Please note: no one on our team of herbalists here at Alpine Botanicals is a medical doctor and we are NOT providing “medical advice,” “recommendations,” or “treatments” of any kind. These articles are designed to solely provide helpful information for supporting your immune and respiratory systems using herbs.
With the rising concerns and development of COVID-19 (aka “the coronavirus”) all over the world, it is vital to ensure that you have the proper resources and tools to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy. Medical systems are becoming increasingly overwhelmed worldwide and now, more than ever, is the time to support your health & natural vitality the best you can on your own.
Kate Miller (owner and found of Alpine Botanicals) shared some important information on COVID-19 and some of her favorite herbal allies and products for supporting a healthy immune system in her article “COVID-19: Vital Information + Herbal Support For The Coronavirus Epidemic” last month on the Alpine Botanicals’ Blog. With so many new resources coming out and an abundance of different herbal practices you can use to support your well-being during this time, I am here with “Part 2” of our COVID-19 support series! In this article, I offer three of my go-to daily herbal recipes for immune and respiratory support in addition to a list of new resources from a few of our favorite, trusted herbalists.
Recipe #1: Moistening Herbal Brew
Living in Colorado where the climate is already very dry by nature, ensuring proper hydration is a part of my daily practice. In light of our current health crisis, it is even more important to make sure our tissues stay nice, moist, and healthy so no potential invaders can take root. Not to mention, if you’re experiencing a dry, scratchy throat, using moistening and demulcent herbs like the ones included in this recipe is key.
In order to pull out the mucilage (or as I like to call: the “beneficial goop”) from the marshmallow root and slippery elm bark, I typically prepare this herbal brew as an overnight infusion which I explain how to prepare here. While I enjoy drinking this moistening tea at room temperature first thing in the morning, you can also warm it up in a saucepan on the stove and add a little bit of raw honey or a squeeze of fresh lemon for an added boost!
Daily Moistening + Nutritive Herbal Brew
1 part Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) dried leaf
1 part Oatstraw (Avena sativa) dried straw
1 part Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra) dried bark
1 part Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) dried root or leaf
¼ part (just a “pinch”) Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp.) dried chips
- Before you go to bed, combine all of the herbs in a quart-size glass jar.
- Pour filtered water (room temperature or chilled) over the herbs, filling the jar to the top.
- Cover the jar with a lid and give it a good shake to combine.
- Let the herbs infuse into the water overnight (or for about 8 hours).
- In the morning, strain the herbs from the water using a fine-mesh strainer.
- Sip and enjoy at room temperature or warm the tea in a saucepan over low heat. Optional: add raw honey and fresh lemon juice to taste.
Recipe #2: An Herbal Steam for the Senses
If I had to choose one herbal preparation to be utilizing daily right now, it would be an herbal steam! Respiratory system support is direly important right now, and the best way to support a specific body system is to get the herbs right onto the tissues that need them.
For instance: if you have a sore back, you would apply a salve directly to the area. Or if you have a splinter in your hand, you would apply an herbal poultice directly onto the part of the hand with the splinter. The same methodology applies to the upper respiratory system! If you want to support your respiratory health, one simple way to get the benefits of herbs directly to that area is to inhale their aromatic steam. Many of these aromatic herbs can help “get stuff moving” and push out any mucus that could remain stuck otherwise.
While Fir Balsam and Eucalyptus are two of my favorite essential oils to steam with, there are many other aromatic herbal essential oils you can use here too so feel free to get creative! Think aromatic tree needles, rosemary, or any other herbs that make you go “ahh” and take a deep breath when you think about inhaling them.
Even if you don’t have any herbs or essential oils on hand, inhaling the moistening steam from hot water alone can be helpful for keeping the tissues in this area moist. Herbal steams can be enjoyed every day, are easy to prepare, and also help make your skin glow afterward! Home spa time anyone?
Respiratory TLC Herbal Steam
1-2 handfuls of aromatic herbs (dried or fresh) - Use a combination or one of the following herbs Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) leaf, Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) leaf, Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) leaf, Oregano (Origanum vulgare) leaf, Sage (Salvia officinalis or Perovskia atriplicifolia) leaf and flower
1-3 drops of Fir, Balsam essential oil
1-3 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Once water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat and add the herbs. Place a lid over the pot and allow the herbs to infuse for 5-15 minutes.
- Remove the lid from the pot and allow the water to cool slightly so it does not burn your skin (you can test this carefully with your hand).
- Once the water has cooled slightly to a safe temperature that will not burn the skin: add the essential oils.
- Place a bath towel over your head and use your arms to create a tent over the pot. This allows you to capture more of the steam for inhaling.
- Breathe deeply and inhale your herbal steam for 5-10 minutes. You are welcome to take breaks if needed. Add more essential oil drops if you want a stronger aroma.
- Enjoy this Respiratory TLC Herbal Steam daily or several times per day during acute imbalances.
Recipe #3: Nourishing Golden Cauliflower
Amidst all of the chaos of the health crisis, it can be easy to forget to nourish ourselves in the most fundamental form of it: food! Feeding our body with nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables that help revitalize the body is one of the most supportive things we can do for our entire immune system every day. With all of the new stress going around (especially for those of us who are homeschooling our kiddos every day!) it is equally as important that our food is easy to prepare...
One of my favorite go-to veggie recipes that is super simple to make in a time crunch is Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower. And guess what? It actually calls for Golden Root’s Sugar-Free Turmeric Latte Mix as one of the ingredients: meaning that your favorite inflammation-soothing golden milk drink mix can also double as a delicious spice blend for giving your veggies a super-boost. Total game-changer.
Amazing with cauliflower, potatoes, fennel, squash, carrots...feel free to get creative with which veggies you use depending on what you have on hand. Bonus points if you mince a fresh glove of garlic on top before eating for a little extra immune system support.
Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower
1 head of Cauliflower
1-2 tablespoons of Sugar-Free Golden Root Turmeric Mix
4 tablespoons of avocado oil
Optional: salt, pepper, garlic powder
Optional: 1-2 cloves of garlic
- Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Wash 1 head of cauliflower and cut florets into small pieces.
- Put cauliflower florets into a bowl and add 1-2 tablespoons of the Golden Root Sugar-Free Turmeric Latte Mix.
- Add 4 tablespoons of avocado oil, or enough to completely coat the cauliflower. Mix well with your hands. Option to add more salt, pepper, and/or garlic powder to your preference.
- Put cauliflower florets onto the lined baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the florets are golden and slightly crispy on the edges.
- Enjoy as-is or mince a fresh clove or two of garlic on top for an added immune-boost! This recipe can be prepared in advance as part of your meal prep routine and enjoyed throughout the week for an easy side dish or as a key ingredient in your favorite power bowl or salad.
Interesting and Informative Articles Regarding Coronavirus, Herbal Therapies, and More
In light of this rising pandemic, countless herbalists, doctors, scientists, and other health professionals have been sharing their findings, perspectives, and protocols for supporting our body’s natural immune system through this crisis. All of us here at Alpine Botanicals are beyond grateful to have this growing abundance of resources and we felt inspired to share them with our community-at-large as well.
While all of us are isolated in our separate abodes, it is so important that we stay connected virtually and continue to share our recipes, tools, and experiences with one another. What works for one person may not for another...but just might be the missing piece to another person’s protocol that they hadn’t tried yet! We hope that you reference these articles as needed, utilizing the pieces that help you and leaving the rest that does not. Remember to reference Kate’s article here for more helpful references and resources.
>> From Herbalist Thomas Easley - read the article here
>>From Herbalist John Slattery - read the article here
>>From the Dogwood School of Botanical Medicine - read the article here
>>From Herbalist Matthew Wood - references his resources here
>>From Herbalist Paul Bergner - reference his articles & resources here
>>From Herbalist Donnie Yance - several helpful, detailed articles on his blog here
>>From Herbalist Thomas Avery Garran - reference his resources here
>>From Herbalist Katja Swift on the Elderberry & Cytokine Storm Debate - reference the article here
>>A Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach - read the article here (scroll to the bottom for an English translation)
>>Additional Resources Collection from Red Moon Herbs - reference here
Be Well, Keep Calm, and Stay Home!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Heather Saba is a Certified Clinical Herbalist and Nutritionist, Medical Anthropologist, Writer, Whole-Body Wellness Coach, and Holistic Educator. She sees clients both in-person and through Skype in the Alpine Botanicals clinic room and at her office in Boulder for one-on-one herbal + nutritional wellness sessions, including custom herbal formulations. Connect with her on her personal website (www.heathersaba.com) and Instagram (@heathersaba).