Those of you following me, would know I have been struggling with trying to keep a sore throat away most of this week. Thankfully I hit it hard with loads of immune boosting herbs and natural healthy medicines and I am far less sick than my hubby who is not quite so sure of the ‘green’ options yet – hopefully this will prove to him they do actually work! This herb tea has fast become one of my favourites – it’s easy to make, cheap and also very effective:
Use fresh leaves. Lemon Balm has anti-viral properties, it is great for calming the nervous system, being very relaxing and promoting sleep. It will also settle the stomach as well, so use for any digestive issues or nausea. It has a very refreshing slightly lemony flavour. There are also reports of it being helpful for aches and pains such as headaches and even toothaches, but I have not tried it for this yet, but I did find it beneficial in helping to relieve sinus pressure pain.
Just for your general information, Lemon Balm has also been shown to have some use in Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD, also in possibly reducing high blood pressure and for treating particular issues of the thyroid, especially Graves disease. For First Aid use, it can be used topically on bites and stings and has been scientifically found to be especially of benefit when used on Cold Sores or herpes simplex outbreaks.
Use fresh leaves of any variety – cutting just before the plant flowers will increase availability of beneficial compounds. The main active ingredient of Thyme is the essential oil Thymol, and this has proven antibacterial and antiseptic qualities plus it is also a powerful antioxidant. It is useful for respiratory problems such as coughs, chest congestion, bronchitis, and also coughs, sore throats, cold and flu symptoms and even sinus congestion. It also contains good amounts of Vitamins A & C, and also iron (which needs Vit C to be absorbed properly), plus manganese and copper. These are helpful at any time, but especially when ill.
Thyme has no known health or other medication warnings.
Peppermint (or use Common Mint if you have none available)
Peppermint is actually a natural hybrid cross between Mentha aquatica (water mint) and Mentha spicata (spearmint). Common or Garden Mint is of the same family and interchangeable.
Use fresh leaves of any variety – cutting just before the plant flowers will increase availability of beneficial compounds. The main active ingredients of Peppermint are essential oils and rosmarinic acid. These oils stop the growth of many kinds of bacteria while the rosmarinic acid is both anti-inflammatory and useful for keeping airways open, which helps to promote easier breathing. This leads to Peppermint being one of the herbs of choice for treating asthma and allergic rhinitis (colds caused by allergy). Mint has been found to help break up mucus and phlegm due to its natural decongestant properties.
Mint has been shown to be anti-fungal as well. It also contains the nutrients manganese and copper, and is well endowed vitamin C which is good for cold/flu. It is also thought to be beneficial in the treatment and prevention of colon cancer.
Warnings: Mint should be used with caution by anyone who has previously had gallstones. If your symptoms are from gastroesophageal reflux disease , Mint may exacerbate your condition, so using it is not recommended. If in doubt, consult your doctor or naturopath first.
Use fresh leaves of any variety – cutting just before the plant flowers will increase availability of beneficial compounds. Sage is a well known anti-inflammatory and is useful for the common cold, flu, sore and inflamed throats, and also in cases of bronchial asthma.
As an aside, Sage has gained a reputation in the natural treatment of some other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and atherosclerosis. It has also been scientifically shown to improve brain function and its use as an alternative remedy for Alzheimers patients is suggested by some natural therapists.
Sage has no known health or other medication warnings.
MAKING THE TEA:
Pick 4 fresh leaves of Sage, 6 fresh leaves of Lemon Balm, 8 fresh leaves of Peppermint (or Common Mint), and 4 small bunches of Thyme.
Finely chop all the herbs into a stainless or glass bowl and pour boiling water over. Cover with a plate to keep the aroma in. Get one (or two) teacups with strainers and pour the boiling water and herb mix equally into each. Cover again for at least 3-5 mins. Remove the strainers with the chopped herbs in (add these to your compost). Add a sweetener to the remaining ‘green’ herb tea if desired, but it is best without it. Drink as soon as you can, to gain full benefits.
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