There was a time when few of our southern elders went to the doctor or emergency room, instead they relied upon generations-old remedies found in the woods or in their gardens.
As cold and flu season approaches, there are some preventative and restorative remedies anyone can try to get better, stay better, and keep your home as free of seasonal illness as possible. All of these products can be found on sites owned by southern women that specialize in natural remedies.
An ounce of prevention
To prevent colds and flus or prepare your body for the season, consider trying Black Elder Apothecary’s Echinacea Tincture ($13/ounce). This full spectrum echinacea tincture is made with both echinacea Purpurea and echinacea Angustifolia and is good building one’s immunity.
Sage’s Larder’s Shifting Seasons ($13) is a healing tea blending Lemongrass, Elderberry & Rose Hips to bolster your system through the changing of the seasons. You can also try their Reishi Mushroom Immunity Elixir ($28). This healing reishi mushroom elixir is double extracted and created with immunity in mind.
Herbalist and owner of Asher & Bee Apothcary and Teahouse in Pensacola FL, Marni Woodson says, “I always suggest Elderberry Syrups and Elixirs. Sambucus known as Elderberry or Elder is a common plant ally used among herbalists to help combat cold and flu symptoms as well as being used in flu prevention. Elderberry has also recently been linked to anti-cancer studies and we know it is a great immune booster too!”
You can purchase Asher & Bee’s Elderberry Rose Elixir ($30).
The miracle of elderberry
Black Elder specializes in elderberry products. BE makes an Elderberry Syrup +Plus ($12) with not only the cold and flu-fighting capabilities of the elderberry (Sambucus nigra) but added herbs to help aid in the reduction, and eventual elimination of the symptoms that often accompany the cold, flu, sinusitis, and allergies in a drug-free healthy way. You can purchase it with or without honey. And, you can purchase an Elderberry Syrup Home Brew Kit ($16) to give as a gift or to make your own syrup.
There are a few old Gullah remedies that some find beneficial today.
Life Everlasting: (Gnaphalium obtusifolium) was an herbal cold medicine used as a chest-rub made from the herb, along with whisky, lemon and turpentine. The plant was sometimes smoked to treat asthma.
Dogwood tea was good to break a fever.
Mullien leaves were soaked in alcohol and placed on the chest for chest colds.
People used what they knew, and the descendants of enslaved Africans could identify roots, plants, and herbs growing from the ground. And they knew how to use them.
Woodson refers to medicinal roots and herbs as “plant allies” and cites the rose as commonly overlooked for its benefits.
She says, “Rose is high in vitamin C and is a great mood enhancer. I use rose tea as a way to combat the winter blues. Rose is also wonderful in a tea bath and is awesome skin rejuvenator for the colder seasons.”
Medicinal herb remedies are not only helpful seasonally but throughout the year. Contact the herbalists above for more information and instructions on use.26