by Claudia Sutton
Over the last number of years, it has caught me by surprise how fast the seasons change, and here we are almost at Christmas! With the gardens now put to sleep, and the garden ornaments stored away, the sensitive and tender perennials are brought inside, including Eucalyptus, Lemon Verbena (our favourite for a relaxing tea or ingredient for Christmas sugar cookies), Stevia, Wasabi, and Scented Geraniums, to name a few, as well as trusty garlic. It is the time in our home to utilize all of these, whether by a warming soup, tea, or bath salts with dried lavender flowers.
We are all thinking immunity right now, and how we can protect ourselves and loved ones from a virus or cold that our children and/or grandchildren bring home to us from school or play. Quite a number of herbs can assist us with this conundrum.
What comes to mind is Rosemary, the wonderful fragrant Mediterranean herb, known as Rosemary Officinalis, which has three active components that can give the immune system a boost; anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and anti-carcinogens. Rosemary can help one avoid becoming ill at this time of year, when colds and flu run rampant. You can add dried or fresh Rosemary to tea with honey, which we especially enjoy, particularly if one of us feels rundown. Rosemary may also help reduce coughs and the accumulation of phlegm in the respiratory system. One may also be inclined to diffuse rosemary essential oil, which lends a lovely fragrance at Christmas. Of course, an added bonus is that Rosemary is helpful for memory; hence named ‘Rosemary for Remembrance’.
In addition to supplements of Vitamin C and Rosemary, any one of these herbs can also boost one’s immunity; Elderberries, Elderflower, Astragalus, Ginger, Cardamon, Cloves, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, Lemongrass, Spruce, and Garlic. We have been known to use Oil of Oregano at the first tickle in our throats. It is not for the faint of heart with its taste, but it definitely keeps germs at bay and works quickly.
Warming Ginger Tea:
This tea will help your body retain warmth and improve your mood! You will need:
2 tsp freshly ground ginger,
4 Cardamon pods,
One stick of freshly ground cinnamon,
Directions: Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Add honey or milk, according to taste. Enjoy!
There are many natural ways one can use the herbs that our ancestors used to keep our immune system strong and, at the same time, keep us cosy and warm during the long winter months to come!
Wishing you a Healthy, Happy Holiday season!