Nick Rosen |

Self-Doctoring: Chassidy Fitkin
Chassidy Fitkin is learning to be a herbalist. She continues her diary of discovery as she dumps the MD and learns about natural remedies This week, she will conquer, you guessed it, a headcold:

“This is the first time in my life I’ve been excited about being sick. What better way to know if my herbal remedies work than to try them on myself!?

I have a headcold that started with a sore throat but quickly just turned into congestion, runny nose, and cough. I have a recipe I tried that is outstanding and has kept me from resorting back to the common over the counter stuff that always made me feel out of my head. First, I have to say that it’s not likely you will have these herbs on hand because I did order them. But if your looking to grow, make peppermint one of the first herbs you plant!!

The first night with a sore throat, I had tea made of slippery elm bark and honey. The taste was nothing I would ever crave but made my throat feel a lot better. When we make tea, we boil the water first, then pour it on top of the herbs in a glass container, and cover. I have found that only a tsp of the herb works well, as I didn’t want to go overboard. I let mine sit for 15 minutes, then strain it through a very small strainer- the kind that looks like metal mesh (a coffee filter worked just as well). The slippery elm goes from tree bark to a strange texture that reminded me of the gel that comes out of an aloe plant.

I strained that off but I’ve since thought that part may help soothe the throat even more. The next day I added a tsp of peppermint herb to the slippery elm and found that to be the perfect remedy for my cold. It made me sweat a little at first and then I felt ten times better. Sweating is your body’s way of releasing toxins through your pores, so if your finicky about it your going to have to get past it. A tbsp of raw organic honey makes the tea just right. I’ve been making three cups a day, and this has been the best thing for me.

Also, I tried an infusion of rose hips, made basically the same way except I left it all night, and strained it the next morning. Rose hips have a lot more vitamin C than an orange and I wanted to boost my immune system. However, I only had a few rosehips and though the infusion did seem to help, I want to try again when I have more to work with.

My echinacea tincture isn’t finished yet or that would have been the first thing I turned to. Echinacea is known to boost the immune system also, and seems to have a great reputation for it. The tincture takes six weeks at least to complete and mine is two weeks away from being ready, I will write about it when I have been able to try it. Echinacea’s history drew me in as there was a story of a traveling man who sold it after a getting snake-bitten, and surviving. I’m not sure of the truth in that story but that is what brought the herb to attention. After which, there were people claiming that it cured ailments that were unresponsive to other treatments.It may have been the story that really got my attention though, I am fascinated by gypsy type life styles- whith all the traveling. Back to the echinacea, taken at the beginning of the flu is known to help your immune system in getting prepared for it, and who likes the flu? The thing of it is, if your body can fight off a sickness itself, with a little boost to the immune system, that is way to go.

I also want to add that this is my personal view on things and not meant to be taken in place of advice from your doctor. It’s my journey towards what is best for my family that I am sharing, not medical advice. There, that’s my disclaimer.

The next time I can write I will tell you about the home-made flea spray I put on my dog and by then I should be able to work on the arthritus oil/rub I’ve been wanting to get to.

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