Three Cold and Flu Home Remedies for Fall

Thyme, garlic and honey syruphoney

Grind a teaspoon of fresh or dry thyme with a couple cloves of freshly minced garlic and use some honey to make a paste. I recommend putting a big dollop of this in one’s mouth at the earliest stages of a sore throat, sinus infection or upper respiratory
infection. This can also be a useful practice when you know you are around people who have already contracted an illness.

While this may not taste particularly good to some people, it is the best way to get these potent, volatile oil rich, anti-microbial herbs in as direct contact with the offending microbes as possible. If it does taste good to you, this is fine, I find it not surprising that it is a popular condiment throughout the Mediterranean! Let it set in the mouth for for as long as you can tolerate and then swallow.

Elder, yarrow, mint tea ~ with additions of boneset or vervain


Elder         Sambucus nigra

Yarrow      Achillea millefolium

Mint          Mentha sp.

All of these herbs are diaphoretics which means that they help one perspire or “release the exterior” in TCM parlance. Conceptually these help an individual release pathogens from the body. Practically, they have constituents that treat microbes and activate the body’s own immune responses to pathogens.

My experience with flus and more severe infections such as tropical diseases like dengue fever (which I had), is that the addition of boneset or vervain will increase comfort, relieve body aches and shorten the duration of the disease in relation to others that have contracted the same thing.

I recommend combining equal parts of each herb in its dry form and steeping 4 tablespoons in 1 quart of boiling water for 15 minutes. Consume 1 or 2 cups 2-3x daily. For body aches, alternating fever and chills, and/or irritability, add an equal portion of boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) or blue vervain (Verbena sp.)

Yu ping feng san or Jade Windscreen powder

Fall breezeYu ping feng san has been used for over 800 years. A modern application of this formula is for the prevention of colds and flus, and the name Jade Windscreen has been adopted to describe how the formula supports the wei qi or protective qi in guarding against external pathogens entering the body. Traditional indications include aversion to drafts, frequent colds and spontaneous sweating with fatigue.

I commonly recommend this formula to individuals working in busy offices, school teachers, people working in hospitals and other health care professionals–generally anyone who may come into contact with a lot of sick people.

This formula is available in tinctures or pills, but I believe that using this as a decoction or soup stock is a more potent application. Note the formula is traditionally delivered as a powder.

To make a soup stock or decoction:

Astragalus membraneceus       Huang qi          9g

Atractylodes macrocephelae    Bai Zhu             9g

Ledebouriella                             Fang Feng      4.5g

Simmer in 6 cups of water for 20 minute and consume in three separate doses through the day. Alternately prepare as a soup stock, use with grains and consume a diluted amount on a regular basis. When prepared the formula will have a slightly sweet and acrid taste.

Other products related to respiratory support are of course available at the Oakland shop or on our online store.

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