It seems this odd winter season is taking a toll on my family's immune health. This back and forth between temperatures has us in a constant state of viral infection and phlegm. Recently I posted a recipe using astragalus, one of the best immune-boosting herbs available. But astragalus is a long-term solution, a more preventative measure than acute fix. Taken over time it can really improve your body's ability to fight infection.
That being said, we needed something now. Humidifier has been running around the clock and yet the scratch in the back of our throats was signalling us to do something and quick.
So I made this tea.
And drank a lot of it.
By a lot I mean eight cups a day.
Herbs are so useful but are a bit misunderstood. Drinking a small cup with about one teaspoon of tea, equivalent to a standard tea bag, will not stand up to the infection knocking at the door to your body. So many people try herbs and tell me, "it didn't work!" and turn to over-the-counter or prescription drugs for quick fix.
Please understand, herbs take time. Drugs may work on the front-end but eventually your body will pay the price of reduced immunity, depleted healthy gut bacteria, and a longer recovery time. Herbs, although they take a little longer to kick in, will over time aid your body in standing up to the viral or bacterial infection before it enters your body - like a shield.
Back to this tea. This tea is full of herbs that reduce phelgm in the body [which means they are drying, more about this later] and provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain health. Because this herbal mix is drying it's important to drink a lot of water, add a little honey to the tea, lubricate your skin and inner nostrils with pure, unrefined sesame or coconut oil, and keep the humidifier going.
In addition, zinc, vitamin D3, vitamin C, and specific mushrooms; steamed vegetables and broth-based soups; a diet with less phlegm inducing foods like meat, dairy, and sugar; restful sleep and moments of quiet throughout the day; laughter and creativity; and community all help give the body the best chance at standing up to illness. A note about supplements: not all are created equal and there is a lot of snake oil out there. It's best to talk with someone about rigorously tested supplements rather than running to the store and picking up a bottle that seems to look okay.
May a sense of deep health and well-being settle over you this winter season.
Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
Note: all the herbs listed here are used in whole, dried form not powder. Please take the time to look into the herbs and make sure they are appropriate for you. Mountain Rose Herbs is a great resource to check specific herbs for any known contraindications.
1/2 c. fennel seed
1/2 c. rosehips
1/2 c. nettle leaf
1/2 c. peppermint leaf
1/4 c. lemongrass
1/4 c. cut ginger
1/8 c. calendula flower
1/8 c. mullein
1/8 c. red clover flowers
Combine all herbs in a large glass bowl and mix well. Fill large size press n' brew tea bags with about 2 - 3 tablespoons of herb mix. Seal shut with iron. You can also you large mine-mesh tea strainer, reusable cotton tea bag, or cheesecloth to hold herbs.
Place one large tea bag in a quart size mason jar or large teapot. Fill with boiling water and let steep until water is room temperature, still warm but not hot. Drink throughout day. In times of acute infection, drink two quart-size jars [eight cups] a day.
Serve with a couple slices of organic lemon and a teaspoon or two of raw honey.