I came home from the fabulous sun and sea of Culebra, Puerto Rico and I don't know whether it was the crowds in the airport, the recirculated air in the packed airplane or the change in the weather (it’s always easier going from cold to hot, then from hot to cold), but within four days I got slammed with some version of the flu that nearly everyone has seemed to have gotten this winter. From one day to the next, I went from feeling absolutely great to having chills, a killer headache, heavy congestion in my sinuses and every single muscle and bone in my body felt like it was breaking.
I was spared the nausea that a lot of people had the misfortune to have with this. (THANK GOODNESS)
As an herbalist, here is a synopsis of what I did to take care of myself and support my body's healing.
REST – this step was not an option, I had no choice. I was completely depleted. I rested for a full 5 days and nights – going from the bed to the bath to the bed to the bath, and not beyond!
BATHS – I took about three baths a day. I filled the bathtub with very hot water and added a copious amount of Epsom salts and baking soda, along with black birch bark oil and thyme tea. After the bath I'd drain about half the water and refill it with hot water when ready to bathe again, so as to save water.
HERBS- The first herb I turned to was boneset. Boneset is famous for helping with the kind of flu where your body aches all over. I mixed it with elderflower and Echinacea tinctures.
I drank infusions of elder blossom, sassafras leaf and marshmallow (leaf and flower from my garden). I also did steams with thyme to help my sinuses. Thyme has great antiseptic properties. I lived on bone broth, so thankful to have some in the freezer. That was all I wanted to eat for days. Vegetarians may enjoy an immune boosting soup with vegetables, and a variety of herbs, mushrooms and roots – including, shiitake, astragalus, burdock root)
• 1-2 cups Epsom salts
• 1-2 cups Baking Soda
• Optional: Black Birch Infused Oil 1-2 tablespoons
• Optional: 4-6 cups Thyme Tea
Add everything to hot bath – stir in ingredients – get in and relax!
• 2 droppers Boneset Tincture
• 2 droppers Echinacea Tincture
• 2 Dropper Elderflower Blossoms Tincture
Add to hot water or infusion – at least 4x a day
As the 5 days went on, I lowered the dose of the baths/herbs – to about ½ the amount. I rotated varies herbs in my infusions, such as Linden Blossom, Elder Blossom, Plantain Leaf, Marshmallow (leaf and flower), Sassafras leaf, and occasionally would just sip thyme or basil tea.
My Bone Broth:
• 4 cups bones (grass fed – organic)
•1 cup astragalus
• ½ cup chaga mushroom
• ½ cup burdock root
• ¼ cup of apple cider (herbal infused) vinegar
In a large soup pot, place all ingredients in and cover with cold water. You can also add in any vegetable scraps you may have. Cook for a minimum of 24 hours on low heat (24-48 hrs is optimal) Strain out everything and use as is or cook vegetables such as carrots, celery, onions and add them in.
You can use any seasonings you like, but immune boosting ginger, turmeric, garlic and seaweed are particularly helpful.
I relied heavily on adding lots of garlic (respiratory/anti-infective) and pine oxymel into my soup (and onto my greens when I started eating again!)
And like anyone else, even after I got better, I still had to rebuild my vital energy with good food and good sleep. I’ve been taking it easier than usual and continue to nourish myself with good herbal medicine. For example, I worked in my herbal clinic all day and drank an infusion of chaga, astragalus and ginger – all day long! I love that my herbal medicine can be just as delicious as it is effective!
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