The Autumnal Equinox came and went on September 22nd this year. After that day of balance, where day and night were equal, we entered the waning part of the year – the time when the nights are longer than the days. In ancient times, the Equinox marked the second harvest. At this time of year, the crops were finished being harvested and the herds were culled for the coming winter. And so began a time to rest after the harvest. Our bodies are in tune with the cycles of the Earth and naturally urge us to slow down, rest, and go within at this time. It is a time to pull back a little from too many external activities and go to bed a little earlier. Here are some simple tips to harmonize yourself to the Fall season:
*NOTE: Always use organic herbs! You do not want to be taking herbs sprayed with pesticides, fungicides, etc. that will stress your body.
1. Echinacea tincture ~ Echinacea is used to boost the immune system by increasing the production of white blood cells, T cells, and all other infection fighting cells that are part of the immune. When you are fighting an infection/bacteria,
or supporting your body to fight a virus, take your body weight in drops 3 times per day for 3 days. Herbs work best when you start them at the first sign of illness. Consult an Herbalist if you are unsure how much to take or need to check on interactions with other medications. Some herbalists give smaller doses (half your body weight in drops) more times per day depending on the issue. Discontinue after day 3 – your immune system will be at its peak and you don’t need to keep stimulating it. Echinacea in capsules will not work, use a tincture. Echinacea augustifolia is the most medicinal, but Echinacea purpurea has beneficial qualities as well. I like Super Echinacea by Herb Pharm because it has a mix of species. Gaia Herbs is a good company as well for tinctures. You can grow your own Echinacea, beautiful pinkish purple coneflowers, but the roots take several years to mature and you need to know how to tincture them. For children, I love Planetary Herbals Well Child, Echinacea-Elderberry Herbal Syrup, Alcohol Free. Another excellent brand for kids is Herbs For Kids. They make a Wellness Kit that is really nice to have around.
If you order from http://www.iherb.com/ use my Reward Code: LQM000 (those are zeros) for up to $10.00 off your first order.
2. Golden Seal Hydrastis canadensis ~ is an antibiotic herb. So it is inappropriate to use this herb on a regular basis. It is only to be used when you are fighting a serious infection that you would use antibiotics for. I do not recommend this herb because it is very strong. As my herb teacher, Susun Weed, says, “Golden seal can do more harm to gut flora and the liver than most antibiotics.” Instead of using Golden Seal, think about taking herbs to support your immune system to do the healing. Your body can heal itself and herbs can boost it’s power.
Another reliable company to buy herbs from is: http://www.healingspiritsherbfarm.com/store/tinctures-extracts. The formulas are by amazing herbalist Rosemary Gladstar. Her book, “Herbal Healing For Women”, is one of my favorites.
4. Siberian Ginseng ~ Again, I’d like to quote Susun Weed, to whom I was an apprentice, “Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus) is widely considered the single most effective immune tonic and adaptogen in the herbal realm. Safe and inexpensive, it helps the immune system respond quickly to infection and mitigates the effects of stress.” I suggest you start taking this as a tonic herb daily, especially for Fall and Winter. I use the tincture and I also simmer the root in soups or as a decoction.
5. For severe sinus infections, I use Colloidal Silver nasal spray. I would first use herbs to assist my body in healing itself, but if the infection is advanced and I want to get rid of it, I use colloidal silver. This, like Golden Seal and Oil of Oregano, is an antibiotic and thus not to be used recklessly or often. Keep in mind antibiotics kill off the good bacteria and flora in your gut as well as the bacteria that is making you ill. I have also had good results using essential oils via a neti pot. My favorite is using a drop or two of Niaouli, also known as MQV, for it’s botanical name: Melaleuca quinquinerva viridiflora. This herb has similar qualities to Tea Tree oil, but is about 10X stronger. It does not bother the delicate sinus tissues. To test it out, try putting a few drops on a tissue and stuffing it into your nose, leaving it there to be inhaled for a moment or two.
6. Last, but not least, I always use Osha Root tincture for sore throats. For more on that, see my post entitled ‘5 Natural Remedies That Really Work’: http://wellnessthroughwisdom.com/5-natural-remedies-that-really-work
I hope these tips inspire you to stay well as best you can. Remember to get your sleep (every hour before midnight counts double!) and keep your feet warm and stay out of the cold wind. Keep your home warm (no, a cold house does not ward off sickness – colds and flus thrive in cold weather), but not completely closed up. Allow some fresh air in each day. Let a little sun touch your skin (sunscreen free) for vitamin D to keep you healthy and feeling good. Most of all, find ways to embrace the seasons and make it your intention to do whatever makes you feel good.
Jessica d’Arcy ©2013