The Forager's Path - School of Botanical Studies

Winter Herbal Health Kit

Strategies for Robust Health During the Winter Cold and Flu Season

(More products are available in our Community Herb Store)

Throughout most of his career, 19th century French chemist Louis Pasteur insisted that germs were the cause of disease.
It wasn’t until Pasteur was nearing the end of his life that he came to believe just the opposite, reportedly saying, “It is the soil, not the seed.”
In other words, a germ (the seed) causes disease when our bodies (the soil) provide a hospitable environment for the seed to grow.

This is a vital yet often forgotten part of the field of herbalism.
Many people don‘t think about their health until they become sick.
Being pro-active for prevention is easier and more effective than being reactive to disease.

The Best Forms of Prevention During the Cold & Flu Season:
~Rest & Sleep
Quality rest and sleep are essential foundations to health.
These are the times when our bodies are able to repair and rejuvenate.
One way to view colds and flu is that they force us to slow down and get extra sleep.
In Nature, winter is naturally a restful time for both flora and fauna.
In the modern world, we have created artificial indoor environments, especially the temperature and hours of light, so that we can easily be taken out of this natural cycle.

~Quality Diet
Regarding the diet – it doesn’t have to be perfect – actually, chasing perfection leads to increased stress and eating disorders.
At the very least, eat freshly prepared whole foods and avoid processed foods.

One way to counter the temptations of ingesting excess sugar during the winter holidays is to increase healthy fats in the diet.
Fat has a satiating effect on our appetite and does not raise blood sugar like carbohydrates.

~Healthy Stress Levels
The past few years have been highly stressful in this country and 2020 has become even more so with the current public health crisis.
Prolonged stress uses Chi and raises cortisol levels which suppress immunity.
Health is not about being stress free; it is about reducing excess and having a healthy response to a stressful situation.
Some form of prayer, meditation, yoga, quality family time, connecting to nature and not over-scheduling are tried and true ways to keep stress at healthier levels.

~Keep Chi strong
Lack of sleep, a poor diet and high stress drain our energy.
The opposite is also true: rejuvenative sleep, a quality diet and healthy stress levels support strong Chi.

~Stay warm, dry and out of the wind.
Especially keep the back of the neck and head covered.
A “cold wind invasion” is how Traditional Chinese Medicine describes catching a cold.
This approach is common knowledge in many cultures around the world but has been mostly forgotten in the modern world.
Use a high collar, a hood or scarf to cover the back of the head when outside.

~Vitamin D
This vitamin plays an important role in healthy immune functioning.
Due to decreased exposure to sunlight in the winter, many people in North America are deficient.
Take 5000 IU daily during the darkest time of year when lack of sunlight becomes an issue.
If your shadow is longer than you are high, the sun is not strong enough to produce the needed Vitamin D.
Consider this a long term tonic during the six darkest months, often referred to as the Vitamin D Winter.

Winter is the Yin time of year and consuming yin-oriented foods is ideal. Bone broth is excellent this time of year.
Adding some pre-made broth to a stew with meat, fresh ginger and root vegetables is both a nutritious and delicious winter meal.
This link explains how to make the broth.

Rest & Sleep
Winter is when nature sleeps and rests.
This is true for dormant perennial plants and hibernating animals.
Many traditional cultures around the world view the coldest and darkest season as a time for telling stories, relaxing during the long evenings and sleeping well.
These customs have been largely lost in the fast-paced modern world.
Still, it is both possible and important to prioritize quality sleep in winter.

What to Do if You Get a Cold or Flu
Prompt action is important.
Getting extra rest the first night (or even the first day) when feeling under the weather makes a big difference.

The Winter Herbal Health Kit has an Acute Winter Health extract.
The standard routine is to take ½ to one full dropper of extract as soon as you feel discomfort.
Repeat every hour for the first two days.
This formula is most helpful if used immediately when feeling discomfort rather than waiting a day or two.

Depending on your rest, stress level, diet and frequency of herb use during the first 24 hours, many people feel better the following day.
It is important to continue with extra rest and herbal intake for at least a full day after feeling better.
Those who quickly jump back into a busy schedule often have a relapse.
Ingredients: Osha Root, Yerba Manza Root, Boneset Leaf, Licorice Root

Both colds and influenza are caused by airborne viruses. They have the potential to be serious, even life threatening diseases. While many people have had success using plants to support health, herbs are not a substitute for medical care. Do not hesitate to get appropriate medical care if complications arise.

Lung Support
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs are seen as internal organs that are exposed to the outside world as they constantly come in contact with external air.
Any extremes of the air -heat, cold, dryness or humidity- can cause lung imbalances.

The Lung Support Syrup in your kit is a formula that has helped many people resolve respiratory issues in the winter.
It combines herbs from the American Southwest, Chinese and European traditions.
The standard use is one teaspoon as needed or every few hours.
Ingredients: Osha Root, Mullein Leaf, Wild Cherry Bark, Licorice Root

Like colds and flu, respiratory health issues have the potential to be serious and even life threatening. Seek prompt medical care if the cough is not improving or there is any difficulty breathing.

Throat Soother Spray
A sore throat in the winter can have many causes.
It may be simple irritation caused by wood smoke from the fireplace or the seasonal dry air of winter.
It can also have viral or bacterial causes such as Strep Throat which is brought on by a bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes, also known as group A streptococcus.

While Strep Throat is easily spread from person to person, it isn’t by itself considered a serious illness.
However, the complications from this bacteria can spread to the heart and kidneys and be more serious.
If one chooses home-based healthcare for strep, it is important to be diligent and prompt in using herbs for at least three full days or until the issue is resolved.

This link to the Mayo Clinic has detailed information on the medical approach to strep throat

The Throat Soother Spray should be used several times a day until the condition is resolved.
Simply pump three sprays into the back of the throat every 2-3 hours.
Ingredients: Salvia officinalis Leaf, Osha Root, Echinacea Root, Water, Alcohol, Honey

Sipping a cup of Throat Coat tea 1-3 x a day is a good way to moisten a dry throat and relieve irritation.
This can be done in combination with the Throat Soother Spray.

Lymph Flow
The lymphatic system is intricately connected to the immune system.
It works to remove waste products from a hard working, stimulated immune system.

Support of the lymphatic system is especially important when we are fighting off any of the many winter bugs.
Our lymph glands can easily become overloaded and feel enlarged and tender when this happens.
This is most easily felt at the lymph glands located on both sides of the jawbone at the back corner, a few inches beneath the ear lobe.

The best way to support movement of the lymph is to physically move.
A healthy person living an active lifestyle doesn’t need much in the way of herbal lymph support.
However, we tend to be more sedentary in the winter and when we feel ill.
This lack of movement combined with an extra load of work from the immune system results in stagnation.

Lymph Flow is a formula of herbs that traditionally support healthy lymph movement.
It can be used anytime other immune supporting formulas are being used during the winter.
It is especially helpful for lingering conditions such as the cold that lasts for many days/weeks.
Supporting the lymph helps the immune system resolve the last of the problem.
Ingredients: Red Root, Yerba mana Root, Cleavers Leaf, Water, Alcohol

Fever Triplet
These three herbs have a long tradition of being used to support a healthy fever response during influenza.
They help to balance circulation in the body by both stimulating blood movement from the core to the surface and by relieving excess tension that inhibits the flow.

Take 1-3 droppers full in a cup of hot water and sip frequently during the day.
Drinking this tea may cause a slight sweat which is beneficial.

Ingredients: Elder Flower, Peppermint Leaf, Yarrow Flower and Leaf, Water, Alcohol

This is a link to a fever information page from the Texas Children’s Hospital.

The Winter Herbal Health Kit contains
1. Acute Winter Health Extract – 2 oz
2. Lung Support Syrup – 4 oz
3. Lymph Flow Extract – 2 oz
4. Throat Soother Spray – 2 oz
5. Fever Triplet Extract – 2 oz

The retail price in health food stores for these herbal products is approximately $120.
The Winter Herbal Health Kit price is $85, shipping included.
You save $35.

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