Dear Humorous Herbalist,My husband is planning to go hunting later this month and he’s been struggling on and off with an upper respiratory tract condition. His sister-in-law went to one of your herbal classes on the respiratory system, and she recalls you telling a story about a cough syrup preparation you made for a hunter and how much it helped him with his cough and congestion. Could you please tell me how to make the syrup for my husband? Thank you, thank you, thank you! Joanne (via e-mail)Dear Joanne,The herbal hunting story you are referring to goes back a few years. A woman contacted me and told me that her husband was set on heading up into the mountains with a hunting party even though he was suffering from a chronic cough left over from a bout of bronchitis. He wasn’t so worried about the cough as he was the fact that he knew that cough would scare off the elk and ruin the chances of anyone in the group bagging a bull. I gave her directions on how to make the herbal cough syrup, and she made up three 16-ounce bottles. Two weeks later, she called me and was ecstatic. Her husband started taking the cough syrup several nights before the trip at a dose of one tablespoon every half hour. He then decided to pack two of the bottles in his gear and apparently freely guzzled the stuff while he was gone for seven days. Not only did her husband hardly cough, he said that his respiratory pain and congestion were reduced significantly. Oh and, yes, he and other members of the hunting party bagged their quota of elk. The herbs in the syrup are designed to soothe inflammation from a chronic cough while feeding and nourishing the respiratory system to bring it back into balance. The standard dose is up to six tablespoons every hour but, frankly, you can’t overdose on the syrup. Children as young as 2 years old can safely take it.Let me restate something I have said before in this column regarding chronic coughing or respiratory congestion. Eliminate ALL dairy products while you are fighting the problem and then gradually reintroduce them into your diet if you choose. Realistically, if you have chronic respiratory infections, you should NOT be eating any dairy PERIOD since dairy creates mucus, and mucus plugs up your lungs (and other organs) preventing absorption of nutrients. For those who have my book, “Plant Power,” the herbal cough syrup formula can be found on page 193 in the chapter on mullein. Ingredients:1 heaping teaspoon each of dried mullein leaves, dried horehound leaves, dried licorice root, dried white pine bark and freshly ground anise seeds2 cups of distilled water2 cups of raw local honey1 2-inch section of fresh ginger root1 or 2 peeled cloves of fresh garlicStir the herbs into the cold, distilled water. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer the liquid until it boils down to eight ounces. This can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. When you have eight ounces, strain the herbs. Add the honey to the liquid and stir for a few minutes until completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and pour into dark glass amber bottles. (Empty beer and soft drink bottles are excellent for this purpose). Use only a cork stopper instead of a screw top since syrups have been known to explode due to possible fermentation. Add the fresh ginger (a natural preservative and flavoring agent) and fresh garlic (a natural antibiotic). Slicing the fresh garlic lengthwise before dropping it into the syrup will release the allicin within the garlic, which is thought to be responsible for the antibiotic action.Store the syrup in the refrigerator. It should keep for as long as six months. This recipe makes 24 ounces.Dear Humorous Herbalist,I’ve been taking powdered ester vitamin C with bioflavonoids to combat colds and flu, and keep my immune system healthy. I have followed the dose on the bottle which is one level teaspoon per day. When I am feeling a cold coming on, I generally increase that dose to two or three teaspoons. I’ve noticed that if I take more than one level teaspoon (even a heaping teaspoon), I get diarrhea within several hours. Is the ester-C doing any harm to my body? Should I be concerned?Mark, Glenwood SpringsDear Mark,The ester-C powder is doing no harm to you. In fact, I think ester-C powder with bioflavonoids is the best way to take vitamin C. However, our bodies do have a tolerance level to vitamin C (primarily ascorbic acid) that hovers around 10,000 milligrams per day. When your body reaches its level of saturation, it reacts by producing a loose stool. If you were to ignore this reaction and continue to take more vitamin C than your body can stand, your acidity level would rise and you would most probably experience burning diarrhea and accompanying inflammation to the anal area. Obviously, that’s not something you want to endure. My advice is to stick to the recommended dose. If you wish to increase the dose when you are feeling sick, that is fine. But once your body reaches its tolerance level to vitamin C and produces diarrhea, it’s just dumping all the excess ascorbic acid and not using it. The information in this column is not meant to take the place of your physician, nor is it intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their doctor before using herbal therapy.The information in this column is not meant to take the place of your physician, nor is it intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their doctor before using herbal therapy.
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