I successfully avoided getting sick all winter. Spring is a different story. As the temperatures fluctuate between 25-75 degrees in a single day and the winds blow pollen and pollution all around the city, my body finally succumbed last week. Thankfully I’m on the mend with just a little lingering congestion.
I forget how useless I am when I’m sick. My head was swimming with phlegm and I couldn’t focus on writing, formulating, or seeing clients. Clarity is returning and I can hold thoughtful conversations once again. Besides rest and hydration, my herbs and essential oils were wonderful allies that reduced the severity of it all.
I had to be humbly reminded that sometimes despite all I do, I have to just let it run its course and be okay with slowing down for a few days. With the pollen and pollution continuing throughout Spring I’ll do my best to keep my immune system strong.
I’m back on my daily dose of Nettle tea and medicinal mushrooms like Reishi and Chaga. My good friend Greg sent me some Chaga from Massachusetts that should be in the mail today. I’ll send pictures of them when they arrive! I’m excited to see what they look like in “person” as I’ve only taken Chaga in tincture form.
Many allergy sufferers fear the outdoors this time of Year. Spring brings renewal and joy for me, but for some of my clients it is nothing but grief. Red, itchy and watery eyes can be alleviated by cool herbal compresses of JuHua(chrysanthemum flowers). For post nasal drip and runny nose, mucolytics like Juniper or Cypresscan dry that drip right up! Diffuse these essential oils in your home, car and office or make a 3% dilution roll-on and apply to your temples and the lymph nodes on your neck.
The plants are not our enemy, allergies are a response to a weakened Wei Qi (Defensive Qi) that needs to be strengthened. Our co-evolution with flowers, herbs and mushrooms make them your best defense against your allergic response. Then you will see what’s so great about stopping to smell the flowers!
April showers bring May flowers! Or in the case of Denver today, April snow brings much needed moisture to Colorado. A couple of days ago, everyone was sniffling and sneezing as our early Spring winds blew pollen and flowers all over us. Now we are back into Winter, leaving our bodies not quite sure how to react.
To strengthen your Wei Qi (Defensive layer of energy), begin taking Huang Qi (Astragalusmembranaceous) and Elderberry (Sambucus nigra). You can take as a tincture, tea or syrup. Also drink 2 cups of Nettle (Urtica diocia) a day. Fresh if possible. There’s nothing like the new growth of wild nettle to stop that post natal drip and watery eyes.
Remember, even one or two cups of herbal tea a day can make a big difference.
Although Denver is still holding on the warmth of the summer, I was up in the mountains last weekend and the icy breeze of winter reminded me that autumn is quickly approaching.
Thursday, September 22 is the Autumn Equinox. The Equinox is marked by the 12 hours of darkness and 12 hours of light that occurs twice a year. During the equinox, it is a reminder of the intricate balance of yin-yang, the dynamic opposites that govern all existence according to Chinese philosophy. I love this time of year, when I see plants letting go of all the energy they absorbed from their leaves during the year and then effortlessly releasing it all back to the Earth. Watching their process makes me reflect on all I have taken on throughout the year and gives me an opportunity to let go of all that I don’t need to hold on to.
I love this time of year when I see plants letting go of all the energy they absorbed from their leaves during the year and then effortlessly releasing it all back to the earth. Watching their process makes me reflect on all I have taken on throughout the year and gives me an opportunity to let go of all that I don’t need to hold on to.
Some of my favorite plants are those that remind us to let go of what we no longer need. In the case of Hawthorn Berries, they literally break up fats that may lead to arteriosclerosis or sluggish digestion.
Citrus peels, especially grapefruit peel, is very mucolytic, which means it breaks down substances containing mucus. In Chinese medicine, mucolytic herbs break up what we call phlegm, qi and blood stagnation (which can manifest as lipomas, tumors, cysts) and can be helpful in both decreasing cellulite and acne. Respiratory disorders are rampant in autumn, with many suffering from a wet cough that tends to linger with the cold, wet weather. Perilla leaf is useful to stop coughing and dissolves the phlegm that causes the tight, stifling sensation in the chest that accompanies the cough.
What are your favorite herbs for helping you let go of what is holding you back from optimum health?