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    Got flu? Try these 6 herbs

    If you’re sick and tired (no pun intended) of getting the cold and flu this winter; I have 6 herbs that will get you feeling better in no time! I have used most of these remedies so I can vouch for their effectiveness.

    Please note this is about herbs. There are plenty of sunnah remedies such as black seed oil, honey and the likes, which are powerful and that work alhamdulilah.

    But I also want you guys to start utilizing the things that grow around you, sometimes even in your own back garden (those pesky weeds).

    So in this post I’ll mention all the remedies according to these following stages;

    1. Prevention
    2. At the first sign
    3. Sore throats
    4. Congestion
    5. Fevers
    6. Recovery

     

    1. Prevention – Astragalus

    Most of us head for the medicine cabinet as soon as we’re feeling sick or run down. But the No.1 rule in treating sickness is prevention. Staying healthy and avoiding illness, is vastly superior, than having to actually address a cold or flu. Washing hands and avoiding sick people is a very limited approach, but simple things like adjusting our diets or taking herbs, can make a huge difference.

    And this is why I love Astragalus. It’s such a versatile yet powerful herb. I use the powder form as it’s easier to add to smoothies and juices.

    Who can use it?

    The root is used in most medicines and originates from China. Many take it to stay healthy. It can be used for people with weak immune systems and for those who frequently get colds and flu. People who work with kids can also ingest it, because it modulates the immune system. And if you have allergies, this herb is for you.

    Astragalus vitalizes the immune system and wards of infections. Lots of studies done (like this one), show that astragalus increases white blood cells, and stimulates the production of T cells. T cells are needed for a number of immune responses such as attacking bacteria and viruses.

    How to use it – Chai recipe

    Astragalus has a sweet taste that most people enjoy and can be mixed with other herbs. It can be cooked into foods like a broth or rice. Also it can be made into a decoction, just by simmering the root. I like to use a decoction rather than a tincture (alcohol based).

    The great thing about astragalus is that it can be used in big amounts (around 15-30 grams, which is like a big handful of roots), or around 2 teaspoons of the powdered form.

    I like to make astragalus chai. I personally love the taste, that’s why I prefer the tea. But if you’re not so keen on it just add 1 teaspoon to your morning oats or smoothies.

    The chai recipe is enough for 4 cups of tea. If you want to make a larger quantity and store then double the ingredients.

    For the Chai recipe you will need;

    • 2 tablespoons dried ginger root
    • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder (or just 1 stick of Ceylon cinnamon)
    • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
    • 2 tablespoons of dried orange peel
    • 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom pods
    • 10-20 grams astragalus root (or 1 teaspoon of powder form)
    • 6 – 9 grams  reishi sliced (optional)
    • 1 1/2 quarts water.

    Method

    1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then lower heat. Cover and simmer for one hour. Add milk and honey if desired.

     

    2. At the first sign – Elderberry

    Now, as an all natural Mama, a lot of people think that I can’t get sick. To be honest, I haven’t been sick in over 2 years, alhamdulilah and neither have my children – allahumma barik lahuma (May Allah bless them Aameen).

    But on the occasions that we’ve felt a little sick, we’ve used Elderberry and it goes down a treat in the Umm Natural household. It’s  probably my go to remedy of all time.

    The berries are used for the syrup which are great in preventing and stopping an upper respiratory virus. It also helps boost the immune system and modulate inflammation. Who would have thought that these little berries packed so much punch?

    The great thing about Elderberry is that they’re high in flavonoids. Flavonoids work by entering your cells and taking up a space that a virus would use, thus protecting your cells from the virus replicating. Cool right?

    Not only that but a study conducted in Australia found that participants who took elderberry syrup, upon the signs of a flu, recovered quicker (in 2 days) than those who took a placebo (recovered in 6 days). I don’t know about you but I’d rather feel better within 2 days than 6.

    Who can use it?

    Although there is no explicit data on the safety of Elderberry during pregnancy, lactating and children; I’ve taken elderberry whilst pregnant, lactating and have given it to my 19 month old (who started taking Elderberry at the age of one). I would start with a teaspoon a day and then build up to 1 teaspoon twice a day.

     

    How to use it – Elderberry Oxymel Recipe

    The great thing about Elderberry, is that it’s so versatile so the possibilities are endless. You can make it into a syrup, tea or jam and can take it in high doses, just like astragalus.

    The only caution is that it can cause nausea. I love making oxymel, which is just a combination of vinegar and honey.

    The Prophet sallahu alayhi wasallam is reported to have said that vinegar is a blessed condiment (Sunan an’Nasa’i) and honey is mentioned in the Qu’ran to be a healing for mankind (Qu’ran 16:68).

    Thus oxymel is more potent and wonderful for congestive coughs and great for the onset of cold and flu. Adults can take 1 tablespoon every hour and children 1 teaspoon twice a day.

    For the oxymel you will need;

    • Dried elderberries
    • 2 tablespoons dried ginger
    • 2 tablespoons sidr honey
    • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

    Method – Slow method

    1. Fill a quart jar 1/3 to 1/2 full with elderberries. Add ginger, honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well.
    2. Cover jar with wax paper as vinegar corrodes metal. You can use a metal lid also.
    3. The next day stir it again and add more vinegar if needed.
    4. Store in a dark place, and let this sit for 2-6 weeks, stirring occasionally and then strain off with a cheesecloth.
    5. Store in a fridge and use within 6 months

    For the quick method

    1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above.
    2. Lay a cheescloth on the bottom of a crock pot/slow cooker. Fill crock pot half way with water.
    3. Add the quart jar with all the ingredients, making sure the water is half way up the quart jar.
    4. Put on medium heat for 6 hours.
    5. Store in a fridge and use within 6 months.

    3. Sore throats – Sage

    I love me a bit of sage. It’s famous for cooling a sore throat and several other actions. One of them is acting as an astringent which helps tightens tissues. When you have a sore throat the tissues become swollen, so it makes sense to use an astringent, such as sage, that will help tighten them.

    Sage also has antimicrobial properties and helps inhibit bacteria in the body.  It’s one of the best remedies for laryngitis and tonsilitis.

    Who can use it?

    If you’re going to injest sage via a tea, then it’s harmful to pregnant and breastfeeding women. Sage contains thujone, which has been linked to miscarriage and studies show it can stop milk production.

    How to use it – Sage and Thyme Gargle

    This gargle can be used as a daily mouthwash. You don’t need a huge dose and can use very little and still have a grand effect.

    For the gargle you will need;

    • 1 tablespoon of dried sage leaves
    • 1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
    • 1/2 cup boiling hot water
    • 1 to 2 tablespoons pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
    • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (if you want to use as a mouthwash then don’t add this).

    Method

    1. Place the sage and thyme in a jar. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over the herbs.
    2. Steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the apple cider vinegar.
    3. This mixture will last for 48 hours. Keep it stored in the fridge.
    4. To use: gargle a small mouthful of this every 30 to 60 minutes. Gargle for as long as you can and then spit it out.

    4. Congestion – Ginger

    Can I tell you a secret? I eat ginger – raw! Yes raw. The great thing about ginger is, that you can use it at the prevention stage or when you feel the cold coming on. It’s spicy and warming and increases the potency of other herbs. It inhibits bacterial resistance mechanisms in bacteria, stimulates circulation, and reduces toxicity of endotoxin and pollutants.

    Ginger dilates blood vessels and increases circulation. Over the counter pills dry you up, but ginger works with the body and helps make mucous flow. A lot of us think mucus is bad, but in actuality it helps remove bacteria from the body. Ginger is that ‘get it moving’ herb.

    Who can use it?

    It’s safe to use during pregnancy and has been known to increase mother’s milk. I’ve made ginger tea for my kids without any problems. When my son had constipation, ginger tea helped relieve him.

     

    How to use it – Ginger tea

    If you’re using ginger on someone with a warm constitute then try fresh rather than dried ginger.

    For the tea you will need the following;

    • 2 teaspoons dried ginger
    • 1 1/2 cups of water
    • Honey as desired
    • Dash of lemon juice

    Method

    1. Place ginger and water in saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 mins. Remove from heat and strain. Add honey and lemon.

    5. Fevers – Elderflower

    We used to think fevers were bad until science put that theory to bed (literally). A fever is an important immune system function. Elderflowers, come from the same plant as elderberries, but are used a little differently. As it’s a relaxing diaphoretic (induces sweating), we use the flowers when someone has a fever and is feeling hot and restless, but not sweating. Elderflower allows heat to escape.

    Who can use it?

    There are no explicit data stating whether elderflower is safe for pregnant or lactating mothers. From my own personal experience; I have used Elderflower during the early stages of pregnancy, breastfeeding and my children have drunk the tea.

    How to use it – Elderflower Tea Recipe

    Elderflower just like elderberry is quite versatile. You can use it as a bath herb; make a tea and then add to a tepid water bath.  The biggest thing with fevers is to stay hydrated, so it’s a good idea to add elderflower to electrolyte water.

    For the tea you will need the following;

    1. Place the herbs in a pint jar. Fill the jar with just-boiled water and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain. Sip while warm.

    6. Recovery – Mullein

    A lot of health professions, don’t talk about recovery, yet it’s probably the most important stage because you can easily have a relapse. And this is where mullein plays a part.

    People think mullein is a pesky weed, yet it is an amazing lung remedy often used for coughs. It opens the lungs, reduces coughing and tightness, lubricates the mucosa, relaxtes the larynx, opens the sinuses and causes a more open feeling in the head and brain. Phew! Try saying that all in one breath. It’s best for when you have that hacking, dry cough that just won’t go away.

    The flowers can also be used for aches and to strengthen the urinary system.

    Who can use it?

    As it’s a less common herb it’s best for pregnant and lactating mothers not to consume mullein. Only use small doses on children (a teaspoon a day) and don’t use for a prolonged period of time.

    How to use it – Mullein tea recipe

    The important thing to note is that the leaves are fuzzy, which can become an irritant to the lungs. So if you’re using fresh mullein leaves make sure to prepare it properly, by drying and straining in water before drinking.

    For the tea you will need

    Method

    1. Pour one cup of boiling water over a handful of mullein leaves
    2. Steep for 10-15 minutes
    3. Strain mixture and drink.
    4. Add honey if desired.

    What’s your favorite cold/flu busting recipes? Comment below and don’t forget to subscribe for weekly updates.

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