Wet, rainy autumn days and cold winter nights are fast approaching, and their arrival marks the beginning of cold and flu season. Allopathic medicine has made major advances in the 20th and 21st centuries in helping to prevent, fight, and lessen the symptoms of the common cold and various influenza viruses. Preventative measures such as flu vaccinations, OTC decongestants like pseudoephedrine, cough suppressants in the form of dextromethorphan and more are offered everywhere from major grocery store chains to convenience stores and beyond.
However, for thousands of years our ancestors have turned to whole roots, flowers, and herbs provided by nature to help support the immune response, decongest nasal passages and sinuses, expectorate built-up mucus in the lungs, suppress coughs, and more. Traditional herbalists have spent generations identifying herbal allies that may play a vital role in protecting and maintaining your health from infections and illness, and potentially relieve some of the unpleasant symptoms that accompany them.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) - Originally native to areas East of the Rocky Mountains in North America, this hardy and drought-tolerant herb thrives in the Southern Oregon bioregion. Echinacea has been used by Native American herbalists for thousands of years in their medicinal traditions, and today is used by many to support the immune system, encourage respiratory health, and to fight infections such as the common cold and flu.
Marshmallow Leaf (Althaea officinalis) - This herb has been widely used in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Arab, and Roman traditions, and its use can be traced back at least 2,000 years. This is another amazing plant that can be found across Southern Oregon, and has been reported to have a myriad of potential health benefits. Marshmallow Leaf has been used by herbalists to soothe sore throats, protect mucus membranes, and clear congestion.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) - Hyssop is originally native to Southern Europe, but can be easily cultivated in our region. Known as a holy herb in traditions that predate the Bible, this plant has been used in both traditional religious ceremony and in herbal remedies for millenia. Herbalists often use Hyssop to address concerns with the gallbladder or urinary tract, to soothe the lungs and throat, to help provide relief from coughs, and to support the immune system. It’s even used as a flavoring in modern foods and a fragrance in cosmetics.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, Yarrow has been used by herbalists from many cultures across the globe. It is believed to help fight stomach cramps, reduce infections, and help encourage healthy function of the body’s immune system. You can find Yarrow in many North American herbalist’s cabinets, in the wild, and even at the dinner table—the leaves and flowers are often used in salads!
Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) - While not technically an herb, root, or flower, Reishi mushrooms are incredible mycological allies that have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,000 - 3,000 years, possibly longer. These herbal traditions have utilized Reishi to support the immune system, and modern studies have suggested that they may even have beneficial activity against tumors. Reishi mushrooms thrive in dark, damp forests, and as such can be cultivated right here in the Pacific Northwest.
Elderflower (Sambucus nigra) - Elderflower comes from the European Elder, a tree native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Since ancient times, the flowers of the Elder tree have been used for a wide variety of applications by many cultures worldwide. From herbal remedies to a popular cordial of the Victorian era, Elderflower has been revered by many across the globe. Incredibly, the branches and leaves of the European Elder tree are actually poisonous to humans, while the berries and flowers possess many nutritive and therapeutic benefits. Elderflower is often used by herbalists to treat inflamed sinuses, to support the immune system and help fight the flu, and as a diuretic. It’s also commonly used to support the body while fighting coughs and colds, and to help encourage the inflammatory response.
At Sun God Medicinals, we produce a full line of herbal compounded tinctures, single herb tinctures, and loose-leaf teas that take advantage of these amazing plants, roots, flowers, and mushrooms. Certified organic by Oregon Tilth, made with locally-sourced ingredients and manufactured right here in Southern Oregon, take a look at our Panacea and Ra Herbals product lines to help support your immune system and keep you happy and healthy in the coming months.
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