Local Herbs in Season to deal with Wildfire Smoke

The Fire element feels so strong around us right now. As it does every year about this time. I was sitting with a friend yesterday, who imparted to me a mutual friend of ours house had been lost in the the Redding fires. We shared our empathies for our friend and her family, talked about the fears and realities of the more forceful side of nature hitting so close to home. Understanding the necessities of nature and Her work still does not ease the pain of homes or lives lost in Her wake. Our prayers and sympathies are with the communities and families affected by these fires.

Being under this blanket of smoke for a week, has us all needy for a little respiratory cleansing and immune boosting. I want to share a quick and easy respiratory remedy for all of us awaiting the smoke to clear.

As you all know by now.....we are really stoked on local herbs! Herbs you see everyday walking through the park, on your run or hike, in your garden, or while trekking to a good creek spot with your kids. I truly believe in the high quality and effectiveness of local herbs (especially when in season!) as nutrition and medicine. We are fortunate enough to be still in the short-ish window of the herb harvest this season, when the plants are still whispering to us about their bounty and beauty!

The 2 plants I would like to share for this respiratory remedy are abound right now, and flourishing! Mullein and Elderberry! Two very common "weedy" plants that are hardy and easily found here in Chico.

The leaves of the Mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus L.) act as an expectorant, and demulcent. Meaning the the mucilaginous qualities of the leaves help to loosen mucous from lungs, throat, and sinuses; as well as relieves coughing. It is an excellent anti-inflammatory for these purposes, as well.

Elderberries (Sambucus Nigra) are a potent and effective immune builder, and has been proven to fight off even the flu virus. Elder also is rich in flavinoids and micronutrients that make it an excellent choice to keep your body in tip top shape from stress, environmental issues, or sickness.

Grab a few mullein leaves, and a cluster of elderberries next time you are on a walk. Go home and take all the berries off the stems (try and get at least 1 full cup!) and add to four cups of water in a pot. Boil them for 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, break up some mullein leaves, and put half a cup of fresh leaves in a half gallon mason jar. Squeeze a whole lemon, and shave some ginger in there, too! When the berries are done, strain the liquid off into your mason jar and let sit for 4-8 hours. I like to add honey to further help throat soothing qualities. I like to take half a cup of this infusion and another half cup of water warm or cold.

I have been taking this remedy and giving it to my children for the past few days..... it is tasty and we have had no respiratory funk in our home.

Stay on top of the smoke in other ways like using your neti pot once a day, taking your fire cider, and cutting back on any foods that cause your sinuses to flair up or create an abundance of mucous.



Nicole Carroll