Herbalist – Giacomo Sandri
Our bodies and our minds are microcosmos that harmoniously dance with the neverending rotatory movements of our Mother Earth. Shifts of season naturally come with a change in habits, behaviors and rituals; Winter is the time of the year especially dedicated to introspection and nourishment – whether of our relationships, bodies or spirits – and it is a wonderful opportunity to learn new skills to bring into our nests. On the other side, if we do not allow our energies to keep circulating or we neglect excessively our self care, Winter months can penalise us with ailments and illnesses that will unavoidably force us to rest and recover.
In this brief article I will list and describe my favourite five herbs which can be used as hot teas (also called herbal infusions) to support our beings to prevent and recover from common winter ailments.
- THYME LEAVES (Thymus vulgaris)
A herb with ‘hot and dry’ qualities with exceptional antimicrobial and mucolytic (phlegm thinning) properties and a strong affinity for the respiratory and urinary system. It is wonderful to resolve any condition that originates from congestion/ stagnation in these systems. To preserve its essential oils, thyme leaves are best used fresh are are indicated for sinusitis, heavily productive coughs, sore throats and cystitis
- LICORICE ROOT (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
A well known delightfully-tasting herb which has expectorant (phlegm removing), energising and immune boosting properties with affinity for respiratory, digestive, hormonal and immune system. Licorice root pieces are usually synergistically combined with thyme leaves to make an exquisite tea to reduce productive coughs and sore throats. Licorice also is used to support the immune system and boost physical and mental energy.
- ELDERFLOWERS (Sambucus nigra)
Elderflowers are probably best known for cordials and presse’. They are a wonderful medicine to increase vasodilation in the peripheral blood vessel, increasing perspiration and therefore being a helping hand in reducing fevers and colds.
- ECHINACEA ROOT AND HERB (Echinacea purpurea)
A superstar in the world of herbs, echinacea is probably one of the most well known herbs for boosting the function of the immune system. Echinacea increases the number of white blood cells in the body and helps fight off viral and bacterial infections. Although, in my opinion, it is best taken at high doses as tablets or tincture at the initial stage of an illness, it can also be added to your cup of hot water for extra support
- GINGER RHIZOME (ROOT) (Zingiber officinalis)
A seriously hot and dry herb, ginger is one of the king spicy and pungent herbs with a strong affinity for the digestive and respiratory systems. Its qualities make it one of the best remedies for any ailment caused by stagnation such as cold, flu and sinusitis. It also promotes blood circulation promoting the resolution of fevers and ameliorates digestive symptoms such as indigestion, nausea and gas (ideal for the Christmas period especially!)
NOTE: To make a medical grade infusion, use wherever possible organic herbs in the following proportion:
1 Tablespoon dried herb to 1 cup of hot boiling water OR
2 Tablespoon fresh herb to 1 cup of hot boiling water
Infuse for at least 10 MINUTES, then strain and enjoy!