Monday, March 5, 2012

Health Journal - Persistent Cough

When Mike and I were first married, Mike used to go through seasons where he would struggle with a dry, nagging cough.  At times he would cough so much he would cough up blood.  Eventually Mike figured out that the chocolate shakes from McDonald's would make him cough.  Actually, most pasteurized dairy would do this to him.  Back in those days- not knowing any better- we switched to soy milk and then to rice milk.  Thankfully it wasn't long before we found a good source for raw goats milk.

Recently Mike had another bout with a nagging cough.  I am not sure what brought it on, and he had no other symptoms.  After listening to him cough for about a week, I decided to get involved. :)  I put him on Vitamin C.  Unfortunately it's kinda hard to keep track of him (he is so busy!), so he wasn't taking it as often as I would have liked.  Nevertheless I persisted.  Then I started giving him a thyme tincture that I made last summer.  After several days of this with little progress, I switched to my Elder flower tincture, hoping to boost his immune system.  The cough persisted for another week.  Frustrated, I went back to my books.

Finally I found a remedy that worked - Wild Cherry Bark!  This native American tree was made known to the colonist by the Indian healers.  In the early days of our country is was one of the most popular and widely used medicinal herbs.  Now you know why most cough syrups come in a cherry flavor. :)  (now artificial flavored of course!)
Wild Cherry Bark

Wild Cherry Bark infusion
I  made this remedy once years ago for one of the kids and had forgotten about it (we don't deal with coughs very often).  After two doses, Mike said, "Honey, I think your potion is working!" :)  After twenty-four hours his cough had toned down and was less frequent.  This simple remedy is nothing more than a Wild Cherry Bark infusion (tea).  All you do is boil two cups of water.  Then pour 1 ounce (about 1/3 of a cup) of Cherry Bark into the water.  Cover and let sit for 3-4 hours.  After that, you strain out the bark and drink 2-3 ounces, 3-4 times a day.  Now, I have to tell you that since I was feeling desperate, I let the infusion sit overnight.  This made it really strong.  The taste is fairly palatable, with a mild cherry aftertaste, but you can sweeten it with honey if you like.  This infusion will help with  asthma, bronchitis, colds, and the flu.

Practical Herbalism: Ordinary Plants With Extraordinary Powers[Paperback]I buy most of the herbs that I don't grow myself from Mountain Rose Herbs.  They have very high quality herbs and great customer service.   You can get a 1 lb. bag of Wild Cherry Bark for $8.00, and it will last you for a long time.  If you want to work towards taking care of yourself and your family without prescription medications, I would recommend you keep this on hand.  Here's the link to Wild Cherry Bark
The recipe comes from one of my favorite herb books, Practical Herbalism by Philip Fritchey.  This is another great investment!  If you want to learn how to make your own herbal remedies, this book will teach you how.

One more thought about coughs...I was able to keep Mike's cough under control at night by combining shea butter (You could use any carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil.) and Eucalyptus essential oil. I rubbed this on his feet and chest. This works great for a cough that is preventing sleep! The feet have the largest pores in the body, so that is why you want to make sure you put the oil on the feet.

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