Whenever someone gets sick in our house, we commonly use herbs as a first line of defense. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy that antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals are an option when appropriate, but if I can use gentler, safer alternatives BEFORE an issue needs the big pharmaceutical guns, I am all for it.
By now we are all well aware of the downside and dangers of antibiotics. Over the counter pain relievers, antihistamines, steroids and other common pharmaceuticals have their own sets of side effects to consider as well.
So that is why I often go to herbs, acupuncture, diet and lifestyle first when trying to keep me and my family healthy. When treated early, most of our colds can be knocked out quickly, saving us from lengthy illnesses, trips to the doctor’s offices and many rounds of antibiotics.
DISCLAIMER: I do NOT advocate using herbs to treat more serious conditions that clearly need more powerful treatment. Herbs are fantastic at helping treat conditions preventatively or at the beginning stages to keep the condition from getting worse. I am including general guidelines for what each herbal remedy can be used for below, but please reach out to me or a doctor if you have symptoms and you are not sure if they should be treated herbally.
Here are my top 5 favorite herbal remedies that I keep stocked in our medicine cabinet:
1. Arnica. I often refer to Arnica as the homeopathic remedy for people who do not believe in the effectiveness of homeopathy. It is that good! It mainly comes in pill and gel form (we have both) and I mainly use Arnica for physical trauma. If you fall, stub your toe or otherwise do something where you would expect a bruise to form, Arnica is a great remedy to use for pain relief and to increase recovery.
2. Yin Qiao San. This and the rest of these remedies are Chinese herbal formulas, so I would recommend getting these from a Licensed Acupuncturist in your area. Licensed Acupuncturists have access to higher quality herbal companies than the general public so it is worth it from a safety and effectiveness standpoint, and the prices will be comparable.
Yin Qiao San is a very useful formula for the very beginning stages of a cold when you start to feel a sore throat, feel warmer than usual and/or starting to have yellow mucus. Often taking Yin Qiao San at these first warning signs is enough to knock the cold out before it really gets ramped up.
3. Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan. The go-to Chinese herbal formula for stomach flu – nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, etc. Also useful to have in your travel kit in case of food poisoning. I have used it for that and am very thankful I had it!
4. Jade Windscreen (Yu Ping Feng San). This formula is designed to improve your immune system function, particularly helpful at keeping you from getting sick in the first place. I use this formula when everyone around me seems to be getting sick and I want to give my immune system a boost and help keep pathogens out! This can also be helpful to start taking just before allergy season.
5. Xanthium Nasal Formula (Jia Wei Cang Er Pain). This formula is very helpful to have on hand for allergy season, which seems to be year-round for some Austinites. It is also useful to have for head colds that are primarily affecting the sinuses, causing a stopped up nose and/or sinus pressure.
I have found over and over that access to a home herbal medicine cabinet is very beneficial and is effective at reducing many symptoms as well as the length and severity of many common illnesses. Got questions? Comments? Email me or call 512-676-5494. I’d love to hear from you!