Thursday, November 1, 2012

First Colds of the Season

Maybe it was the end-of-October trip to the shore (and subsequent swimming is the cold waters), or maybe it was the stress of preparing for and anticipating the hurricane after we returned, or maybe it is just the change in the weather and little boys who don't want to dress for it, or maybe it was a combination of all these things, but this week my boys have been passing around their first colds of the season. Time to pull on the socks, kick up the wood stove, and put on the kettle because it's time to make tea.

elderflowers, catnip and chamomile tea

Anyone who know me, knows that at the first sign of a runny nose I reach for my elderberry and begin dosing. There is nothing like elderberry syrup or elixir to gear up immune systems to return our systems to balance. But after the elderberry is administered, the very next thing I do is get the tea started. A nice strong tea is my very favorite way to get the healing benefits of herbs into little bodies. It is easy to brew up a big batch in the morning and have it on hand all day long. And while I don't push the kids to eat when they are feeling under the weather, I do push the liquids. It is important to stay hydrated when sick and drinking tea throughout the day serves this function as well.

Because treating colds with herbal tea is most effective if small doses are given frequently throughout the day, I make a batch of tea by the quart and leave the herbs steeping in the jar all day, just straining off a quarter to a half cup of tea at a time. The tea continues to get stronger throughout the day this way. To each cup I add a couple drops of liquid stevia and about 20 drops of my elderberry elixir.

I rarely get protests when I offer these cups every hour or so, and usually that runny nose rarely develops into anything more serious. When my boys are over their colds in just two days I am thankful for the many gentle and effective healing herbs in my pantry, many of which were harvested from this past season's garden.

When considering herbs for a tea to treat children's colds, the following are among my favorites...

  • catnip: calming, fever reducing, helps little ones rest
  • yarrow: pain-relieving, increases circulation, reduce fevers
  • elderflowers: expectorant, calming, antiseptic, helps reduce fevers
  • chamomile: calming, antiseptic, soothing and pain-relieving
  • lemon balm: relaxing, pain-relieving, anti-bacterial, anti-viral
  • spearmint: helps reduce fever, soothing
  • mullein: expectorant, respiratory tonic, relieves congestion and soothes irritation
  • coltsfoot: relaxing, expectorant, soothing, dispels coughs

And remember, a cup of tea brewed with love and healing intent is that much more potent in loving energy. Tea takes time, but we take time for tea because it is an act of love, and what could be more healing?

Rainer with his tea

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