inflammation?


20 grams beeswax
25 grams coconut oil
20 grams shea butter
2/3 cup arnica infused oil
2/3 cup St. John’s wort infused oil
2/3 cup helichrysum hydrosol
20-40 drops of lavender essential oil                 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

With ESSENTIAL OILS - All is well!

Historically plant oils and essential oils have been considered precious substances used as beautifying and healing agents. When the baby Jesus was born wise men from the East came bearing gifts of Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. Frankincense and Myrrh are known for their extraordinary antiseptic, healing and emotionally uplifting qualities and even as perfumes. Cleopatra understood the power of botanical smells and used them to attract Marc Anthony-a Roman general. When she left to meet him, she had the sails of her ship drenched in Jasmine. Marc Anthony fell deeply in love with the Egyptian ruler.  A French cosmetic chemist in the 1920’s burned his arm badly in his laboratory. He plunged his arm in the nearest cold liquid that happened to be lavender oil. He was surprised to find that it lessened the pain and it healed quickly without a scar. He is responsible for the term “aromatherapy”.Today we can purchase quality essential oils in many places - - but it is important to know the source, because in this worldwide market there are many who are cheating those who cannot tell the difference between pure oils and those that have been adulterated.
Essential Oils (when high quality)can be used in many ways; applied topically, ingested orally or diffused as an aromatic. Note that orally is potentially dangerous and is not recommended by amateur practitioners who have not studied in depth.  The most safe application is on the bottoms of the feet, as the feet have more pore per square in in the body - - and the hotter oils will not burn the plantar tissues.  Within seconds essential oils are flowing throughout the body.

For babies, cautions are high, because the liver is not yet developed - so the only safe essential oils are Lavendar (calming, sleep), Ravensara (colds, viruses), Dill (colic) - - and Eucalyptus radiate (diluted 1:4) on the back for respiratory. These same rules apply to the elderly and very weak.

Essential oils enter our body topically and aromatically. Topically oils pass through our skin, to the capillaries and into the bloodstream. These oils contain the life blood of the plants they were extracted from. The molecules are so small and lightweight that in the distilling process they separate from the heavier nutritional molecules (found in Hydrosols).  Oils contain terpenes, ketones, aldehydes, esters, terpene alcohols, cineol’s, phenols, phenylprophane derivatives, sesquiterpenes and more. While these names may sound foreign, they are the characteristics inside the plants that have special jobs. They come in a balanced form that works in a beautiful symbiotic flow.  Their jobs can be to help protect, repair, relax, restore and so much more. They did that for the plant they came from and will do that for us too.

It is important to note that plants store their essential oils in small pouches and do not use them in their pure form. They retrieve and dilute their own oils when needed. So it is with humans, we should dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as grapeseed (the thinnest oil), coconut, almond or olive oil when applying topically.

Aromatherapy is both topical and aromatic. Smell is considered one of the most powerful senses we have. Smells grab our attention. They can take us back to a memory or bring us to the present moment. Babies use it to find their mother’s breast milk. Perfumes and colognes are used to attract attention. I call Geranium the "ALL IS WELL" essential oil, as it can help us overcome anxiety and incorrect-thinking patterns.  Apply to temples, back of neck, adrenals, heart and under the nose.   Repeat to yourself, "Even though I am feeling this _____________, all is well".  "Even though I cannot change ____________, all is well!"  "I can choose to have healthy emotions".

Hippocrates said, “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day.” Since that is not possible for most, we can care for ourselves by softening our skin with olive oil infused with drops of our favorite essential oils - - and making sprays of distilled water with drops of our favorite emotional or air-cleaning essential oils.  

Smells have unique shapes (chemical bonds) that give them their characteristics. Synthetic smells are man-made, generally alkanes, that often give headaches or other sensitivities. Pheromones are animal steroids that can incite aggression or libido, etc.

But, Essential oils are from plants and have terpenes that help us be calm, adaptive and flexible. The amazing thing about essential oils is that, unlike the synthetic cosmetics and perfumes, these botanical oils not only draw us in with their scent, but have healing qualities aromatically and topically. When entering our nasal cavity smells land on olfactory tissues. Tiny molecules land on the receptors of the olfactory tissues that are attached to the olfactory bulb. Smells are like a key and receptors are like a lock. Once they fit inside the lock, an electrical impulse is sent to the olfactory bulb and onto the brain. The olfactory bulb is situated in the brain’s limbic system and is connected to the amygdala which processes emotion  - - and the hippocampus that stores memory and facilitates learning. This is why smells are so personal and can trigger powerful memories and emotions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Anti-Aging NIGHT CREAM Recipe

This evening neck cream is rich in skin-conditioning oils. For soft, smooth skin, massage a small amount into your face and neck nightly. 
       2 tablespoons coconut oil
       1 tablespoon olive oil
       1 tablespoon grated cocoa butter
       1 teaspoon vitamin E oil

       3 drops Lavender essential oil
       3 drops Geranium essential oil

1. Mix all ingredients in a small pan and heat gently on the stovetop until the mixture warms and just begins to melt.

2. Remove from heat and stir until completely melted and mixed.

3. Add the essential oils, and stir quickly (if you add more essential oils, you will need more cocoa butter.

3. Pour into a clean jar with a lid.

3. Massage a small amount into your neck and face at night before going to bed.


Some of the most natural ways to get rid of age spots start with opening your pantry or refrigerator door.
Apple cider vinegar contains sulfur that can fight aging. The high acid content in apple cider vinegar also makes it an excellent skin exfoliant. Dab some on your age spots before bedtime. If the solution stings too much, leave the vinegar on for 30 minutes then wash it off.
Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to age spots twice daily for a few months. The citric acid in lemons provides a natural bleaching agent that will diminish the appearance of the spots.
• Raw fruit such as papaya pulp and pineapple contain enzymes that can accelerate skin exfoliation when used over time. Dab onto skin with a cotton ball.
Yogurt contains lactic acid, which can lighten and exfoliate skin. Apply a thin layer of yogurt to age spots and let sit for 20 to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


Thoughts and words that we feed into our mind also create “side effects” in our body. Toxic words and thoughts can be just as damaging to our overall health as the material toxic substances that we ingest.

“Sankalpa Samma Vaca” translates fron Sanskrit to “right speech, right action.” Right speech (Samma Vaca) is a skillful verbal act; a virtue that can be cultivated. We can take toxicity out of words we say to others as well as what we tell ourselves mentally (our inner dialog). Therefore, our words are not self-afflicting or afflicting others. We abstain and cleanse ourselves from lying, divisive and abusive speech, as well as idle chatter and gossip.

There is a subtle intention (Sankalpa) to cleanse and filter our words as well as our thoughts. Cultivating right speech in our thoughts leads to our inner dialog. If the inner dialog is nourishing, then what we say and do becomes our outer dialog. Our words will be true and reliable. They will unite and create harmony and will be soothing to the ear, affectionate and polite. They are spoken words that can heal because they are words worth treasuring. Our words are relevant and connected to the goal of uplifting and worthwhile communication. This builds healthy relationships with self and others.

There are five keys to right speaking:
  1. Right timing ~ Communication is uplifting and adds to the spirit of unity, wisdom and connection. It is given freely with no expectations attached. Words are spoken as a response when asked for rather than opinions that are forced upon another. Timing is right because the spoken words create a result of unity and connection. 
  2. Truth ~ There should be no intent to deceive, exploit, control or lead astray when speaking with others. Respect comes where true words are spoken whether or not there is agreement. The intention is pure with no hidden agendas. 
  3. Affection ~ Nourishing words are being used with love and gentleness. The intention is to understand rather than be understood, to build and support and create heartfelt connections. 
  4. Beneficial ~ What you say adds value rather than detracting and being self-serving. Speech is uplifting; you are open to new ideas and adding to the focus of the goal. 
  5. Goodwill ~ Words that come from the heart have a very healing effect.  Kindness out returns with kindness in.
The goal of communication is creating connections - so the statements you make to others as well as to yourself are best when they come from a place of peace, love, happiness and harmony. Words can be firm and to the point yet delivered in a way that is not offensive or damaging and hurtful to the soul. This type of conscious speaking is reflecting on words before, during and after speaking them so the outcome helps bring people closer together or closer to the desired outcome. Be conscious of the best use of words--anything less than your best requires a break to consider how you can re-phrase your words to be conscious of right speech. If you realize you may have said something that may have offended or hurt someone, be quick to apologize. Use this practice to change your behavior in your thoughts (inner speech) and your words (outer speech). It is so worth the effort to cleanse, nourish and heal your mind/body connection as well as unite your outer connections with friends, family and associates.

Saturday, May 13, 2017


Much more goes on within our bodies during the 24 hour time cycle than we are aware of. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to your daily living cycle. These patterns (rhythms) have a direct link to light and are found in most living things.  The rhythms are called "Circadian rhythms", and they affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally, including our sleeping and eating patterns. There is a natural ebb and flow in our energy throughout the day that is oftentimes controlled by the pineal gland (an area in the brain that responds to light and dark).

In Chinese medicine it is referred to as the body-energy clock, where Qi (energy) moves in two hour intervals through the body organ system. During sleep, the Qi is drawn inward to restore the body and during the day the Qi moves outward to assist in the bodily functions such as digestion and elimination.

Lungs are at their peak in the early morning, which is why it is best to schedule exercise at that time of day rather than later. Also active in the morning hours is the large intestine. 

The liver is at its peak between 1 am - 3 am which is the time when we are most often in our deepest sleep and the body and mind is the calmest.The liver stores and cleanses blood as well as hormones and our emotions.
This is why even a one-hour-shift of sleep has impact on us physically and mentally. It is important for our health to choose lifestyle habits that help us synchronize our body systems to the ebb and flow of energy.
 Tips for keeping or resetting the body clock to be in the flow of the natural rhythm of the body are:
  1. Follow the sun ~ In the morning open the shades and let the light in. This will help you get moving in the morning. Get as much light during the day as possible. At night as you are bringing your energy down ready for sleep, dim the lights. Try to keep out light in the room you sleep in, as much as possible.
  2. Adjust your activity levels ~ Make the morning hours your most active times. Wind down and take it easy the closer it gets to sleep time - - including usage of electronics. Read, write or do other calming activities just before lights out.
  3. Adjust meal schedule ~Eat your largest meals during the morning and afternoon when your digestive organs are functioning at their peak. Eating a big meal before bed often leaves you with a heavy feeling and it makes the body work harder during its resting time.
  4. Adjust your mind ~ Don’t sleep in even if you are up late. There really is no catching up on sleep. The body functions better when we stick with a habitual schedule as much as possible. If getting up in the dark is required for your work, use bright lighting as you prepare your day. If you have to sleep while it is still light, block out as much light as possible.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Folk Method for Solar-Infused Oils

Use the SUN to naturally infuse oil with the goodness of herbs! 

1. Place herbs in a clean, dry quart jar. It is recommended to use DRY herbs but if you desire fresh herbs, wilt them first for 12 hours to remove the moisture (too much water will cause your oil to go rancid), cut into small pieces, and crush with a mortal and pestle before adding to the jar. You can skip this step if your herbs are dried.

2. Fill remaining space in jar with oil, making sure to cover herbs by at least 1”. If your herbs soak up all of the oil, then pour more on top to ensure that the herbs are well covered.
3. Stir well and cap the jar tightly.
4. Place the jar in a sunny and warm windowsill. Shake once or more per day. You can also cover the jar with a brown paper bag if you prefer that to direct sunlight. 
5. After 2-3 weeks, strain the herbs out of the oil using a cheesecloth or an herb strainer. Make sure and squeeze out every precious drop of oil!
6. Pour into glass bottles and store in a cool dark place. The oil should keep for at least a year. Vitamin E oil may be added and used as a preservative.

Skin-Healing Salve Recipe

(Prep:  Infuse dried or fresh Calendula and Chamomile in Olive Oil)

3 ounces of Calendula and Chamomile infused oil (see above instructions).
1/2 ounce pure beeswax
15 drops lavender essential oil
3 (1-ounce) salve jars

1. Slowly heat infused oil in a saucepan to about 100 degrees.
2. Chop or grate the beeswax and gradually stir it into hot oil.
3. Once beeswax is melted, remove from heat and stir in essential oil.
4. Pour hot salve into 1-ounce jars and let cool. Cap jars and store at room temperature.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Honey, Sage and Cayenne Extract for Sore Throats and Upper Respiratory Infections

• 1 ounce dried sage leaf
• Pinch of cayenne
• 3 cups cold water
• Honey (made by bees in your area)
• Juice of 1 lemon


1. Combine sage and cayenne with water. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half.
2. Let cool enough that you can work with it. Strain liquid and press sage to extract as much liquid as possible.
3. Add honey, to taste, and lemon juice. Store in refrigerator and take 1 tablespoon or more often as needed at the onset of sore throat or upper respiratory infection.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Homemade Herbal Cough Drops
Powdered herbs
1 cup sugar, or honey
1/3 cup light corn syrup, or honey
1 1/2 cups water
Powdered sugar, for easy handling

1. Steep your preferred soothing herbs in 1 1/2 cups of water to make a tea.
2. Mix sugar and corn syrup with tea. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils.
3. Continue boiling without stirring until the mixture begins to crystallize; reduce heat. Wash away crystals from the side of your pan with a damp cloth.
4. Remove from the heat after a few minutes. Drop some of the mixture from the tip of a spoon onto a greased surface. Allow to harden and cool completely before removing. Roll the candies in powdered sugar and wrap in waxed paper for storage.


One of the most common medical conditions treated by primary care physicians is SINUSITIS, an infection of the sinus cavities.  SINUSITIS affects more than 14 percent of the population and accounts for more than $2 billion in annual health-care costs. If we add up all the other respiratory diagnoses, such as BRONCHITIS, ATHSMA and LUNG CANCER, it is obvious that conditions of the lungs and sinuses make up a pretty large chunk of the health problems people face.

Learning About the Lungs

Our lungs are the site of gas exchange: They are how we extract oxygen, required by every cell every minute, from the air we inhale and infuse it into the bloodstream. In the course of a single day, we inhale an amazing 8,000 to 9,000 liters of air. The air then meets the 8,000 to 10,000 liters of blood pumped through the pulmonary artery.

Although the lungs are located deep inside the chest, they are actually a continuation of the skin membrane that has folded into the lining of the respiratory cavity. As such, they share a common characteristic with external organs: They are constantly exposed to the world outside. With each breath, myriad alien substances enter the lungs — pollen, dust, microbes, animal dander, tobacco smoke and air pollution.

Natural medicines for the lungs are plentiful, but prevention (i.e. avoiding smoking) is the key. If you have a history of lung weakness, add a daily dose of a general lung tonic herbs and notice just how many fewer lung-related health issues you face.  Remember the old Chinese saying: “Treating a disease that is underway is like trying to make weapons while a war is already occurring.

Common Lung Problems

The skin, digestive tract and urinary tract share similarities with the lungs, so remedies for these organ systems often overlap with lung remedies. The skin, digestive tract and urinary tract are lined with mucous membranes. These membranes tend to get inflamed and to have problems with fluid flow — too much or too little — across the membrane. So it is with the lungs. Common respiratory problems include bronchitis or asthma, caused by inflammation; congestion or pneumonia, caused by too much fluid (mucus or sputum); and irritated tissue or unproductive cough, caused by too little fluid.

WET, PRODUCTIVE COUGHS produce lots of phlegm. If the phlegm is clear, chances are you’ve got a common cold. But darker yellow or green phlegm may signal a bacterial infection. A dry, or unproductive, barking cough brings up little mucus.

BRONCHITIS is an inflammation of the bronchial passages. As the irritated membrane swells, it narrows and shuts off the airways, bringing coughing spells, thick phlegm and breathlessness. In most cases the infection is viral, but sometimes it is caused by bacteria.

COUGHING, SNEEZING and POSTNASAL DRIP are reflex actions the body carries out to rid itself of irritants. As aggravating as these symptoms can be, they aren’t diseases in and of themselves, although they might be symptoms of more serious conditions.  A note of caution: See your doctor if your sore throat or fever lasts longer than 48 hours, or if you experience swelling or pain around the eyes, a headache, a dry cough and/or discharge from the nose. You might need antibiotics.

Natural medicine does very well with many respiratory ailments. THE LUNGS HAVE THE ABILLITY TO HEAL QUICKLY. After 10 to 15 years, an ex-smoker’s risk of premature death comes close to that of a person who has never smoked. The lungs have the richest blood and oxygen supply. If the tissues get what they need, they respond marvelously.

­Tonic Lung Herbs

Lung herbs are mild and well suited to making into teas.
The average dose for these teas is :
2-3 ounces of dry herb, brewed, daily, for acute symptoms
1ounce for maintenance.

ELECAMPANE ROOT (Inula helenium) is warming for a cold, wet cough; it doesn’t suppress the cough but increases expectoration. It is specific for treating irritating bronchial coughs, especially in children. Revered in Ayurveda as a rejuvenative tonic for the lungs, elecampane reduces excess chronic mucus in the respiratory tract and nourishes lung tissue. Elecampane also may be used for asthma and bronchitis. British herbalists use it for bronchial catarrh, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, pertussis, emphysema and chronic cough in the elderly. Recent scientific studies have confirmed the antimicrobial properties of elecampane.

COLTSFOOT FLOWER (Tussilago farfara) is an ancient European herb Roman soldiers used when they were posted to foreign lands. An excellent lung tonic, it supports lung and bronchial tissue, and is useful for colds, flu, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia. It’s a cooling expectorant that liquefies mucus, suppresses cough and also is a long-term respiratory builder. Excellent for cool, wet, endless springtime climates such as Oregon.
MULLEIN (Verbascum spp.) is a common wildflower that grows almost anywhere. You likely have seen it growing along the roadside. Mullein is an expectorant and demulcent herb, and also might have antiviral properties. Mullein has a high mucilage content. Its effects also may be from the mucus-loosening saponins it contains. Use hot mullein tea for coughs, sore throats and other respiratory irritations. Mullein rarely produces striking effects, but it can soothe a sore throat and bring temporary relief. Mullein can be more effective when combined with herbs with similar properties, such as yerba santa leaf (Eriodictyon californicum) and elecampane root.

LICORICE ROOT (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is another good choice as a long-term lung builder. A lung tonic with adrenal effects (it contains compounds similar to the adrenal cortical hormones), in the short term licorice root is an expectorant. Use it for a sore or dry throat, 5 to 7 grams daily as a tea, for as long as needed (usually about four weeks). Avoid the herb if you’re pregnant or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or a condition of the liver, heart or kidneys.

Stop the Coughing with These Herbs

OSHA ROOT (Ligusticum porteri) grows in the high altitudes in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain states. It’s a traditional American Indian remedy for use at the first sign of a respiratory infection. The herb has antimicrobial and expectorant properties. (Because osha is at risk of becoming endangered, be sure to check labels and purchase from cultivated, rather than wildcrafted, sources.)

LIGUSTICUM, Szechuan lovage root (Ligusticum wallichii), is a useful remedy in Chinese medicine. Most scientific studies of Ligusticum have focused on the Chinese species, but the plants are so similar that we probably can assume their effects are comparable. It’s clear that the herb contains anti-inflammatory ingredients. A 1994 Chinese study showed that this herb helps reduce respiratory inflammation, also reducing bronchial spasm and improving lung function. Chinese research also indicates that Szechuan lovage root can relax smooth muscle tissue and inhibit the growth of various bacteria. Take 15 grams daily, as a tea.
WILD CHERRY BARK (Prunus serotina)  If you have ever wondered why cough syrup is so often cherry flavored, you learned that the bark of the native North American herb wild cherry was the absolute standby for coughs in times past. The bark has a pleasant cherry taste when prepared as a tea. The plant contains cyanogenic glycosides, especially prunasin; once metabolized in the body, these glycosides suppress spasms in the smooth muscles lining the bronchioles, providing cough relief.
SLIPPERY ELM (Ulmus rubra) is native to North America. Slippery elm bark is another mucilage-containing, throat-soothing medicine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has deemed the herb a safe, effective cough soother. Take 2 ounces (dry weight) of slippery elm as a tea daily. Commercial slippery elm lozenges also are available and can be used throughout the day.

MARSHMALLOW ROOT (Althaea officinalis) has been used medicinally since ancient Greece, and Roman physicians suggested it for irritated tissues. The root contains very high levels of mucilage and quells irritation and associated dry cough, according to European authorities. Take 2 ounces (dry weight) of marshmallow as a tea daily.

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, a frequent contributor to Herbs for Health, is an adjunct faculty member in the botanical medicine department of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington.
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