‘Tis the Season…Flu Season, That Is…

‘Tis the season…for sneezes, snuffles, and sore throats!

Every year, along with all the holiday cheer and good tidings, I always manage to get sick. Honestly, this yearly ritual might be worse then the coal Santa gave me one year! So, to avoid the version of a white Christmas that consists of my bedroom floor covered in tissues, I did some preparation beforehand. Planting in my garden a whole host of nutrient packed, cold fighting herbs. My new New Year’s resolution: Cold Fighting Superhero (cape and all). Who knew it was as easy as a little gardening? I’m still looking for a cape though, petite size if anyone has a suggestion…

Let’s Get Into It

Up first, and this might seem strange but trust me, it’s worth it! Plantains. You read that right, plantains! Sadly, not the same type of plantain that is used to make an incredibly delicious side dish. Herbal panacea or plantain (plantago spp) is a different variety of the banana-like fruit. So, put the tostones recipes away, and look at what this medicinal herb plantain has to offer: The herb is astringent, anti-toxic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-histamine, as well as demulcent, expectorant, styptic and diuretic. This baby does it all! Usually enjoyed as a loose-leaf tea, you can expect Plantago spp to get the job done.

You gotta keep things spicy! Our next Sniffle Savior Award goes to cayenne peppers! In addition to being edible (and a common ingredient in most of my dishes), cayenne peppers (capsicum frutescens) have so many medicinal uses. Anything from a sore throat, wounds, chills, and bruising. This pepper might be my favorite cure all! The best part, peppers are a top grower in Florida, which means easy access year round. Marvel and DC, look out, a new hero is on the way! Try an Apple Cider Vinegar Cayenne Pepper cold remedy, or give a Lemon & Cayenne Pepper recipe a try!

Last on our list, but certainly not least, purple coneflower, AKA echinacea. This herb is often used as a decorative plant and sadly is widely over looked. A Native plant to Florida, and a natural immune-system booster, this attractive herb can treat colds, inflammation, and fight infection. Echinacea is now growing loud and proud at the forefront of my garden! Echinacea is great as a tea or tincture, and you can make both of these using your fresh echinacea plant.

“The beauty of herbs is that it isn’t formulated, it is given to us by the earth, nurtured by all that is natural in this world, like sun and water,” says Nikki Arguinzoni-Gil, a licensed naturopathic doctor. “Herbs have existed since the beginning of time and for most of our existence has been used to heal wounds, treat disease, nourish the body, and so much more. It is in its pureness that it harbors such healing power. Both with individual herbs and in formulations, you are able to use whatever part of a plant you desire, depending on what herbal property you want to utilize. You can take a couple of herbs and make herbal formulations geared toward treating or preventing whatever condition you desire.”

There it is, my small list of plants that can help you become your own hero, and hopefully a way to get through the holidays without missing a beat. Too bad these herbs can’t help with all that holiday traffic. Hmmm, maybe if I find that cure, I’ll really get a cape! All the same, Happy Holidays, and stay healthy!