Hi Dr. Tilgner,
I have to fight the flu in the winter, when most of my plants no longer have leaves. I was going to try to plan this year and make some plant medicine while the leaves are still on to prepare myself. What herbs can you recommend in a temperate climate to fight viruses like the flu?
I'm not the doctor, but it's been a few days, so if nothing else this will bump the post for more visibility. However, here in zone 5/6, we plant elderberry and echinacea. Elderberry has research indicating it can help with flus and echinacea is supposed to help with the immune system. However, if we get a stuffy nose that seems like it's going to be a sinus infection, I'll go for a few basil flowers for the antimicrobial properties and some perennial chamomile for the antinflamatory properties and try to hover over the steam as I sip the tea. I may throw in some honey too.
Though one of the helpfulest things I found here is adequate moisture in the air to keep that first line of defense at maximum health (the life in your orfices) and avoidance.
Yarrow is my go to for flu and cold symptoms. I make as strong a tea as I can with what’s available, and rerun hot water over several times and it still tastes good. It stays in leaf all year down near the Redwoods, not sure about in Portland with the Columbia basin effect that gives you unnorthwesterly weather.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
i find elderberry to help making a tea with the dry berries good if the cold has gone to your chest area
also helped the last few times i got broncitus i have asthma too so usally it will go straight to my lungs
another one - mint, other essential oil, a little bit of it into a big pot of just boiled water. towel over the head to catch the steam and breathe it until your face is bright red and you cant stand the heat anymore !
an easy way to store elderberry for winter is to stick them in big ziplocks and put in freezer. its also a bit easier to get them off the stems when they are frozen, which can be a tedious task. you dont want any of the little stem pieces, as many as you can get out.
another way is to make syrup with the elderberries when they are ripe. boil it down sort of like jam, add honey or another sweetener. then its like a simple cough syrup...store in jars or bottles till you need it...
Another tea option is to use dehydrated Boneset and Goldenrod leaves. Flowers can be used, but it sure tastes better without them. I'll often throw some ginger root from the store, and of course honey in the tea as well.
These both grow as weeds on our property. We have Late Flowering Boneset rather than Common Boneset, they have similar uses medicinally.
Ginger and garlic are also good. We have an in-door lemon tree so my husband can get his lemiginger tea.
Those throat sprays for sore throat are a topical numbing agent, which mint is and likely the origins of the spray.
My herbalist friend preserved our elderberry berries in alcohol. I'm working on some mint extract, which is mint soaking in alcohol (and later strained). I wonder if that couldn't be sprayed as a numbing agent. Any thoughts?
I wonder if common plantain would be good for mending sore throats, since it's used to mend exterior wounds? Anyone have experience with that?
I appreciate your replies. It appears that Dr. Tilgner wasn't sufficiently interested in the topic to answer. Here's what I do and have planned.
I gather elderberry and make jam, which I eat while sick and to prevent it. I grow Cornus mas, a dogwood popular in Eastern Europe and used as a nutraceutical. I also take chile, garlic, and ginger. Lots of sleep and fluids. I often feel like fasting, so I do. Sometimes I take baking soda in water, which leaves your body more alkaline.
This year I purchased boneset, hottuynia, and European licorice, which are prominently featured in Stephen Buhner's "Herbal Antivirals", a book I HIGHLY recommend.
I agree with most herbalists, who say that we should get out of the single bullet point of view, and use a variety of different things to fight antivirals.