River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Herbal Medicine for Everyone

January 2009

The first or new monthly Herbal Medicine items

Hello! First I shall introduce myself. My name is Sophie, I have recently moved to the area and am a fully qualified Medical Herbalist and mother. To find out more you can either visit my website or come to one of my talks which I will be holding in various villages over the coming months. I am also happy to offer 15 mins of free initial advice. On this page you will be able to find information about medicinal plants, healthy eating and health in general in the form of herb write ups, recipes, sayings and more... I will endeavour to focus on herbs that are available in our immediate surroundings some of which may even be growing in your very own garden!

Winter Colds: treatment & prevention

Winter is now in full swing along with its characteristic coughs, colds and runny noses. Small babies and young children who haven't been exposed to the current strains of viruses and bacteria are the ones most susceptible to catching an infection, as are the elderly, whose natural immunity has declined with time.

Apart from taking routine precautions such as avoiding a prolonged exposure to cold air and being suitably clothed to protect oneself, one can take herbal teas or tinctures which can have a number of effects including improved circulation and support for the immune system, these being utmost important in order to fend off the virus and post-viral symptoms of persistent cough and/or catarrh.

Herbs which you can combine to fight a cold include: fresh ginger root (grated), cayenne pepper (chilli), elderflower, thyme, yarrow, peppermint, cinnamon, cloves... you may already have some of these in your kitchen, otherwise they can be obtained from supermarkets, health food shops or your local herbalist! My favorite way is to steep these in boiling water for 5-10 minutes (best in teapot or cafetier). You can then add the juice of half a lemon per cup and some good quality honey to taste to make a soothing drink.

For best results take at least 3 cups of tea a day as long as there is a chance of catching a virus or until one that has set in passes. Tea is best taken hot as this helps to further dislodge any mucous. Use a flask to make it easier!

Garlic (Allium sativa)

In addition to yummy teas if you can handle a bit of garlic it is most certain that you will have more defense against these winter viruses. Studies have found that garlic has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. The active ingredient found in garlic (allicin) is produced from alliin + allinase on crushing the clove, and is rather unstable. It is therefore best to consume freshly crushed garlic. To make it more palatable you can mix it with honey or wash it down with water, alternatively spread it on some toast and cover with the topping of your choice (Houmous is my fave, mmm). Take 1 clove daily as a preventative or up to 5 cloves daily for treatment of viral or bacterial infection.

Safety: if you are taking anticoagulant drugs (e.g. warfarin) or are scheduled for surgery, please consult your doctor or herbalist before consuming large amounts of garlic.

Garlic and Ginger Syrup recipe

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup honey (runny is best)

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

1 dash cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, shaking vigorously to mix in the honey.

The syrup is then ready to use. If you want to strain out the bits it is best left over night so that all the ingredients are well infused. Feel free to experiment with the quantities or make different ones for children who may not tolerate the garlic (don't assume they wont though! I think it tastes great - keeps the vampires away!)

Keep refridgerated. It should keep up to 2 weeks with the bits in and longer if strained. I like to make it when we have a cold and use it all up. A good dose is 1 tablespoon 3 to 6 times daily, start children on teaspoon doses and work up to 3 tablespoons daily.

My 2 year old takes a syrup mixed with tinctures when she has a virus and she always asks for more!!

Happy Learning to you all 

"It is easy to float along with a smile when life is as sweet as a song, but a man worthwhile is a man with a smile when everything goes wrong" S.N. Goenka.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.


Sophie Paulding (BSc) MNIMH

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