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HERBS FOR THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

April 15, 2020

Cheryl's Herbs makes a product called Respiratory Liquid Extract Combination consisting of eight herbs.  The synergy created by combining these special herbs is wonderfully supportive of the lungs.  At a time when the world is plagued by a respiratory virus, this product is a comfort to have on hand.  The question that arises, however, is:  do I take this extract combination if I don't have, or don't know if I have, Covid-19?  

First, let's take into consideration what each of these herbs has to offer in this combination:

Marshmallow Root is a mucilaginous herb, which means it has demulcent effects in the body.  It is soothing, moistening, and anti-inflammatory and happens to be the most anti-inflammatory of the mucilaginous herbs.  It breaks down hardened tissue so has benefit for us in conditions that are hot, dry, and hard.  It can assist with dry coughs and hardened mucus.

Plantain Leaf is another herb that is moistening and softening.  It can cool and wet the mucosa and soothe dry cough.  It can also pull lingering water and mucus up from the depths of the lungs.  It is an herb that draws powerfully.

Coltsfoot Leaf can work on a deep respiratory condition where infection has become chronic, where the lungs may be scarred, and where mucus may be hardened and stuck deep down, or wet and sticky - in either instance, difficult to cough up.

Mullein Leaf and Flower are parts of the Mullein plant that can help with dry, ticklish coughs by leading water into hard, dry tissue.  They are specific to those kinds of coughs that are dry and harsh.

Fennel Seed is moist and oily and reduces dryness.  It thins excess mucus and helps relieve shortness of breath.

Thyme Leaf also thins excess mucus and helps relieve shortness of breath.  It appears to be well-suited to chills and sepsis, and old, stuck mucus.

Slippery Elm Bark is another mucilaginous herb that supports people exhausted by fever and that helps to moisten, cleanse, cool, and heal the respiratory tract.  It also supports deepening respiration.

Peppermint Leaf is an herb that increases oxygenation and respiration.

So, how do we use this liquid extract combination?  If we have no respiratory symptoms, is it necessary to dose? 

I use this product occasionally in an effort to support the health of my lungs.  In light of the current pandemic, I may dose with a dropperful or two once a week.  Should respiratory issues develop in my lungs, then I increase the amount and frequency of my dosing.  See the botanical safety information below.

And, in regard to general support of the lungs, I would consider making infusions and decoctions of certain herbs such as Marshmallow Root, Mullein Leaf,  Peppermint Leaf, Plantain Leaf, and Violet Leaf.  Allow these herbs to soothe irritated and inflamed tissue, aid in drawing out any lingering, excess mucus, and support oxygenation.   In my opinion, these "teas" can be taken frequently.  

An infusion is made using light-weight plant parts such as leaves and flowers; a decoction is made using heavy-weight plant parts such as roots.

When making an infusion, I make at least a quart at a time.  Using one heaping teaspoon of herb per every eight ounces, I put 4 teaspoons of herb in my quart jar, boil 32 ounces of water, pour the boiling water over the herb, and let the infusion steep for several hours.  Strain and refrigerate.  Because the infusion has nothing to preserve it, I add honey to the dry herb in the quart jar before adding the boiling water, as honey is a natural preservative and will usually hold the flavor and vitality of the infusion for at least three days.

When making a decoction, I make at least a quart at a time.  Put 32 ounces of water on to boil.  When the water reaches a boil, cut the heat to simmer and introduce 4 heaping teaspoons of the herb.  Cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes.  Strain into your quart jar (with honey in it), let the decoction reach room temperature, then refrigerate.

For those being careful of sugar levels in the body, you may consider using vegetable glycerin as a sweetener and natural preservative.  Or, simply sweeten your servings of your infusion or decoction with Stevia.

Sources:  Matthew Wood's The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants; Matthew Wood's The Earthwise Herbal, A Complete Guide to New World Medicinal Plants.

 

BOTANICAL SAFETY INFORMATION

This combination supports the upper and lower respiratory system and enhances the body’s natural defenses. It highlights herbs that promote the health of the lungs and bronchial area.

Use 5-15 drops, 1-2 dropperfuls, or as much as a teaspoon at a time. Dose frequency could be 1-3 times or several times a day as desired. Generally best to use large, frequent doses in acute situations. When more comfort is achieved or the situation is less severe, doses can be smaller and less frequent. Dose recommendations are for adults. For a child, adjust the dose according to weight. For example, if a child weighs approximately half what an adult weighs, give half of any of the above dose suggestions. 

Do not use herbal products to replace necessary care by a qualified physician.

Contains:   

Marshmallow Root Althaea officinalis, org.

Safe to consume when used appropriately but absorption of other drugs taken simultaneously may be delayed.

Plantain Leaf Plantago lanceolata, wild/nat.farm.

Safe to consume when used appropriately.

Coltsfoot Leaf Tussilago farfara, wild

Avoid on broken skin, during pregnancy, while nursing, and with history of liver disease. Limit use to 4-6 weeks. Do not exceed recommended dose of 1.5 to 6 grams of the fresh or dried leaf or its equivalent in finished preparations. Leaf is allowed for internal consumption by the German Commission E.

Mullein Leaf & Flower Verbascum thapsus, org/wild/nat.farm.

Safe to consume when used appropriately.

Fennel Seed  Foeniculum vulgare, org.

Safe to consume when used appropriately. In individual cases, allergic reactions of skin and respiratory tract. Commission E categorizes F. vulgare as not for prolonged use without a physician’s consultation.  Presumably this caution is in reference to therapeutic quantities given as 5.0-7.0 grams of seeds daily.

Thyme Leaf Thymus vulgaris, org. 

Safe to consume when used appropriately.

Slippery Elm Bark (Inner) Ulmus fulva, wild/nat.farm. 

Safe to consume when used appropriately.

Peppermint Leaf Mentha piperita, org/nat.farm.

Safe to consume when used appropriately.

 




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