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Saturday, 8 August 2009

Cold Comfort

The latest installment of 'What I Learned From...' over at Middle Zone Musings will feature lessons learned from plants, so partly because of that and because Future; Nostalgic's introductory blurb mentions my interest in herbal medicine, I figured it was about time I posted something on the subject, and what better than a short account of my introduction to the world of plant-based medicines...

Flowers of Black Elder (Sambucus nigra Black Lace)

I wasn't feeling too good, not good at all - this was a few years ago and I was in the grip of one of those persistent colds that just won't shift, no matter what you throw at it.

You know the sort of cold I mean - it's the one that single-handedly keeps your local pharmacist in business and gives the shareholders of tissue manufacturing companies a nice warm glow when they contemplate next year's dividend! My doctor had made all the right noises, but paracetamol, fluids and keeping warm just weren't cutting it, I was getting through cough medicine like a hardened wino, all the while anticipating the onset of a secondary infection that would require at least two courses of antibiotics to deal with when a friend passed me a copy of a book on herbal medicine.

Now I confess, up until that point in my life, I'd always been skeptical of such 'new age' nonsense however, a flick through said book suggested there may be something herbal I could try. What was even better was that two of the three ingredients grew in our garden, and I knew where the third could be obtained (legally, I hasten to add!), so it wasn't long before I was sipping a hot tea concocted from elderflowers, yarrow and peppermint, sweetened with local honey and you know what - it really was quite pleasant.

Within a day or two of starting the tea therapy I began to feel better, dramatically better, so it must have had some sort of effect over and above that of a placebo. It still took another week before I was back to my old self, but for the first time in all my *cough* years, the expected infection never materialised and I was able to remain antibiotic-free.

I bought the book!

[edit: the latest WILF (What I Learned From...) is now up and you can read all 16 entries here.]



phonelady said...

wow that must have been some book that is just awesome . Mother nature in all her glory does wonderous things for our bodys . I hope you are feeling better and back to your old self before you know it . enjoy the tea and honey .

Sam said...

Thanks for your kind thoughts and yes, quite well again now, though any recurrence or other minor illness and I reach for the same book again: The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffmann. It's a brilliant book which I wouldn't be without. :)

The Missive Maven said...

Actually, I swear by Elderberry and Elderflower for immune support! My resistance to colds and bugs has been markedly better since I've been using it.

Sam said...

After that first, tentative trial I've now come to rely on Elderberry and Elderflower as part of my winter maintenance regimen. I also use a bit of Echinacea, but prefer angustifolia to pupurea as I think the effects are better with the former. Thanks for the great comment. :)

Robert Hruzek said...

Hey, that sounds like it did the trick, Sam! I've often wondered how to separate the "new age" nonsense from the genuine value in that knowledge. Sounds like you found it.

A big ol' tip o' the hat for joining us for WILF this month, Sam, and welcome to the Middle Zone!

Sam said...

Thanks for those kind words Robert, and yes, it certainly did do the trick! The more I learn about herbal medicine the more I find there isn't much "new age" nonsense at all, and what there is often has a grain of truth behind it.

Likewise Robert, welcome to Future; Nostalgic! :)

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