The summer cold is here :(

This week I have run into so many people who are sniffling, coughing, froggy and just plain miserable with the summer cold. The good news is that relief is as close as your back yard and spice rack.

The hands-down best remedy for the common summer cold is …..drum roll please… creeping charlie. Yes, the bain of every homeowner’s existence will actually cure the common cold. Pick a few pieces, chop it up, cover with boiling water and voila…relief. Of course, you may want to strain it and wait until it is cool enough to drink.

For sore throats, the cooking herbs of thyme and sage can’t be beat. These herbs can be used fresh (see instructions for creeping charlie) or dried from your pantry. If using dried herbs, the typical ratio is 1 tsp dried herb to 8 0z of boiling water. Steep at least 10 minutes, strain and drink.

Its that simple!

If you can’t find Creeping Charlie growing in your yard, Izzy’s Herb Store has it in tincture form (called Ground Ivy).

An herbal alternative to tonsillectomy

In April, my daughter was diagnosed with sleep apnea.  Per the doctor, her tonsils were “enormous”  – a size 4 on a scale of 0 to 4. He recommended immediate surgery and referred us to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. Lucky for us, the ENT was booked for more than a month which gave me time to get a treatment plan in place.

Using herbs and cupping, I have successfully treated clients with enlarged tonsils and other glandular problems of the throat and enabled them to avoid surgery. So naturally, I turned to these modalities to heal my daughter.

My herb of choice for these conditions is Figwort, also known as Scrophularia. Species of Figwort grow in North America, Europe and Asia. It is a potent herb and should be used in very small doses – 1 or 2  drops  a day- even if commercial bottles say to give more.  My daughter took 2 drops per day and in a month’s time, her tonsils shrank from a size 4 to a 0.  The ENT was surprised that we were even sent for a consult and no surgery was needed.  That is the power of herbs!

Izzy’s Herb Store offers organically-grown, gluten-free herbal tinctures, including figwort.

For more information on the risks of surgery for sleep apnea, check out my recent post, “Can an adenoidectomy lead to speech problems?

Can an adenoidectomy lead to speech problems?

Recently, my daughter was found to have mild sleep apnea and we were referred to an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist for a surgery consultation. I was very apprehensive about this visit, because I am strongly against removing body parts – particularly important ones! But still, I went to the appointment with an (somewhat) open mind.

The tonsils and adenoids, which are typically removed in cases of pediatric sleep apnea, are composed of lymph tissue and are part of your immune system. They serve as the first line of defense versus airborne illnesses and pathogens that enter through the mouth. Removing them just doesn’t make sense to me.

Upon examination, we learned that while my daughter’s tonsils had decreased in size from a 4 to a 0 (more on that soon!), her adenoids were enlarged and causing a partial blockage. I thought the recommendation would surely be to operate. Thank goodness, I was wrong.

We learned during our visit, that removing the adenoids can cause hyper nasal speech (or velopharyngeal incompetence). Hyper nasal speech occurs when too much air goes through the nose while talking. In other words, it can sound like a child is talking through their nose.

My daughter, non-verbal until about 5 years ago, still has apraxia of speech which makes communication a challenge. Her doctor was concerned that an adenoidectomy would cause further speech problems and make it even more difficult to communicate. Therefore she did not recommend surgery. We were very relieved! We are now concentrating my daughter’s herbal treatments on reducing the inflammation in her adenoids so that she can breathe easier on her own…naturally.

For more about keeping the lymph system healthy, check out our recent entry “The importance of exercise.”

Coming next…an herbal alternative to tonsillectomy.