Sunday, March 23, 2008

A few easy remedies

Since, it seems, that many people are currently reeling from the after effects of some noxious nasty or another, I thought I'd provide a few quick and easy remedies for some of these lingering symptoms of colds, flus, etc.

The majority of these can be purchased in health food stores, specialty herb stores, or most chain natural food markets.

Additionally, all these products are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certified, and if you choose the brand name along with product name, you can be assured that there are no heavy metals, unknown pharmaceuticals, fillers, sugars, artificial colors, or other unknown contaminants. Given that these are Chinese forumulas, and some are manufactured in China, GMP certified products are especially important to herbalists and the herb industry.

Sinus Congestion and Sinus Infections

Bi Yan Pian

Clinical Uses:

allergic rhinitis, acute and chronic rhinitis, perennial rhinitis, acute and chronic sinusitis, post-nasal drip, upper respiratory tract infection, common cold, and influenza.


Xanthium sibiricum fruit, Magnolia denudata flower, Forsythia suspensa fruit, Saposhnikovia divaricata root, Angelica dahurica root, Anemarrhena asphodeloides rhizome, Glycyrrhiza uralensis root, Schizonepeta tenuifolia herb, Chrysanthemum indicum flower, Schisandra chinensis fruit, Platycodon grandiflorum root.

This formula is espcially useful for chronic congested sinuses--the ongoing stuffed-up nose that simply doesn't goes away, even though it's been 3 weeks since you got the darn cold to begin with. Also, it is very effective for sinus infections, usually clearing them up within a day or so.

Horseradish Root

Another good choice at the early stages of a sinus infection, grate 1 Tblsp. of fresh horseradish root and add enough apple cider vinegar to cover the root. Drink the cider vinegar and discard the horseradish. Like wasabi, it immediately enters the sinuses and provides some immediate relief. Another option, is, of course, to simply go have sushi and eat as much of the wasabi as you can stand!

Low Energy

Does it seem like you're still draggin' your tail, even though that cold or flu is several weeks behind you? It's likely that you could use a little help boosting your immunity and energy after a bout with some of the nasty stuff that's been circulating this winter.

Siberian Ginseng
Not a real ginseng, Siberian Ginseng, or Eleutherococcus senticosus, is especially useful after enduring a particularly hard sickness. It is anti-inflammatory, counteracts stress and fatigue, and is often prescribed for low vitality and a lack of endurance. Siberian Ginseng helps to increase blood circulation and is said to be a Qi (Energy) Tonic.

If using the tincture 40 to 60 drops 3 to 4 times a day for several days should help. This is also a respected plant for athletes, which I am still planning to elaborate on, as it increases endurance and stamina.

Increase Immunity
After a bout with a hard-to-shake illness, it's good to do a short blast of immuno-enhancing to get yourself back on track. My recommendation is a 4-week blast using two simple herbs, Echinacea and Astragalus.

Echinacea has past been in the news in articles where the intent is obviously to debunk or discredit the herb and its benefits. The articles (A quick Google search in the news archives will take you to many of these) often refer to the ineffectiveness of Echinacea at preventing colds, or reducing symptoms of colds. There is much debate about the kinds of scientific studies that have been performed with Echinacea; some are well done, some are not. That's just the way scientific studies are. However, herbalists have long known that while Echinacea does not prevent colds, nor reduce it's symptoms, it is quite effective at boosting immunity.

Generally, it can be safely taken when sick to help reduce the duration of colds and other sicknesses. And after sickness, it is generally regarded as a simple remedy to boost immunity. It is often recommended for two weeks time. Echinacea pupurea is thought to be the most powerful of the Echinacea species. Herbs Etc. make a wonderful tincture called Echinace Triple Source that has all three Echinacea species in it, and it makes your mouth all tingly so you know it's strong! Some herbalists feel that the benefit of using Echinacea to enhance immunity are reduced after two weeks.

Echinacea should not be taken by those allergic to ragweed, those with autoimmune disorders or if taking drugs that can hurt the liver.

The second immuno-blast herb is Astragalus. According to MedHerb, Astragalus membranaceus one of the top fifty herbs used by clinical herbalists in the U.S., where it placed sixteenth. Clinically, it is known for building resistance to colds and infections. It also figures prominently in the herbal treatment of cancer, AIDS, and autoimmune diseases. It builds overall immunity, strengthens the lungs, and improves the digestion. It increases endurance and body weight in animals. American varieties of astragalus are known as “locoweed” because of their overstimulating effects on cattle that eat too much of them. In Chinese medical terms, astragalus is said to build up the protective Qi, also called the Wei Qi. Astragalus is the primary herb in Chinese herbalism used to strengthen Wei Qi.

My instructor Leslie Tierra used this analogy for using Astragalus: use this herb as your "home defense system" as it can help build your body's immunity such that the outer walls are like a fortress, but at the first sign of a cold or other sickness, stop taking Astragalus, as that is like locking the robber in the house...and the last thing we want to do is lock a sickness in!

Astragalus can be used long term and its effects are said to increase the longer it is taken. Post sickeness, I suggest starting astragalus after all known symptoms of the illness are gone, and after the Echinacea has been taken for two weeks. A two-week "blast" of Astragalus should help the body back to it's strong and healthy state.

Cheers to Good Health!

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