posted on Oct, 18 2008 @ 01:24 PM
Continued from the Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody
Modern science attributes infections to bacteria and viruses. Previous generations blamed flying venom, “elf-shot” or the evil eye, while
Chinese medicine attributes chills and fevers to “six evils” related to climatic factors - wind, cold, heat, dampness, dryness, and fire - and
blames “pestilence” for severe epidemics. Many herbs traditionally used to fight infections have been identified as potent antibiotics and immune
system stimulants. Unlike wide-spectrum orthodox antibiotics, they are specific in the microbes they attack, so have less impact on the friendly
bacteria in the gut, making the digestive upsets that can follow orthodox medication less likely. Herbs can help to control the course of an illness
as the body works to restore balance. Common colds, for example, may be “hot” or “cold” in character, or alternate between the two as the
illness progresses. “Cold” conditions need warming herbs such as ginger, gui zhi, or angelica; “hot” infections can be cooled with herbs that
promote sweating, such as boneset, catnip, peppermint, or mulberry leaf.
Colds & Influenza
Garlic (parts used roots)
Antimicrobial; antifungal; suitable for a wide range of infectious conditions. Eat up to six fresh cloves a day in acute conditions, or take
Combinations: Best as simple, limit the odor by eating parsley.
Cautions: If it irritates the stomach, take ginger or fennel tea. Avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy and lactation.
Gui Zhi (parts used twigs)
Warms “cold” conditions, promotes sweating; antibacterial. Take a decoction or tincture; use bark (Rou Gui) if Gui Zhi is unavailable.
Combinations: For chills, mix a little fresh ginger root.
Caution: avoid in pregnancy. Not suitable for “hot” feverish colds.
Boneset (parts used aerial)
Promotes sweating, reduces fever, expectorant; good for hot feverish colds and influenza with muscle pains. Take an infusion or tincture three to four
times a day.
Combinations: For feverish colds and influenza, combine with yarrow, elderflower and peppermint.
Caution: high doses can cause vomiting.
Catnip (parts used aerial)
Cools fevers, promotes sweating; astringent in mucous congestion. Take an infusion or tincture three to four times a day.
Combinations: For feverish colds, can be mixed with yarrow, elderflower, boneset, ground ivy, angelica or mulberry leaf to enhance specific
Boils & Abscesses
Lian Qiao (parts used fruit)
Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory; reduces heat; resolves abscesses and boils; cools fevers. Take a decoction.
Combinations: combine with cooling herbs such as jin yin hua, burdock seeds, or huang qin, or antibacterial like purple coneflower in capsules.
Caution: use before boils start to suppurate. Avoid in diarrhea.
Figwort and Xuan Shen (parts used leaves and roots)
Anti-inflammatory antibacterial; cleansing, so it is good for toxic conditions. Make a poultice from figwort leaves; take a decoction of xuan shen or
Combination: add cooling herbs such as lian qiao, jin yin hua, goldenseal, or huang qin to the decoction, and take antibacterials like purple
coneflower in capsules.
Weak Immune System
Huang Qi (parts used roots)
Increases production of white blood cells and strengthens the immune response; antibacterial; energy tonic; strengthens wei qi, or defense energy.
Take a decoction or tincture.
Combinations: for debilitated conditions, add other energy tonics such as licorice, dang gui, and bai zhu.
Caution: avoid if condition involves excess “heat” or yin deficiency.
Purple Coneflower (parts used roots)
Antibacterial, antiviral; strengthens resistance to infections; useful for all septic or infectious conditions. Take 500 mg powdered root in capsules
or 10 ml tincture. Repeat up to four times a day.
Combinations: Use as simple, or add phlegm-reducing remedies like elderflower and catnip or fever herbs like yarrow or boneset, depending on
Caution: high doses can occasionally cause nausea and dizziness.
Next post by me will cover Respiratory Problems.