About 12 years ago, I got Bronchitis for the first time. I was miserable enough that I decided to go straight for the medicine. I didn't feel like I'd survive if I had to wait for the herbs to "assist" my body in healing. I took stuff for the cough, stuff for the congestion and any other stuff I could find. My misery was quickly "curbed" enough to give me the illusion of relief, but I ended up battling with it for two full weeks! Once you get Bronchitis, you seem to be more prone to it - like pneumonia. A year later I had it again. I went through the same routine, for two weeks. The third year, same thing again. Maybe I'm a slow learner, but the fourth year I finally wized up. I decided I would only use my herbs. My symptoms subsided faster than they had with medications and in 3 days flat I had nothing left but the last little bit of a very mild common cold. I've never gone for the medications again! And I've only had Bronchitis twice since then.
I have come to understand that herbs ARE medications. They just aren't synthetic or toxic. They are both effective and nourishing, which strengthens your body while it heals, instead of weakening it. I have a few favorites I keep on hand for sicknesses we get that go into the chest. They work every time.
Fenugreek - Known as "the Lung herb". They are little seeds which are used heavily in some parts of the Orient because of the "sweet" smell they cause in a body when a lot is consumed. They are pretty inexpensive and easy to find in a health store. Fenugreek is excellent for lungs, coughs, sore throat, allergies, expelling mucous, ulcers, lubricating the intestines, headaches and migranes.
Mullein - This hearty plant grows along the roads, in the woods and especially anywhere the ground has been disturbed. It's easy to find and one that I harvest myself, but you can find it inexpensively in the health stores. Use the leaves. Mullein is excellent for all respiratory problems and expels mucous from the lungs and body. It's a natural pain killer and is high in iron, magnesium, potassium and sulphur.
Myrrh - Yes, the same precious herb brought to Christ from the Wisemen. It comes in powdered form. It's not very expensive anymore. I buy it in 1 lb. bags and encapsulate it myself. Myrrh is an excellent antibiotic and has been found to increase white corpuscles. Besides being very effective with the lungs and coughs, it cleans and heals the stomach and colon and helps to eliminate waste. It's very helpful for sinus problems, any infection or sore, asthma and emphysema. You can buy it in powder or capsules.
Echinacea - I add echinacea to almost all my herbal remedies because there are few sicknesses that don't involve mucous. Echinecea breaks up and expels mucous, helps to drain and clean the lymph glands, tonsilitis, throat and strep infections and is a blood purifier. It's an excellent infection fighter and a powerful antibiotic. If you have hypoglycemia, echinacea is a good alternative to Golden Seal, which is another powerful infection-fighting antibiotic.
Myrrh is very bitter so we always swallow it in capsule form. The others I prefer in a tea. When you swallow an herbal capsule, you are swallowing a small amount of a dried, crushed plant. Your body will extract the healing properties out and disgard the bulk. In all our years of using herbs, I've found that for infection type sicknesses, nothing works better than a nice warm cup of tea. The healing properties are extracted for you, you get a lot more benefit and don't have to process the bulk. And besides being comforting, that nice warm tea just seems to absorb faster.
Making an herbal tea is very simple. Tough parts of plants like seeds or woody pieces of bark or root can be simmered gently for 5 minutes or so. Don't boil them hard. Just a light simmer because too much heat will destroy the healing benefits. Then pull your tea off the heat and add the tender plant parts like leaves and flowers. Put the lid on and let it steep. The longer it steeps, the stronger the tea will be. There is no exact science to how much herb to use and how long to let it steep. You can use less herb and let it steep a little longer and get a nice strong and effective tea. I use maybe a tablespoon or so of each herb for 4 to 6 cups of water. When one of us is sick, I make a good sized pot of tea so we can drink it throughout the day. Pour it in your cup through a strainer and add a little honey.
Mucous, believe it or not, is a good thing! Unless it pools and collects in your body and isn't flushed out. It is the body's method of washing its cells. Taking an antihistamine to dry up mucous membranes takes away the body's opportunity to flush the junk out. Mucous can collect throughout your body in the intestines, organs and even your brain. It can pool like a swamp. Just like alligators like swamps, infection likes pools of mucous. The "modern" method is to throw some poison in the swamp (medication) to kill the alligators. But if you just drain the swamp, the alligators will go with it. Try taking some cayenne in hot honey and vinegar water, or enjoy an extra helping of your favorite hot salsa! Let your nose run! The faster you flush out the infection, the sooner it's gone and the running stops. When a good strong herbal tea sends you to the bathroom frequently to both urinate and blow your nose, you know your body is flushing well and you'll be feeling great in no time.