Oh November. A time of diminishing sunlight, falling leaves,
and increasing susceptibility to the common cold and flu. As we move into late
autumn, it’s a good time to think about ways to support your immune system. I always start by reflecting on my diet, and
shifting towards cooking and eating more nutritious soups and stews. In
addition, I’m naturally drawn to more meditation and mindful movement practices
this time of year. And finally, the end of autumn is a great time to
incorporate some herbal medicine supplements.
Today, I will introduce three common herbs that are excellent supports for winter health.They are fairly easy to find at places like health food stores or co-ops, and all of them are also available in tincture form on our website. They are low in possible side effects, and all generally pleasant tasting as well.
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)
Elderberry is a well loved folk remedy in many parts of the
world. The trees were considered sacred in Europe, and numerous customs were
developed around them, including a belief in Serbia that including Elder twigs
in a wedding would bring the new couple good luck. Elderberries contain amino
acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, vitamin A and B, as well as a large amount of
vitamin C. High in antioxident activity, they support the immune system, and
also are anti-inflammatory.
Nettle (Urtica Dioica)
Many know nettle that common weed that stings if you touch
it. Because of this, it's not exactly the most beloved plant in the world.
However, Nettle is a powerhouse, and deserves more love than most of us give
it. In addition to its many healthful qualities, Nettle is also loaded with
nutritional benefits. It’s high in calcium, manganese, Vitamin K, and Vitamin
A. Nettle also has significant levels of protein for a leafy plant. Some common
uses include as a mouth wash, tonic support for the bladder, urinary tract, and
endocrine system, and also for easing pain, congestion, and inflammations.
Pine Needle (Pinus)
The great Pine tree, standing tall and majestic.
Not technically an “herb,” but still this tree is full of healing qualities. The needles in particular are rich in
Vitamins, especially Vitamins A and C. They are commonly used for colds,
coughs, immune system support, and easing congestion. More generally, Pine
Needles are also anti-inflammatory and supportive of the heart and eyes. If you
live in an area where pines are common, you can pick your own needles and make
a fresh tea out of them. Many Spruce tree needles have similar qualities, and
can be used interchangeably.
I hope this brief introduction inspires you to do more research, and to, if you haven’t already, consider incorporating herbs into your overall plan for health and well being.