The changing season brings with it a host of challenges especially, for the lungs and respiratory system.
You may have noticed as the weather dips down, more people begin complaining of flu, colds, cough and runny nose. This is normal.
When season’s change, atmospheric pressure and wind shifts, and our bodies have to make adjustments to those environmental modifications.
Moving from warmer weather into cooler weather (summer to fall, and fall to winter), the body begins slightly contracting. As the body goes through this natural process, it becomes momentarily de-stabilized, and this can create the perfect environment for viruses to enter into the system.
Like most folks, you may not be prepared for the onslaught of common bugs that can enter your body through the respiratory system at this time of year… but if you have some herbal culinary savvy, you need not worry.
Right now, in your kitchen, you probably already have easy remedies that can keep the bugs at bay and help you retain good respiratory health through seasonal shifts.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Garlic Toast – at the first sign of a tickle in your nose or throat, crush a fresh clove of garlic and mince it finely. Mix the garlic with honey and smear it on top of toasted sourdough bread and eat it. For those of you that do NOT eat gluten, smear it onto an apple, or just put it onto a spoon and directly into your mouth. If you opt to put it directly into your mouth without a buffer (bread or apple), be prepared – it is STRONG! Garlic (Allium sativum) is both antimicrobial and antiviral, and at the onset of respiratory invaders, can work like magic!
Oregano Gargle – if the tickle moves into your throat, mince 5-6 tablespoons of fresh oregano (or 2 tsp. dried oregano) and put into a bowl. Pour 6-8 ounces boiling water on top of leaves and steep, covered, 15-20 minutes. Strain out the leaves and gargle with the warm oregano water. Make sure the water is not too hot. I don’t want you to burn your throat. Oregano (Origanum vulgare) contains thymol and carvacrol, that have powerful antiseptic and antibiotic properties.
Thyme Tea with Lemon and Honey – If you don’t catch the bugs at the onset (in the nose or in the throat), and your immune system has been slow to respond, they are going to move into your chest. Here’s where you will develop a tickle in the chest and a cough. Pull 5-6 tbsp. of fresh thyme leaves off the stem and pack into a “tea ball”. Put the tea ball into a mug and cover with boiling water. Steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Add 1 tsp. honey and 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice. Drink 3-4x per day. If you don’t have fresh thyme, you can use 2 tsp. dried thyme. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) contains volatile oils that are strongly antiseptic and promote expectoration. It is an excellent remedy for respiratory infections and coughs.
There’s a lot you can do to support your respiratory system, when you know what to do and how to do it. Now get into the kitchen and cook up some healing recipes!
 21st Century Herbal, Michael J. Balick PhD, Rodale 2014, pg. 219
 Medical Herbalism, David Hoffmann, Healing Arts Press, 2003, pg. 589