Medicinal plants for the cold and flu season.

During a change or season or, of course, the winter months, the risk of getting a cold or flu increases. Prevention really is the best cure. Take a proactive approach to keep your immune system strong and support your body's own defences. 

Unsurprisingly, the preventative strategy we recommend involves traditional plant medicines. Why? Because it is our specialty. But also because it works.

Plant medicine is officially acknowledged to increase the body’s resistance, repair and recovery mechanisms. An outstanding feat that pharmaceutical medicine has not been able to replace.

 

5 Medicinal plants to prevent and treat 

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): A powerful natural antimicrobial. The essential oils fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections. This iconic Central Otago plant helps to expel stubborn phlegm and eases dry, wet and spastic coughs. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommends thyme for the common cold, catarrh, bronchitis, whooping cough and asthma.

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra): Both flowers and berries are effective in building up immune resistance and in treating head colds, sinusitis and catarrh. The flowers help to dry up runny mucous membranes and shorten recovery time in colds and flu.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea): Originally from North America, this popular herb was traditionally used as an antidote for poisons and to prevent and treat upper respiratory tract infections. It has immune enhancing and modulating properties, and helps to clear catarrh, sinusitis, bronchitis and glandular inflammation.

Angelica root (Angelica archangelia): Angelica helps to prevent and treat colds and influenza, lung diseases, cough and fever. It is a warming expectorant that helps to get rid of infectious and irritating mucus from the lungs and bronchi. It supports convalescence.

Sage (Salvia officinalis): Its antimicrobial essential oils shield against upper respiratory infections and are beneficial for treating colds, sore throats, bronchitis and fevers. As a gargle it is effective against infection and inflammation of the mouth and tonsillitis.

  

How to take these medicinal plants

Medicinal teas are hot water extractions where the active phyto-compounds are water soluable and extracted by hot water. Medicinal teas are a traditional format for delivering plant medicines, used for hundreds of years. The benefits of medicinal teas are that the actives are swiftly absorbed into the bloodstream - meaning they are fast-acting. Medicinal teas also keep the mucous membranes hydrated (good for your immune system), plus stimulate circulation and sweating to flush infectious matter.

Tinctures are made by extracting the phyto-compounds in alcohol to make a concentrate dose. You can take a tincture straight (for the daring), with a little water or mixed with a vegetable glycerine base which has a naturally sweet formula. At Artemis, we make our oral liquids with fresh-plant tinctures. Our oral liquids are a convenient way to take your plant medicine by the teaspoon. Also great for children as the application is quick, simple and naturally taste pretty good.

Tonics are concentrated fresh-plant preparations to which you add hot water for a swift-acting, immune-boosting drink. Tonics are generally made to taste delicoius so are a great option for children. Plus, depending on the plant medicines you use, they can be an instant pick-me-up.

 

Safety and Precautions

These medicinal plants have been used for thousands of years by humans and have an excellent safety profile. They are regarded as safe by many regulatory bodies worldwide, including the World Health Organization (WHO), British and European pharmacopoeias (official medicine registries), Australia, and Canada.

No adverse effects are expected however if you have a cold or flu, and your symptoms persist, be sure to get advice from your health practitioner.

 

Prevention is the best cure

Nobody wants to get sick. A preventative approach of self care with trusted, traditional plant medicines and a healthy dose of common sense in the form of good nutrition and lifestyle choices will go a long way to keeping you well. Traditional plant medicine supports your body's own defences, creating an internal environment that is fortified, strong and healthy.

See our Immune Support range to see the remedies we've formulated to keep you well.