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Astragalus: In traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus is classified as a warming herb so it is not used during an acute illness that has symptoms of fever (such as cold or flu) because it can exacerbate symptoms. However, astragalus is excellent for bolstering the immune system and helping to prevent colds and flus. To enhance immunity, take astragalus throughout the cold and flu season, or for at least one month in the early fall to build immune strength for the winter.
In old Chinese medicine, mustard is used on the feet. The Chinese (as well as Europeans) dilute the mustard in a hot foot bath. When fresh circulation patterns start, the healing process begins. Run hot water into a large pan or use the tub. Add 2 tablespoons of mustard powder. Place the feet in a basin for five minutes or so. Wipe the feet.
Egyptians usedfennel seed in tea laced with honey to shorten colds. They also added one or several of their favorite antiseptic herbs: caraway seeds, anise seeds, cinnamon sticks, or cloves. Use "a pinch" of any one of these herbs in a cup of boiling water. Steep, strain out the herb, and sip to relieve head congestion and stuffy noses.
Epsom salt baths are a northern European cold remedy. Epsom salt baths induce profuse perspiration in the bath and immediately afterwards. They believed this helped the body eliminate toxins. Add two to three cups of Epsom salt to a hot bath and immerse yourself up to your throat and ears. If you want to incorporate aromatherapy, add five drops each of eucalyptus and lavender oils to the Epsom salts, stir well, and then add to bath water.
Native Americans taught early settlers in America how to use pumpkin seed tea to conquer mucus from a cold. Cut a pumpkin in half. Reserve the pulp for baking and later eating. Scoop out the seeds. Wash them. Put twenty seeds aside to make tea. Save the rest for additional tea or dry them for snacks. For the tea, boil twenty seeds in two cups of water. Strain and drink as needed.
Old English herbals have good things to say about the use of peppermint tea as a remedy for an early, mild cold. Pour a pint of boiling water over one tablespoon of dried peppermint leaves. Steep, strain, and drink in small doses over the course of the day.
The Egyptians believed that eating garlic helped to maintain good health. The first known prescription for garlic was chiseled onto a Sumerian clay tablet in about 3000 B.C. Scholars have translated ancient papyri listing enormous quantities of garlic distributed each day to the Hebrew slaves who built the pyramids, in hopes of keeping them healthy and strong. During the Middle Ages, garlic was used by some to ward off the bubonic plague. Garlic is a vital antibacterial and can help you confront a cold and conquer any number of infections. Garlic supplements vary in their potency, but in general, the dosage range is between 600 and 900 mg per day of powdered garlic in capsules or tablets; 4 mL per day of aged garlic liquid extract; or 10 mg per day of garlic oil gel capsules.
If a cold is accompanied by a fever or creates clogging from mucus, people in the mountains of Tennessee traditionally drink catnip tea to lower the fever and reduce the mucus. Pour two cups boiling water over one teaspoon catnip and steep for five to seven minutes. Sip as needed.
At least fourteen Native American tribes used the purple coneflower to help with colds, coughs, sore mouths, inflammation, and cramps and as a purifier. In particular, the Plains Indians used a Plains species, Echinacea augustifolia, for colds and general immunity, sucking on the root all day long if necessary to treat an oncoming cold. Echinacea is commonly used for treating all types of general infections. It is probably best known for treating colds and flus and is also good for other infections such as bronchitis, tonsillitis, strep throat, urinary tract infections, and tooth and gum infections. Echinacea is also used to help the immune system control fungal infections such as candidiasis.
In the past, Russian village healers would convince sinusitis patients to avoid milk because it forms too much mucus. Milk, cheese, and ice cream all increase the production of mucus. Recent studies have shown that a chemical in milk stimulates the release of histamine, which triggers a runny nose and congestion.
"Open Sesame!" A mere whiff of that ancient secret Chinese ointment, Tiger Balm, will open clogged nasal passages. The herbs in the balm are healing and will bring blood to the surface of the skin. Apply a tiny, thin coat of Tiger Balm over the sinuses and along the outer edge of the nose.
Adam in Eden, published in 1657, was one of the most popular home remedy books of the seventeenth century. For a sore throat, the book recommends marshmallow flowers boiled in water and sweetened with a small amount of honey. Steep one teaspoon of marshmallow flowers in eight ounces of boiling water. Strain and add a dollop of honey. Sip as needed to ease the pain. Marshmallow root contains mucilage, a gelatinous substance that soothes irritated mucous membranes and bronchial passages.
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) have been used for at least 2,500 years as a folk remedy for the treatment of colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections. Prescribed medicinally since the time of Hippocrates, the white, fragrant flowers are traditionally made into a tea to ease fevers.
Decongestion Tea: Add equal amounts of the following dried herbs-- 1 part dandelion leaf, 1 part nettle, and 1 part thyme.
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Remember the old saying..."it takes three days to get a cold, three days to have a cold, and three days to get over a cold." Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses, so old remedies and approaches are practical and useful.