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    Last time,  we talked generally about respiratory infections, respiratory hygiene, and important aspects of your “sick room” for people who are ill and possibly contagious.  We discussed how to tell the difference between colds and influenza, as well.  This article will address various home remedies that will help you recover more quickly.

    Alternative Therapies for Respiratory Infections

    There are a number of alternative treatments for various respiratory infections that will help to stimulate the immune system. Consider these essential oils:

    ·         Geranium
    ·         Clove Bud
    ·         Tea Tree
    ·         Lavender 
    You would place 2-3 drops on the palm of your hand. Warm the oil by rubbing your hands together, and then bring your hands to your nose and mouth. Breathe 3-5 times slowly and deeply. Relax and breathe normally for 2 minutes, then repeat deep breaths once more. Wipe excess oil onto throat and chest. This is called direct inhalation therapy.
    Herbal Teas and Respiratory Infections
    For internal use, consider herbal teas: Popular ones for these conditions are Elderberry, Echinacea, Licorice root, Goldenseal, Chamomile, Peppermint, and Ginseng.  Antibacterial action has been found in Garlic and Onion oil, fresh Cinnamon, and powdered Cayenne Pepper. Other options include raw unprocessed honey, lemon, and apple cider vinegar.
    Other than general treatments, there are several good remedies to treat specific symptoms associated with colds and flu. To treat fever, for example, consider teas made from the following herbs:
    ·         Echinacea
    ·         Licorice Root
    ·         Yarrow
    ·         Fennel
    ·         Catnip
    ·         Lemon Balm
    Other strategies to combat fever include sponge baths with water and vinegar. It has also been reported that slices of raw onion on the bottom of the feet are effective in some cases (wear socks to hold them in place).  I haven’t tested this last method myself, so I can’t tell you if it is effective. Even if it works, It’s probably not very practical.
    Others have used herbal “spritzers”. Combine several drops of any of these essential oils: Chamomile, Lavender or Thyme with water and spray on the chest, back, arms, and legs. Avoid spraying the face. The cooling effect alone will be beneficial in those with fevers.
    To deal with the congestion that goes along with most respiratory infections, consider using direct inhalation therapy (described above) with these essential oils:
    ·         Eucalyptus
    ·         Rosemary
    ·         Peppermint
    ·         Tea Tree
    ·         Pine
    ·         Thyme 
    Another inhalation method of delivering herbal or even traditional medication involves the use of steam. Steam inhalation is beneficial and easy to implement.  Just place a few drops of essential oil into steaming water and lower your face to inhale the vapors.  Cover the back of your head with a towel to concentrate the steam.
    Teas that relieve congestion include:  Stinging Nettles, Licorice Root, Peppermint, Anise, Cayenne Pepper, Sage and Dandelion. Mix with honey and drink 3-4 times per day as needed.  Plain saline solution (nasal spray or in a neti pot)  is also used by both traditional and alternative healers.
    For aches and pains due to colds, try using salves consisting of essential oils of:  
    ·         St. John’s Wort
    ·         Eucalyptus
    ·         Camphor
    ·         Lavender
    ·         Peppermint
    ·         Rosemary
    ·         Arnica (dilute)
    Helpful teas include:  Passionflower, Chamomile, Valerian Root, Willow bark, Ginger, Feverfew, and Rosemary. Drink warm with raw honey 3-4 times a day.
    For the occasional sore throat, time-honored remedies include honey and garlic “syrups” and ginger, Tilden flower, or sage teas.  Drink warm with honey and perhaps lemon several times a day.  Gargling with warm salt water will also bring relief.  Licorice root and honey lozenges are also popular.Make every effort to learn what plants in your garden can be used to treat medical issues.  Better than that, make sure you grow some of the above herbs next season.  If you depend only on conventional medicines, you’re not using all the tools at your disposal to treat illness. 
    Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy

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    Asthma, Part 1
    Respiratory Infections, Part 1