Winter is here. Along with the celebrations, the holidays herald in cold and flu season.
Preventing and limiting the duration of colds and flu is a household art that has a big impact, especially when it comes to avoiding the use of antibiotics for winter sicknesses.
The Growing Issues With Antibiotics
- Antibiotics are only effective against bacterial infections, not viral infections. Even though we know that, many doctors still prescribe antibiotics for viral infections.
- 40 million pounds of antibiotics are used annually in the United States. As predicted by Alexander Fleming; the Physician that popularized penicillin, the overuse of antibiotics has led to the evolution of stronger strains of illness causing bacteria that are antibiotic resistant.
- Medical journals around the world have devoted article after article to this current crisis in antibiotic resistance. The excessive inappropriate use of antibiotics is mostly to blame for this crisis.
- Many medical experts are advocating that we stop using antibiotics for the more common infections and save them to use on occasion for life-threatening infections.
- Hospitals are now issuing statements in their membership newsletters about how taking antibiotics can increase your chance of later being infected with resistant bacteria that antibiotics cannot kill.
- Pharmaceutical antibiotics go into the body and kill not only the pathogenic bacteria that may be making you sick but it also kills the hundreds of beneficial bacteria that help you do many things such as digest and assimilate your foods. When you kill your beneficial bacteria with antibiotics you become more susceptible to future illness.
Herbal Remedies Offer A Solution
- Herbs offer us a solution. Let’s use herbs for viral and less serious problems. We can use fewer antibiotics and save them for when they are needed for more serious infections. This will support the possibility of having effective antibiotics available for life-threatening infections.
- Herbs that have antibiotic activities only kill pathogenic bacteria and do not harm your beneficial bacteria. Many herbs help with viral infections as well as with bacterial infections whereas pharmaceutical antibiotics will not help treat a viral infection that causes a cold or flu.
- One of my favorite anti-biotic herbs is Sage (Salvia officinalis). It is an herb that most people have in their herb and spice rack and it is very easy to grow.
- There are many beautiful Salvias (sages) grown for their colorful flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. These salvias are not your medicinal varieties of Salvia. When purchasing Salvia to be used for medicinal purposes make sure that it is Salvia officinalis; yes good old turkey stuffing, garden Sage. Sage has been cultivated for centuries in Europe for its medicinal, antibiotic properties.
The Gifts Of Sage
- Sage is antibacterial and antiviral. It helps rid the body of bacterial and viral infections. Sage is especially good for upper respiratory and throat infections. It is a great decongestant for a stuffy nose and head cold. Sage also has astringent properties that help with sore throats.
- You can drink two or three cups of strong tea a day for a week or do a steam inhalation. Sage tea is not for long-term use. We drink sage tea at the onset of a cold and use for one week.
- Sage steams work wonders on rhinitis, congestion and inflamed sinuses.
Sage Tea Recipe For Niggling Colds
The next time you feel a head cold coming on or you have so much snot you don’t know what to do, drink some sage tea and try a sage steam.
- 1 quart water
- 4 tablespoons dried sage
- Put water and sage into a pot with the lid on.
- Bring water and sage to a boil then turn off the heat and let sit for one hour.
- Using a fine mesh, metal strainer, strain out the sage and re-heat the tea till it comes to boil.
This recipe for Sage Tea can be used in many other ways.
- Make 3 quarts of tea and put it into your bath to help prevent colds.
- Use it as a steam inhalation. Put hot tea in a pot, cover your head with a towel and lean over the pot. Breathe in the steam of the sage tea. Only do what is comfortable for your skin and don’t burn yourself. This is a helpful remedy for coughs, colds and a runny nose.
Children can do this steam, but adult supervision is advised to avoid over exposing their delicate skin to hot tea and steam.