My Herbal New Year
"The greatest medicine of all is to teach people how not to need it."
Each new year brings promises of eating better, getting more exercise and just being all around healthier. Then Valentine's Day comes and the chocolates do me in. Since I have learned about the healing power of plants, however, I don't need to make resolutions, I just need to live how I was always supposed to. Make meals from fresh food, use herbs and spices from the garden to compliment that food and to utilize the plants around me to keep me and those I care about healthy.
I have been suffering from a cold lately, actually it seems like most of the people I know have had it to some degree. No matter what I did to prevent it, I am still sitting at my laptop breathing through my mouth and looking around for a stray tissue. I have an apothocary full of wonderful herbs and remedies to take and I know that even if I take them, this cold will probably hang on for longer that I would like. It's just a cold, though. Not an illness that requires the help of an antibiotic to kick it to the curb. So I am not taking any medicine to "help" me feel better. Honestly, over-the-counter cold medicine has always made me feel worse anyway. I'm sure there is some nasal decongestant that would help me breathe through my nose faster but I'm really not interested. First of all, I'm sick because my body is telling me to slow down. After a busy holiday season I was ready to dive into the new year with barely a pause. Not now. Now I have to rest and drink more liquids. Also, this cold is doing a wonderful job of strengthening my immune system and I don't want to interupt that.
I used to get bronchitis each year from my late teens into my 20s. Antibiotics, missing school and work and feeling crummy for a week was an annual event to look forward to. I started going to a homeopathic doctor who decided to forgo the antibiotic and gave me a homeopathic remedy to take 3 times a day for as long as it took to get over the bronchitis. For 14 days I suffered with bronchitis, wheezing and coughing, feeling worse than I ever had before. I could barely make it up the stairs without stopping to catch my breath. It was the worse case I had ever had. I believed what my doctor had said, though. My immune system wasn't equipt to fight off the bronchitis and I needed to build up my immunity to it. Finally, after 14 long, terrible days, I felt better. And, what do you know, I have never had bronchitis again. (ok, now I'm lookig for some wood to knock on.) I have take antibiotics since and respect that there is a time and a place for them. I had, however, been using them too liberally and my body was trying to tell me.
So I'm taking this cold I have in stride. I'm looking at it as preparation for this new year and all of the herbal support I'm going to have. I have to practice what I preach when I comes to using the plants to feel better. So I gargled with warm water, sea salt and sage. I steamed with peppermint, rosemary, and thyme. I've been sipping warm lemon water with cinnamon and clove and I've increased my vitamin C and water intake. I'm slowly feeling better and when I do I'll be preparing elderberry syrup and herb infused vinegar that will knock any cold that dares cross my threshold again this winter. This is my herbal new year and I'm excited to take advantage of all that these lovely plants have to offer.