The Herbal Prepper: Respiratory Relief Tea

Who’s up for a healing, herbal tea when you start feeling a bit Ill? Certainly me, for one. Cat Ellis, The Herbal Prepper, has a nice, lengthy post on making an herbal tea for the remedy of cold/flu/respiratory issues – Respiratory Relief Tea.

This tea is one of my favorite cold and flu season remedies. I make it every year, tweaking it a little bit each time. I make this in large batches in September in anticipation for cold and flu season.

Around the house, I nicknamed it, “herbal tussin tea”. I wrote one version of my tea blend here. In my book, Prepper’s Natural Medicine, I list is as “Respiratory Infection Tea”. Since it addresses common, respiratory symptoms, and not any specific infection, I’ve renamed it, “Respiratory Relief Tea”.

I have also updated this recipe to allow for more effective tea-making techniques. It blends cold infusion, hot infusion, and decoction preparations.

Want the Lazy Version?

If you want an easier method with fewer steps, check out my easier version here. It’s less of a potent remedy, but it has fewer steps and is still effective.

Relief for Common Respiratory Complaints

The herbs in this tea are a blend of expectorant, decongestant, diaphoretic, analgesic, immunostimulant and demulcent herbs. This will support your body as it heals from a respiratory infection by:

  • Making coughing more productive and easier.
  • Supporting natural immune response.
  • Soothing irritated mucosal tissues.

Methods Used

This preparation is a bit more involved than my previously published respiratory tea recipes. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really not that hard.

This tea utilizes three different water extraction methods:

  1. Cold Infusion
  2. Decoction
  3. Hot Infusion

Cold infusions are made by steeping herbs in room temperature water for 4 to 8 hours. I tend to make them in mason jars, filling the jar 1/4 of the way. Then I fill the with water and secure the lid.

I use tend to use wide mouth jars for ease of filling and emptying the jars. I also use left-over lids from canning, or these reusable, plastic lids.

Decoctions are made by simmering hard plant material, such as roots and bark. To 4 cups of water, add between 1/2 and 1 cup of herbs, depending upon your needs and how concentrated you want your end product. Add the herbs to a pot of cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes, and the water will have reduced by half. Strain, and the resulting liquid is your decoction.

Hot infusions are made by steeping delicate plant parts, such as leaves and flowers, in hot water. I use anywhere from 1 tablespoon up to 4 tablespoons per 1 cup (8oz) of water, depending upon how strong I want the end result.

Measurements

I have listed the ingredients by volume, not by weight. For example, I measure by cup, not by ounces. So, 1 cup equals 1 part.

If you want a smaller batch, use a 1/2 cup or a even 1/4 cup to represent your measurement of “1 part”, and maintain the ratios throughout.

Weighing everything would be more precise, but I haven’t found weighing everything out to exact amounts to matter much with this tea.

How to Make Respiratory Relief Tea

Follow the instructions below on how to make the Cold Infusion Phase, the Decoction Phase, and the Hot Infusion Phase.

Here are the steps to combine the phases:

  1. Make the cold infusion phase first.
  2. Use the resulting liquid as the water for your decoction.
  3. Strain out the herbs and reserve the liquid.
  4. Reheat the decoction (the liquid) if needed to just before boiling.
  5. Add the herbs for the hot infusion, turn off the heat, and cover.
  6. Allow herbs to steep covered for at least 15 minutes.

This takes a bit of time from beginning to end. I suggest making it in larger batches, once a day, and reheat just before consuming.

Honey is a perfect addition to this tea, as it helps to both sweeten the tea and to relax coughing. If you are diabetic and cannot have honey, you can sweeten your tea with something like this monkfruit-based syrup.

Respiratory Relief Tea- Cold Infusion Phase

Ingredients

  • 3 parts slippery elm
  • 1 part marshmallow root
  • 4 parts room temperature water

Directions

  • Combine slippery elm bark and marshmallow root
  • Cover with the water, and allow to steep at room temperature between 4-8 hours.
  • Strain, reserve liquid and discard the plant material.
  • Store cold infusion in refrigerator for up to 2 days if needed.
  • Use this as the water for the decoction phase

There are concerns with slippery elm, as it is an endangered wild plant. If you can, buy organic. That should ensure that it came from a managed population, not from a wild population that might have been overharvested. Otherwise, feel free to substitute Siberian elm instead, or just use 100% marshmallow root.

A quart mason jar will allow for 1 cup of plant material and 4 cups of water. This is the correct ration of plant material to water, and the jars have easy-to-read measurements on the side of each jar.

Use cut and sifted instead of powdered forms. Powdered slippery elm and marshmallow will be much more difficult to strain out. It’s a mess. Ask me how I know…(continues)

Click here to read the entire article in full glory at The Herbal Prepper.

Related:

Wholefully: 5 Cold-Busting Herbal Tea Blends

Learning Herbs: Hyssop Oxymel: A Cold, Flu and Bronchitis Home Remedy

Organic Prepper: Why COVID-19 Could Be the Pandemic that Changes Everything

Cat Ellis, the herbal prepper and author of The Wuhan Coronavirus Survival Manual, has written an article about the coronavirus for The Organic Prepper. There is still a lot that we don’t know about the coronavirus, but we do know that it is highly contagious. There is still some question about the fatality rate, but estimates are still above 2% which is many times the rate for influenza but about the same as for the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.

…What was not known from the beginning was the rate of transmission and what percentage of people who become infected will become seriously or critically ill.

Worldometers breaks down the number of total active cases into mild and serious/critical categories. As of February 24, 2020, about 82% have a mild illness, and about 18% have a serious/critical illness requiring hospitalization. This is up from a rate of approximately 13% serious/critical cases just a few weeks ago.

Could this mean that the virus is mutating to become more dangerous? Possibly. But it could also just mean that as more data is collected, this additional data gives us a clearer picture of the real case fatality rate. Remember that the data we’ve received from China all along has been questionable. As the virus spreads to countries with more transparency, what we thought we knew is bound to change.

The same source cites the rate of transmission at between 2 to 3, meaning if there were a room with 10 people, and a person infected with this virus entered the room, you could reasonably expect 2 to 3 people to also become infected. For perspective, that is also 2 to 3 times as contagious as the flu.

The Worldometers coronavirus tracker, which is in line with several other coronavirus trackers from Johns Hopkins, BNO News, and Visa List, also lists the results of closed cases, i.e. cases with an actual outcome. Of the known outcomes, 91% recovered and 9% were fatal. What this means is that out of all the confirmed COVID-19 cases, about 18% will lead to serious or critical illness requiring hospital-level care and that 9% of that subset will die.

What about that 2% mortality rate? Part of the problem with calculating a case fatality rate is that you can’t actually know the true mortality rate (case fatality rate) until the outbreak is completely over. Until then, there are still cases without an outcome. In COVID-19, there are thousands more cases without outcomes yet.

The case fatality rate of 9% comes from taking the total cases of fatalities (2,701) and dividing it by the total number of cases with outcomes (30,334), then multiplying by 100 to get a case fatality rate of almost 9%…

If this virus continues to spread, it would be reasonable to expect massive disruptions to modern life, manufacturing, shipping, and shortages of all kinds. The number of fatalities from other illnesses, accidents, and lack of services would be in addition to the fatalities from the coronavirus itself. If you are preparing for this, remember that you aren’t just preparing for a cushy 2-week staycation. You’re preparing for something that affects many other facets of your life.

The entire system will be at risk in the event of a massive outbreak and shortages of all sorts could soon follow…

While containment still remains the mainstay of WHO and CDC policy, if we pay attention to what our government, military, and world health agencies are telling us, they are preparing for a full-on coronavirus pandemic.

We have authorities in infectious disease telling us to have food and plans in place in the event you suddenly find yourself under travel restrictions or in a full-blown, lock-down quarantine. I’m not sure what else there is to say except this is not a drill.

I hope that containment will still save the day. Perhaps we will do better in the United States than some others will, and not see COVID-19 spread any further, unlike Italy with large clusters forming seemingly overnight, leading to school and work closings in multiple cities.

While I always hope for the best, I also always plan for the worst. You won’t get much time to prepare if things begin spreading rapidly where you are. You’d be wise to do so ahead of time.

Click here to read the entire article at The Organic Prepper.

Organic Prepper: Fire Cider – How to Make a Remedy for the Flu

Herbalist and author Cat Ellis writes this post about Fire Cider, a flu remedy, for The Organic Prepper. Cat Ellis also has her own web site Herbal Prepper.

Fire Cider: How to Make a Fast, Effective Remedy for the Flu

One of my favorite remedies for cold and flu season is fire cider. It’s loaded with anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting, and decongestant herbs. Best of all, it’s super simple to make. Even though the combination sounds bizarre, it’s actually tasty in a sweet and sour kind of way.

Fire cider can be made entirely with items from the grocery store, or customized with more exotic herbs from an herb shop. I even have an “instant” version to share with you…

When we have the flu, we feel congested, achy, feverish, and have a bad cough. The traditional recipe for fire cider is loaded with simple, familiar, yet potent, ingredients which address each of those complaints.

Garlic

Garlic is well-known for its immune-supporting effects. It also acts as an expectorant and an anti-inflammatory, which helps those painful coughs and body aches. It is also known as a diaphoretic, which means it causes the body to sweat. This helps to reduce fevers naturally. Thankfully, fresh garlic is a common ingredient in most grocery stores.

Onion

Onion and garlic are both alliums, and therefore are related plants. They also share some similarities in properties. The unassuming onion is a potent expectorant and eases coughs. Onion is often used in cough syrups for this reason. Onions are so accessible in every store, please do use fresh onion.

Ginger

Warming ginger root also helps to induce sweating and fever reduction. Ginger also acts as an antispasmodic, which helps to ease those terrible coughing fits. It is highly recommended to use fresh ginger root (technically, it’s a rhizome, but no one ever bothers to call it that).

Horseradish

Horseradish is excellent for relieving congestion. It is also an effective diaphoretic (sweat-inducing/fever-reducing) herb. On top of that, horseradish is also an expectorant. What could be better for the flu? Sometimes, horseradish can be hard to find at the grocery store. It is in the mustard family, so go ahead and substitute some crushed mustard seed or mustard powder if you need to.

Cayenne

Cayenne is hot, but it is also a superior anti-inflammatory. I use it every time I’m congested to relieve the inflammation in my sinuses which make the sensation of congestion worse. This hot pepper can also get a congested nose running again, making blowing your nose a lot more productive. You can use any kind of hot pepper you wish. You can use fresh hot peppers, cayenne powder, or red pepper flakes.

Turmeric

Is there anyone left who doesn’t know that turmeric is anti-inflammatory? Because of this, turmeric is a huge help for reducing that achy feeling we get with the flu. There’s only one grocery store near me that sells it fresh. If you can find it fresh, great. If not, use the powdered herb.

Apple cider vinegar

Of all natural health products, apple cider vinegar has probably more health claims to it than any other. I’m dubious about most of these claims. However, it is a good menstruum (solvent) to extract the benefits out of the other ingredients. It also does seem to help ease coughing and congestion. I stick with the raw apple cider vinegar, and thankfully, this is also a common grocery store item.

Lemon

There is just something so wonderful about lemon. It lends both its bright flavor and its powerful decongestant properties to this recipe. You can use fresh lemon slices or add lemon juice at the end. Also, play with adding lime and other citrus fruits for fun.

Honey

Honey is effective at calming coughs. Our kids’ pediatrician was thrilled when we told her we keep bees, as cough suppressants had been found ineffective for children, while honey had been shown effective as a cough suppressant. Honey lends the sweet flavor to this hot, sweet, and sour remedy. Honey is added at the end…

I know, I know, a lot of people are thinking, “It takes two weeks or longer to make, but I”m sick now!” That’s ok, I’ve got you covered with an instant version. Check out the video below to see how this herbal wizardry comes together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soYIDALYoeQ

Click here to read the entire article. If you don’t want to, or can’t, watch the videos, the article has the text instructions for making the two-week fire cider.

Related:

The Medic Shack: The Late but Useful Obligatory Cold and Flu Post