With COVID-19 a global crisis, these are trying times for many of us, seeing the failures of late-stage capitalism and the lack of support systems for those most in need. I am very privileged to work at home and be able to self-isolate, and hope that in doing so I may “flatten the curve” (the statistical chart that shows the progression of an epidemic charted against the capacity of the healthcare system over time).
In addition to practicing good hygiene (check out the CDC for handwashing 101 and more) and avoiding crowded places, we may also supplement our diets using herbs for immune support and wellness. Fire cider and elderberry syrup are two popular and powerful herbal allies for your health, but there are so many more we can utilize for wellness. In sharing these few, I want to make clear that these are not meant to replace any sort of necessary medical care. Please seek professional medical assistance for difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; sudden dizziness; severe/persistent vomiting; flu-like symptoms, etc.
Herbal Allies for Immune Support and Wellness
- Clove – Caryphyllus aromaticus – This kitchen staple is antiseptic, and can be consumed or used to make a DIY all-natural cleaning solution.
- Ellecampane – Inula helenium – An expectorant, ellecampane is great for asthma and respiratory issues. Make a tea using 1 heaping teaspoon of rootstock with 1 cup water, sweetened with 1 teaspoon honey. Take 1-2 times daily.
- Garlic – Allium sativum – This kitchen staple is antibacterial, antiviral, and delicious. In addition to eating as much as you can bear, you can make a tincture from the raw cloves. Add 1/2 pound peeled cloves to 1 quart brandy. Soak for 2 weeks in a bottle with an airtight seal, shaking daily. Strain before use, and take approximately 10-20 drops daily, as needed.
- Ginger – Zingiber officinale – In addition to being a delicious addition to a dish, ginger is packed full of vitamins and antioxidants to boost your immune system. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of powdered rootstock (or a coin-sized slice of fresh ginger) in 1 cup hot water, sweetened with 1 teaspoon honey.
- Marijuana – Cannabis sativa – Yup, you read that right: in addition to the myriad of medical uses, marijuana is antibiotic and antiasthmatic, and it gets bonus points for being an antidepressant and euphorigenic herb at a time when we could all use a little stress relief. (Just don’t share your joint.)
- Plantain – Plantago lanceolata or Plantago major – This common “weed” is astringent, and in addition to being great topically for bug bites, bee stings, etc., a tea made from 1 teaspoon of leaf in 1 cup of hot water is great for respiratory issues.
- Rosehips – There are over 100 species of roses, but traditionally the red roses are best for medicinal uses. Rosehips are antiseptic and contain vitamin C, and make a deliciously tart tea.
- Thyme – Thymus vulgaris – While the oil is a powerful antiseptic, and can be used in DIY cleaning solutions, the dried herb is a kitchen staple and may be used medicinally as well. For sinus issues, I like to make a strong infusion of dried thyme in a large bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head, creating a tent around you and the bowl to trap the steam, breathing deeply.
- Turmeric – A powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, this root has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. In addition to making golden milk using turmeric and coconut milk, the powdered root can be added to your cooking, and is delicious in stir-fry and curry.
During this time of strain, I hope you are all well, and being gentle with your tender hearts. Limit stressful media consumption, reach out to those you love, and wash your hands. <3