Thursday, July 22, 2010

Traditional European Cold/Flu Tea

An extremely common, effective cleansing tea used by many Europeans at the first sign of a cold or the flu coming on is called, quite brilliantly, Traditional European Cold/Flu Tea. It is an equal mixture of dried elderflower, yarrow, and peppermint. Always buy the organically-grown herbs. I find that mixing 50 g. of each in a sealed jar lasts quite a long time. Use 1-2 teaspoons of the mix per pot of tea. Steep approximately 7 minutes, strain, add a touch of organic, unpasteurized honey and enjoy.

Why is this such a household fixture in Europe? It is an inexpensive tea that can be made with all organic herbs that is just loaded with health benefits.

The Health Benefits of Elderflower

Recent research has confirmed that elderberries help to shorten the strength and length of coughs and cold. There is a theory that is a result of the high amount of Vitamin C they contain. Elderberries rank up there with blueberries and cranberries as being full of flavanoids, amino acids, carotenoids, tannins and vitamins.

Elder has been used medicinally for 4,000 years and I referred to by many as “the medicine chest of the country folk.”

Elder is used:

• as a de-toxifier. It builds the immune system by clearing out toxins through the lymph glands.

• as an expectorant to thin out and clear mucus. In the days before modern medicine made such a big impact on everyone’s lives, it was also used for respiratory problems, particularly asthmatics.

• as a pick-me-up for “poorly” people (especially children and the elderly) before winter. It helped to build their immune systems before the cold of the winter set in. Unfortunately, coughs, colds and influenza were killers through a cold European winter.

• to relieve the symptoms of allergies to pollens and to reduce the effects of sinusitis. Elderflower concentrate was made in the springtime when the elderflowers were just into bloom and plentiful.

• as a blood purifier; and as a tonic or ointment to fade freckles or skin blemishes. Many modern skin tonics still contain elderflowers.

The Health Benefits of Yarrow

The yarrow plant is also known as “bloodwort”, “carpenter’s weed”, “common yarrow”, “knight’s milfoil”, “milfoil”, “noble yarrow”, “nosebleed”, “old man’s pepper” and “staunchgrass”.

Yarrow has been used since at least ancient Greece as treatment for external skin wounds. The scientific name is Achillea millefolium. Achillea refers to the ancient Greek hero Achilles who is reputed to have used yarrow to treat himself and his soldiers. Millefolium means “of a thousand leaves” referring to the fine, delicate and feathery leaves of the plant.

Yarrow is used as a/an:

• antibiotic
• anti-inflammatory (helps with gastritis, stomach ulcers, enteritis, other gastrointestinal conditions, infections)
• an antiseptic
• astringent (helps with diarrhea, dysentery, internal bleeding)
• antispasmodic (intestinal issues like colic, cramps and flatulence)
• diuretic
• sedative
• aid to improve cardiovascular health by helping to regulate blood pressure
• blood purifier. It removes heat and toxins from the body by increasing sweating.
• repairer of damaged or worn body tissues due to the presence of silica
• appetite stimulant
• stimulant for the circulatory system and bile flow
• skin wash to help with skin problems such as eczema
• hair tonic

The Health Benefits of Peppermint

Peppermint is believed to be a natural hybrid of watermint and spearmint. The primary active components of peppermint are menthol and menthone. Historically, peppermint has been used to treat digestive disorders and upper respiratory infections.

Peppermint is an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A; and, a very good source of magnesium, folate, dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B2.

Peppermint is used as an/a:

• analgesic (helps with pain relief)
• anti-inflammatory (helps with pain relief)
• anesthetic
• decongestant, expectorant, antiviral (helps with sinusitis, colds)
• astringent (helps with acne, blackheads, rashes, redness
• antiseptic
• antibacterial
• antimicrobial
• antispasmodic (helps with menstrual cramps)
• vasodilatory effects (helps with migraines)
• insect repellant (kills head lice)
• carminative properties (helps with irritable bowel syndrome)
• reliever of anxiety, stress, emotional imbalance and stress-induced headaches or migraines

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