One of the most creative parts of my job is creating herbal combinations to treat disease. When I was in school I really enjoyed creating tinctures – liquid preparations of herbs for patients. In the early 1900s these were often called elixirs.
They were the precursor to cough syrups. In Connecticut, I use to make them all the time especially for common cold and flu symptoms.
The advantage of making the tinctures is that I can combine them to individualize them for the specific symptoms of the patient.
Here are three of my favorites that I usually use as the major components for my tincture when I treat colds and flus:
Echinacea (Echinacea species)
Echinacea is great for when the cold or flu leaves you feeling exhausted physically and mentally. It is used when you have a low grade or continuous fever as part of your illness picture.
It helps when you are feeling chills or have a runny nose or eyes, or swollen glands or tonsils. It has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal qualities.
This is contraindicated for people with ragweed allergies! Many people don’t realize this but it is an important indication.
Echinacea should also not be used by people with autoimmune disorders such as such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE). Check with your doctor if you are unsure.
Elderflower (Sambucus species)
Elderflower can be used at the first signs of common cold or flu symptoms. It is used for chronic sinus and consistent coughs. It is soothing to the nervous system and promotes elimination of waste through urination.
Elderflower has a slightly sweet taste and is often used for children to help the medicine taste better. This can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract so if you feel nauseous, vomiting, or dizziness discontinue use.
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice is a soothing herb which is nutritious to your system when you have a cold or flu. It coats the mucous membranes in your mouth, throat, nasal passages, respiratory and digestive tracks. It is great for coughs and all throat problems.