Much of the time, tending to a sick loved one, means supportive care. When your family member has a cold or flu, they need to be comforted and soothed into resting as much as possible.
Herbs are perfect for these types of illnesses. Be prepared for the basic problems that you run into with illness: Dry, chapped noses, itchy throats, irritating coughs, fever and loss of appetite. All of these things can be helped with simple home remedies.
When you or someone you love has the flu, it is not the time to start thinking of how you can use herbs to help. Be prepared with these simple herbals, and provide the comfort your loved one needs to heal.
You may notice that tea is not listed. In no way does this discount the soothing, healing quality of herbal tea. I felt that teas are well covered all over the Herb Gardens site, and wanted to highlight some other remedies that don't get quite as much attention.
Elderberries are the perfect herbal for the flu. It is believed to help reduce the severity and duration of the illness, and let's face it: When you are THAT sick, nothing tastes good. Luckily, elderberries are delicious!
Make elderberry juice during their season, and freeze it for whenever you need. I also dehydrate all the berries that I can, and store them in quart sized canning jars.
These dried berries can easily be brought back to plumpness, by a simple soak in warm water.
2. Cough DropsIf I had to choose one remedy, it would be cough drops. They relieve a dry, scratchy throat, quiet a cough, and moisten your mouth, when you are congested. Use any type of herbs that you have in your stash. Don't think of these as medicinal really, they are used to mainly offer comfort.
Some herbs that make wonderful cough drops can be found in the article about making cough syrup.
One of most well known herbals, is the herbal tincture. These can be based in alcohol, glycerin or vinegar.
Tinctures are a great way to get large amounts of herbal goodness, into a few drops. This is especially important if the herb has an unpleasant taste, or the dosage for a tea would be difficult to sustain. For instance, taking a dropperful of tincture, twice a day is reasonable. Drinking 3 quarts of herbal tea a day may not be so easy to sustain. For more on tincture making:
4. Cough Syrup
An herbal cough syrup contains no medicine in the conventional sense. They are simply a concentration of herbs mixed with a sweetener, like honey. Dosed by the teaspoon or Tablespoon, cough syrups are a wonderful way to soothe a scratchy throat in a natural way.
We make as much herbal cough syrup as possible during the summer months. Freeze the herbal concentrate until you need more, and never run out! Trust me, once your family realizes that this herbal remedy is honey based, they will look for ways to need some. For more on herbal syrup:
You may wonder how salves made this list. One of the most irritating things about illness, is the chapped nose and lips that we seem to get.
Salves and balms are perfect remedies for colds and flu. They keep the tender area under the nose, from becoming too chapped, relieve dry lips, keep moisture inside the nostrils and let's face it, many children become raw and chapped in the diaper area when they ill. All these things are just what salves and balms are made for.
A warming salve can also be used for chest colds and headaches, but that is beyond the scope of this article. The salves referred to here are calming, and protective to the skin.
Please note this document has not been medically reviewed.