Monday, October 4, 2010

Winter Herbal Remedies

Do you know how to make some common herbal remedies?

Most people I talk to aren't sure where to start. It is incredibly easy and safe, however, so don't be afraid to try!

Winter cold and flu season is coming up, so I thought I'd post a couple cost-effective natural herbal medicines that you can make at home...

Elderberry Tincture

1. Put 1/2 C. of dried whole ripe Black Elderberries (sambucas nigras) in a glass pint canning jar. Fresh berries can be used, however you will need 190 proof alcohol.
2. Add enough 90-100 proof vodka to cover the dried berries. Alternatives to alcohol include vinegar or vegetable glycerine. Alcohol is the most effective menstruum for drawing out the medicinal properties of the herbs, however.
3. Screw on the jar lid and place in a dark cupboard.
4. The next day, if the berries have swelled above the liquid level, add more menstruum (alcohol) to cover.
5. Every day for four weeks, shake jar once a day.
6. After four weeks, strain liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth into a dark glass storage bottle (with dropper is best). Compost the marc (used berries).

Typical adult dosage is 1-2 droppers 1-3 times per day. This remedy is extremely effective for boosting your immune system in general, and preventing the flu virus.

Decongestant Tea

1 T. dried yarrow leaves/flowers
1 T. dried peppermint leaves
1 T. dried elder flowers
pinch of cayenne pepper, or as much as you can stand ;)

Place dried herbs in a glass bowl or glass quart measuring cup. Pour 4 C. boiling water over the herbs and decoct (steep), covered with a glass plate, for at least 10 minutes. Drink throughout the day (with a little honey if needed).

As a general rule, when taking herbal medicine, only administer 6 days out of 7, taking a break one day a week so that your body can work through any buildup of certain substances like alkaloids.

Start at the smallest dose recommended, and increase slowly as you watch how your body responds to the treatment - people whose liver is not functioning well should certainly be more careful when using herbs.

*Disclaimer: you try these remedies at your own risk, I am simply sharing from experience, not as a licensed medical practitioner ;)

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