St. John's (or Joan's) Wort. Hypericum Perforatum

        This marvelous plant with beautiful little yellow flowers never ceases to amaze me with it's healing powers. Hypericum is in the Hyperaceae family and flowers near the end of June on or around St. John's Day near summer solstice (hence it's common name). Some have confused this plant with it's relative, creeping St. John's wort, botanical name Hypericum calycinum but the two are not interchangeable. There are several plants of the Hypericum genus that can be used for herbal medicine purposes though they possess different properties. This post will focus on the Hypericum Perforatum variety only.

       This plant has been used since ancient times as a would medicine and is a specific for wounds to areas rich in nerve endings. It can be used for burns in all degrees, cuts and scrapes, and historically was even used to prevent tetanus. It is especially useful when wounds cause sharp, shooting pains or inflammation along the course of a nerve or where there is a pinched nerve.

       I have personally found the oil incredible effective for relieving neck and shoulder tension when massaged into that area. A few years ago, I had a low grade tension headache with a ultra tight neck and shoulders for four days. I had tried a handful of other remedies internally without much success. It seemed the other remedies were keeping a migraine at bay, but not addressing the underlying issue. It dawned on me to try St. John's wort oil , I could actually feel the tension melting away from my neck and shoulders until there was complete relief within a couple of hours. The tension did not come back.

      This year, due to poor posture with breast-feeding, baby hip-holding, and other self-inflicted injuries that result from being a mother to a baby, combined with a serious lack of exercise on my part, my lower back kept going out and causing me severe shooting pains. I would pick up my little guy and hold him for a while and when I would go to put him down, my back would jar and remain like that for days. I put on several topical pain remedies that offered some relief, but didn't fix it and then again I remembered I had St. John's wort tincture macerating. I strained out the flowers and took 10 drops. It took about an hour and then the entire area let go and relaxed, the tension was gone, and I regained full mobility and a sense of joy.

       St. John's wort has a special affinity to the solar plexus/nervous system of the body. It can be used to support people with anxiety, fear or depression. It is said to bring emotions and thoughts into synchronicity. It's flower essence is good for overload of information to help with processing.

     There are recommendations to exercise caution in taking St. John's wort internally if you are on antidepressants. Herbalist Susun weed says tincture is perfectly safe and people only run into problems when consuming capsules, watch her quick video on Hypericum here. I like to let people know about possible contraindications so that they can do their own research about their medications. This herb is so effective for the winter blues and depression that it has helped numerous people come off of medications altogether. 

      Many practitioners consider St. John's wort oil to be like a homeopathic chiropractic adjustment. For me, my personal experiences definitely confirm this opinion. It's also incredible anti-viral! The little yellow flowers of this beautiful plant make a vividly red tincture and oil. It will always have an important place in my herbal medicine chest and my heart!

      Starting on December 9, 2016 my apothecary, consultation space and educational services will be open! I have a limited stock of fresh Hypericum tincture and oil but once they're gone, I won't have more until next season! 

 

This is St. John (or Joan's) wort, Hypericum Perforatum. Notice it's upright stalk and tiny yellow flowers. When held up to the light you can see the that the flower's petals are perforated with tiny little holes.

This is St. John (or Joan's) wort, Hypericum Perforatum. Notice it's upright stalk and tiny yellow flowers. When held up to the light you can see the that the flower's petals are perforated with tiny little holes.

This is Hypericum Calycinum (creeping St. John's wort) which is a common ground cover in gardens in North America. It has antibacterial properties but cannot be used interchangeably with Hypericum Perforatum.

This is Hypericum Calycinum (creeping St. John's wort) which is a common ground cover in gardens in North America. It has antibacterial properties but cannot be used interchangeably with Hypericum Perforatum.

A Brief History of Kefir

Have you heard about water kefir yet? While many people have become familiar with a popular fermented beverage called "kombucha", water kefir remains a much lesser known fermented beverage. 

According to Sandor Ellix Katz, author or one of my favorite books, 'Wild Fermentation', "The kefir story is full of intrigue. The first kefir grains are said to have been a gift from Allah, delivered by his prophet Mohammed. The grains were treasured by the people who possessed them, passed down from generation to generation, and definitely not shared with strangers. Early in the twentieth century, the "All Russian Physicians' Society" became interested in obtaining the mysterious source of this healthful drink. Since the keepers of the grains did not wish to share them, this required deception and culture thievery. The scheme involved a young Russian woman named Irina Sakharova, whom the physicians hoped would be able to charm a Caucasus prince, Bek-Mirza Barchorov, into giving her some kefir grains. He refused, she tried to leave, he had her kidnapped, she was rescued, and he was charged in the Czar's courts. For reparations, the young woman was awarded the treasure she sought; the court ordered the prince to give her some of his cherished kefir grains. In 1908, she brought the first kefir grains to Moscow. Kefir became, and remains to this day, a popular drink in Russia. In 1973, at age 85, Irina Sakharova was formally recognized by the Soviet Ministry of Health for her role in bringing kefir to the Russian people".

Wow! Isn't that amazing? And now thanks to that woman I have a fridge full of both milk kefir and water kefir to keep my family healthy!

I make both kombucha and water kefir (and milk kefir), but my first choice of beverage between the two, is definitely water kefir. It actually has more probiotic strains than kombucha and takes much less time to make. It is the perfect beverage for a hot summer day! Unlike kombucha, which has about a 2% alcohol content, water kefir is alcohol free, making it a wonderful probiotic drink for children, as well as adults! My son guzzles it! 
 

Hand, Foot & Mouth Disease! What's a Mom to Do?

        My eldest son, eight years old, came down with a fever this past Sunday. Given that Pertussis is going around his school, I immediately put him to bed, started a pot of bone broth, put on some thyme infusion and garlic lemonade (recipes to follow) and started getting him to drink lots of each. His fever remained between 100.5 - 102 for 36 hours, after which he had a slightly sore throat for another day before bouncing back to his regular self (which is literally bouncing... off the walls). 

        He was back in school on Thursday, so when my 18 month old also came down with a fever on Wednesday night, I knew he caught what my eldest son had and was simply relieved that it wasn't Pertussis. He also had a mild fever between 100-102 for approximately a day and a half. During his fever, he didn't have much of an appetite and I really had to coax him to drink fluids. With any illness where fever is present, dehydration is always one of the main concerns. When his fever cleared, his appetite came back with vehemence and he was taking fluids normally.

         Imagine my surprise then, when I pulled back into my driveway this morning (Friday) after drop off. My little one had pulled off his booties and I noticed that he had a blister on his foot. I brought him inside and applied my herbal salve to his blister, changed his bum, gave him a big kiss and put him down. He grabbed a book and urged me to come read to him. When I pulled him onto my lap on the couch and saw his little fingers holding his book- I noticed a second blister on one of his fingers. Two blisters in different spots, when my child has never even had one- I knew it wasn't coincidence. 

      A quick google search for "blisters on hands and feet of baby" told me he most likely has Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. It sounds awful, right? So I pulled out my text books, herbal guides and go to resources and learned all that I could about this virus. It turns out, luckily that it isn't nearly as awful as it sounds.

       Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD for short) is caused by a class of enterovirus called Coxsackievirus. There are numerous strains of the virus, so though exposure to one strain will result in permanent immunity- it is still possible to contract another strain and develop symptoms again. This class of viruses is so common that they are second to the common cold. Like so many childhood illnesses, the initial symptoms closely mimic the common cold.

       Symptoms include fever, sore throat, a rash or blisters on the mouth, hands and feet, though it may spread up the legs or arms, or onto the genitals too. There is sometimes little white sores in the mouth, loss of appetite (likely due to sores or fever) and diarrhea. Most children do not experience all symptoms. 

     Adults rarely get HFMD but it does happen. Since this virus is most contagious before symptoms ever show up, it is important to quarantine and treat the entire family. The incubation period for HFMD is 3-7 days and is spread via direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person. This means sneezing, coughing, saliva, and feces so remember to make sure everyone is washing their hands really well! Wash your hands well after changing diapers too mums and dads! You may want to do a quick vinegar wash of door knobs, cupboard and fridge handles and frequently touched items as well. 

      Since conventional/modern medicine has little to offer children who have HFMD aside from Advil for discomfort or reduction in fever, it's important to know that there are many herbal remedies available that are antiviral, help support the immune system, and can help your child keep calm and rest. It is also important to note that fever suppression is not something to do when a fever is in a normal and safe range of 100-103. Fevers are the bodies way of literally burning off up the virus and should not be suppressed. If a fever goes higher than 104, you can try a tepid (luke warm) bath or herbal remedies- but do seek medical attention for an uncontrollable fever.

      My favorite herbal remedies with antiviral and immune boosting properties for children include lemon balm, peppermint and elderberry. These herbs are powerful, yet delicious and easy to get children to take. My eighteen month old loves lemon balm! You can make infusions (strong tea), use tinctures added to other liquid or syrups. Please don't give honey to children under the age of one due to risk of botulism and avoid giving juice to children unless is is heavily diluted as the high level of sugar is suppressing to the immune system. Contact your local herbalist (such as myself) if you are interested in having a custom anti-viral or immune boosting blend made up!

      Other helpful herbs that can and should be put into a soup or bone broth include Garlic, Onions, Astragalus, sea-weeds, Calendula, Oregano and Thyme. Make this into a delicious immune boosting soup or stew for your kids.
         Garlic "lemonade" can be made by adding 3-4 garlic cloves to a 1 litre jar and pouring boiling liquid over top. Allow this to steep and then mix in freshly squeezed lemon juice, and honey to taste. Note that this may be too acidic for children with very sore throats.

      To prevent secondary infection of the blisters, you can apply a salve made from one or a combination of the following: calendula, st. john's wort and usnea. You can also apply lemon balm tincture externally.

       If the rash is sore and irritating, oatmeal baths may be given and marshmallow or slippery elm tea can help sooth blisters and any irritation in the mouth or throat.

       Childhood illnesses are actually important strengtheners of a child's immune system. They exercise it, in a way, and I encourage everyone to look into the Anthroposophical view of childhood illness as a "soul-cleansing" experience. In other cultures, fever and childhood illnesses are through to help the child rid toxins from the body that may have accumulated in the womb. It is helpful to view illness as a positive and necessary process of becoming a strong, highly functioning, spiritual being. 

       One last note I want to leave you with is to continue to care for your child and keep them well nourished and rested in the convalescing period of the illness. My general rule of thumb is to allow for a convalescing period that is half the length of the duration of the illness. So if your child was sick for 4 days, allow 2 days of convalescing. 

      I'm officially on quarantine this week, friends while I help my child overcome this illness and support his development. Within an hour of the appearance of the first blister, several more had developed. Luckily I've got all the right remedies on hand! I hope this information can help other parent's in our area too! 

      

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My little guy having his nap... notice the little rash on his mouth. That rash appeared after his fever and I didn't link it to HFMD until this morning when I saw his foot. 

What's in YOUR Nutritional Yeast?

      According to Norm LeMoine, President of Radiant Life and Kayla Grossmann, RN there is only one brand of nutritional yeast currently on the market that is both non-gmo and non-fortified. You may be wondering why fortification is or isn't important and why I would bother writing a blog post about it.

       While nutritional yeast is a great source of many vitamins and minerals, including thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, iron, selenium, zinc and potassium. It is not, however a good source of any significant folate, nor does it contain B12 (of which the active form of is only found in animal products). Due to this, many companies decide to fortify their products with synthetic folic acid and/or vitamin B12 among others. According to LeMoine and Grossmann, if you see those nutrients on nutritional yeast labels "it is fair to assume they have been added". 

       While some companies openly admit to using synthetic nutrients (in which it is my professional opinion that only naturally derived nutrients are ideal for health) others claim to use naturally derived nutrients. The problem is that anyone can slap the word "natural" on anything because natural isn't regulated. This makes determining the quality of any naturally derived fortified nutrients really difficult to determine. 

     The other major issue when selecting a brand of nutritional yeast is whether or not it is grown on a genetically modified medium. Most nutritional yeast is cultured on sugarcane/ and or molasses. Since most of the sugarbeets grown in the United States are genetically modified or contaminated with genetically modified materials (95 % according to researchers at the Non-GMO Project) it is important to ask manufactures about their growing medium and GMO standards. There have been no non-GMO certificates granted to any producers yet, though many claim to be non-GMO. 

The following table has been excerpted from the Fall 2016 Issue of Wise Traditions, pg 43, published by the Weston Price Foundation. 

Company Name Fortified with Nutrients GMO Status
Bob's Red Mill Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Bragg Fortified with natural nutrients Non-GMO
Frontier Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
Harmony House Fortified with Natural nutrients Non-GMO
NOW Foods Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Red Star Fortified with Synthetic nutrients Not Available
Sari Only Naturally Occuring Nutrients Present Non-GMO

      Remember when shopping to take nothing at face value. Read labels and ask questions and remember that whatever you buy directly impacts your health, but also dictates which foods are in demand, how consumers what those foods produced and processed. Purchasing anything is like voting and the voice of the consumer matters. If products aren't selling, they will cease to be manufactured and if consumers demand higher quality foods and more transparency in order to purchase- companies will meet those demands in order to gain sales.

      A little bit of yeast may not appear to have a large impact on your health as far as synthetic nutrients or GMO is concerned, but when taking into consideration all the other sources of possible consumption of these things, you can see those levels start to rise and rise relative to an individual's intake. In any case it is some food for thought because at the end of the day "Nutrition Matters". 

Why Your Body Needs Carbs and the Dangers of Avoiding Them

        There was recently an article published in the Weston Price Wise Traditions Newsletter, titled "Why We Need Carbs" by Chris Masterjohn, PhD. It was great to see an article bringing attention to the importance of carbohydrates when there are so many people out there following highly restrictive diets that are severely minimizing or completely restricting carbohydrates, under the recommendations of many health advocates who mean well, but are misinformed or have been misguided. 

      While there are populations of people (such as diabetics, as an example) who absolutely need to pay close attention to their carbohydrate intake and restrict carbohydrates when necessary- the vast majority of people need not restrict or eliminate carbohydrates all together- but should instead focus on the quality of the carbohydrate (whole grain, sprouted, sourdough) while selecting a broad range of different sources of carbohydrates depending on what is locally available and in keeping with an individual's traditional background. 

       In the Wise Traditions article, Chris Masterjohn PhD reminds us that carbohydrates are integral to the body for structural purposes (for example,in DNA/RNA, in energy carriers, ATP, in extracellular matrices, and glycoproteins) for energy metabolism (especially for anaerobic glycolysis) and for antioxidant defense and nutrient recycling. 

        Many advocates of low-carb or zero-carb diets argue that we don't need glucose because our body can make it from proteins or fat via a process called gluconeogenesis. It is true that our well-designed bodies have made it almost impossible that we would ever actually suffer a deficiency of glucose- but gluconeogenesis has its downsides and forcing your body to compensate for excluding one of the key, basic dietary requirements may result in undesirable consequences to one's health.

         Chris Masterjohn PhD explains, "Gluconeogenesis in primarily stimulated by the adrenal hormone cortisol. Cortisol antagonizes thyroid hormone [they compete for receptor sites] and, when chronically elevated, impairs immunity. As we move away from burning glucose and toward greater reliance on fat, free fatty acids elevate. Cortisol augments this rise even further by causing us to release free fatty from adipose tissue. High levels of free fatty acids can impair thyroid hormone's ability to carry out its physiological functions within our cells even if blood levels of thyroid hormones remain normal". 

         It is not recommended to restrict carbohydrate intake below 100 grams per day. If someone wishes to do so Chris Masterjohn PhD recommends "a prudent approach to safety[:]... monitor stress, thyroid, and sex hormones, to ensure they all remain in optimal range." He also stresses that "physically active people...need considerably more than 100 grams [of carbohydrate per day] to prevent these hormones from going out of range.

          The most important advise anyone can receive in regards to nutrition is to listen to their body. Everyone is unique and therefor require varying levels of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Take into consideration where you come from, what your ancestors ate, as well as where you are living now and what is locally available. Those factors offer important clues for what constitutes an ideal dietary intake for someone. When it comes to choosing foods, it is always my recommendation to choose the most fresh, nutrient dense and properly prepared foods as possible. This ideally constitutes local, unsprayed vegetables and fruits, wild or organically raised, free ranged animal products and appropriate whole grains, lentils or pulses which have been soaked, sprouted or fermented prior to cooking and consuming.

         There is so much conflicting information available out there now. It is not surprising that many people are feeling frustrated when it comes to the simple question of what to eat. Remember that beginning on December 9th, 2016 I will be available to help you with all of your "Nutrition Matters". 

 

Is My Kombucha Scoby Moldy?

Whenever I'm talking to people able making fermented beverages, many are very concerned about mold or harmful bacteria. I have heard of people even going as far as sending their kombucha samples to a lab for testing before consuming! 

Generally speaking, with most fermentations, if it looks and tastes good- it's good. Food safety rules change drastically depending on where you are in the world. One cultures inedible, "rotten" or "dangerous" food, may be another's delicacy. Now with kombucha, you definitely don't want to mess around if you've got mold. 

A kombucha scoby can go moldy if your fermenting conditions are unsanitary, you have forgotten to cover it with a coffee filter or clean cloth to keep out airborn particles, or if you divide up your scoby too much and then try and get a tiny piece to ferment a very large batch of tea and sugar (which is the mistake I once made and you can see the results below!)

That is a moldy scoby! Those little brown, stringyish bits you see on your scoby are not. Those are simply yeast. If your scoby goes moldy, do not drink the kombucha or reuse any of it's babies. You'll have to obtain a new mother from someone and start over.

If your scoby looks healthy and your kombucha tastes good- sweet, sour and pleasant- than it's good. No need to pay money to send it to a lab! After all, making it yourself is supposed to SAVE you money. Cheers!

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Calendula Officinalis

Harvesting and working with Calendula simply makes me feel happy. This sunny plant in the Aster family is incredible powerful and I love how long it lasts around in my garden. The first flowers usually open in May or June depending on the heat and keep appearing all the way through November! 

The best time to Harvest Calendula blossoms for herbal medicine is in July or August during the most intense heat as this is when the plant is most resinous. The flowers are picked and infused into oil, made into tincture, or dried for use in teas or soups through-out the winter.

I use this plant for wounds, glandular problems and as an immune tonic. It is classified as a "bacteriostatic" which means it doesn't kill bacteria, but it keeps them contained to keep a wound clean. Mathew Wood says it is a specific for "cat scratch" like wounds which are red, puffy and tend towards production of pus. 

Calendula is well suited for splenic conditions of damp heat. Use this when there is stagnation of the lymphatics, especially in multiple glands. I add calendula petals to my salads in the summer and early fall and I add the infused oil to almost every one of my salve recipes.

I highly recommend planting this beautiful and useful flower into your garden. I grow both the yellow and orange varieties. It pretty much self seeds itself with very little assistance and it's medicinal uses are multiple. This is a remedy to keep in your first aid chest and have handy when "cold season" comes along. 

I hope you'll enjoy and love this plant as much as I do!
 

Herbal Support for Pertussis (whooping cough)

        There is an outbreak of Pertussis going around in my son's school here in the Cowichan Valley. It is typical for pertussis outbreaks to occur during spring or early fall every 3- 5 years, so this didn't come as a surprise. 

       Even the word "outbreak" can trigger fear and nervousness for parents. Before we get upset and let our emotions get the better of us, let's take a closer look at Pertussis and see what we can actually do to minimize it's effect on our children, reduce the duration, boost our children's immune systems and help our kids stay resilient whether they contract Pertussis or not. I've always found knowledge empowering when making decisions for my family that maintain confidence in the face of potential illness.

       Pertussis is caused by a small, gram-negative bacteria called Bordetella Pertussis. It is generally contracted via close respiratory contact rather than airborne exposure. This bacteria produces a nasty toxin which is what causes the irritation that leads to the severe coughing. The typical coughing fit of a child suffering from Pertussis makes a distinct barking whoop at the end of the cough on the inhale. This is where the nickname "whooping cough" comes from. 

        Pertussis is generally a much longer illness than the common cold. It can take between two and three months for complete recovery. It has long been referred to as "the hundred-day illness" and the Chinese called it "the cough of enlightenment". It is thought that the infection rates of Pertussis are grossly under-reported as it can so closely mimic other common colds. Several of the children in our school whom have tested positive for whooping cough did not actually develop the tell-tale whoop associated with the illness.

        It is important to understand that while this disease is rarely fatal anymore, complications can occur though most often Pertussis is generally a self-limiting disease that may cause a lot of discomfort and inconvenience but does not commonly present any damage or complications to the well-nourished, healthy population. According to MD Aviva Jill Romm, it also conveys permanent immunity. The biggest risk category for complications and fatalities are for babies, especially those under 6 months.  I find it interesting to note that, according to MD Romm, widespread vaccination has not altered the intervals of outbreaks and even more fascinating is that before vaccination the most common occurrences of Pertussis were in children between the ages of 1-4 but since the introduction of the vaccine, the epidemiology has shifted to babies under one year now having the highest incidence. 
       It is not the goal of this post to get into the debate over whether to vaccinate or not vaccinate. The fact is, whichever choice you make does not eliminate the risk of your child contracting Pertussis and it should still be every parent's mission to make sure their child is as nourished as possible to build a strong and resilient immune system in order to prevent complications from any illness.

        If your child has been exposed to Pertussis, it will usually take between 9-20 days before any symptoms are noticed and those first symptoms will seem a lot like a common cold or upper respiratory infection. In the first two weeks of the illness you may notice your child starts to cough and may even develop a fever. In the second and third week severe coughing fits are most likely to occur and this is the most severe part of the illness and when you want to be most sure to watch out for potential complications. Finally you will notice the cough fits decline and severity start to wane and recovery will begin.

         As a parent, it is important to encourage your children to get plenty of rest and not to overexert themselves. Plenty of hydration is important. Try to encourage your children to drink lots of herbal teas, broth and water. Sometimes eating and drinking trigger coughing and children can start to refuse to eat or drink. If your younger children refuse to eat or drink, they can easily become dehydrated and undernourished as coughing requires a lot of energy. Seek medical attention if necessary.

        Make sure that your child(ren) receive plenty of vitamin C, and zinc. I try and include liver in my children's diets at least a few times a week as liver is an excellent source of zinc, vitamin A and vitamin D as well as virtually every other vitamin. I make pate or incorporate it into ground meats. I also give my kids fermented cod liver oil for extra omega 3, vitamin A & D. Helpful foods and herbs to boost the immune system are lemons, garlic, ginger, rose hips, and mushrooms (the food and medicinal kinds, though Chaga, Reishi & Shiitake are my favourite). 

      Here are some herbs used for Pertussis with a brief description for some of their virtues: 

Thyme: This Herb of Venus is a "notable strengthener of the lungs" as Culpepper puts it. He also says "neither is there scare a better remedy growing for that disease in children which they commonly call the Chin-cough". It helps the body bring up phlegm and is highly antibacterial making it a specific for Pertussis. 

Chamomile: Great for babies (or older children or adults acting like babies). It is helpful when the illness presents discomfort to the point of constant complaining. It helps when a fever accompanies sweating and is helpful to calm the nervous system and promote relaxation. 

Echinacea angustifolia: Primary indication is lymphatic stagnation with inflammation and immune depression. Especially helpful when the illness has been preceded by a strenuous or stressful circumstances or period of time resulting in exhaustion and depression of immune system.

Cleavers: When there is very swollen glands (especially in the neck and ears or ear pain). Often the mental state of someone who needs cleavers is one with an irritated nervous system. Helpful for removing stagnation in the lymphatic system.

Plantain: Draws out mucus. Used as a tea for phlegmy coughs or "coughs that come from heat" says Culpepper. 

Elderberry: Has an affinity for stagnation of blood and fluids and helps decongest heat, stirs up the blood, bringing it to the surface to remove heat and toxins. Helpful for very young children (infants) especially. It helps open up the lungs and bring up mucus. 

Red Clover: This herb has a strong affinity for the glands in the neck and under the ears and is a very helpful lymphatic agent for Pertussis. It helps thin bodily fluids where there is coagulation or congestion in the blood/lymph. 

Mullein: *please note the seeds are toxic. The leaves are used to make a strong tea or tincture. It is useful of the sick person has a sore diaphragm from the force and frequency of coughing. It is useful for harsh, racking coughs with a dry, irritated membrane and irritated cough reflex where there is a lack of secretion. 

Valerian Root: There is no finer herb for stress or nervous system disorders used for acute and chronic conditions. Very helpful to calm the child, help them sleep and ease the irritated nerves involved in the cough reflex. 

Lobelia: Caution when using this plant as it's results are completely unpredictable. Dose is usually one drop. It is a chief among the diffusive remedies and acts as both a stimulant and a relaxant. It has profound uses for nervous system as it seems to travel to the nerves as fast as possible. It is very useful for spasms which are extremely intense- even life threatening if in the throat or lungs; the kind where your muscles "torque" says herbalist Mathew Wood. Use this remedy warily and only under the guidance of an experienced herbalist in combination with other helpful remedies. 

Easter Lily (Lilium longiflorum) [hard to come by] can be used for respiratory infections when there is a lot of stagnant mucus. 

Marshmallow: Soothing, helpful for sore throats or coughs and helps stimulate the immune system to clear up debris. It also helps soothe inflammation and it tastes yummy too!

Althea (marshmallow) growing in my garden. Both the leaves and the root contain mucilaginous substances that soothe irritation. 

Althea (marshmallow) growing in my garden. Both the leaves and the root contain mucilaginous substances that soothe irritation.