Podcast 067: Two Herbalists Get The Flu
Yes, it’s true: even herbalists get the flu. Two in one house sometimes, even! Each of us gets it a little bit differently, as our constitutions are balanced differently. But at least we can take care of each other.
Listen in and learn all our tricks for getting through Actual Flu with a little more ease and comfort, the surprising role of marshmallow, and why a bath might be the most important thing you do all week!
Herbs discussed include ginger, calendula, self-heal, heather, elderberry, purple loosestrife, goldenrod, sumac, ground ivy, mullein, catnip, nettle, blue vervain, thyme, garlic, elecampane, angelica, osha, codonopsis, pleurisy root, marshmallow, Irish moss, monarda, tulsi, rose, & orange.
How many of those herbs are you familiar with? Well, almost every one has a detailed profile in our Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. Get to know the herbs on their own terms, as complex and unique as they are: what their qualities and actions are, how to make them into effective remedies, everything you need to know to work with them safely and effectively. This course has 89 herbs so far, and when you buy it, you get lifetime access. When we add more herbal content in the future, it’s automatically added to your course, forever. You can try it out for 14 days, with our zero-risk return policy!
Katja: 00:11 Hi, I’m Katja.
Ryn: 00:13 And I’m Ryn.
Katja: 00:13 And we’re at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts.
Ryn: 00:16 and on the Internet everywhere. Thanks to the power of the podcast. Even when we are sick.
Katja: 00:20 Even when we’re sick! Yeah,
Ryn: 00:24 A little bit late. But here we are.
Katja: 00:26 Here we are. Yes you guys. We have survived. We are on the mend and we are finally recording the podcast. But before that we need to tell you that we are not doctors. We are herbalists and holistic health educators.
Ryn: 00:42 The ideas discussed in our podcast do not constitute medical advice, no state or Federal Authority licenses herbalists in the U.S. so these discussions are for educational purposes only. Everyone’s body is different. So the things we talk about might or might not apply directly to you, but it will give you some information to think about and to research further.
Katja: 01:01 We want to remind you that your good health is your own personal responsibility. The final decision in considering any course of therapy, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by your physician, is always yours.
Katja: 01:11 Well, so, appropriately we’re going to talk about how to be sick, since we just did that, today on the pod. Before we start that, I just have a couple of shout outs here. The shout- outs are a little old because we’re late recording the pod. But here you guys go. First to Michelle Sutherland who just subscribed to the pod.
Ryn: 01:45 To Rosenlalise who wrote asking about The Wee Free Men, which is a lovely young adult series that we ask all our students to read because it really embodies the spirit of what it is to be an herbalist and just has a lot to teach about being in service. Yeah, it’s a really great book. It’s really great series of books. It’s from Terry Pratchett. It’s the Tiffany Aching Adventures, I think they’re called.
Katja: 02:09 Yeah. Yeah. And every couple of years Ryn reads it out loud to me. And so you could do that with someone that you love too. Yeah, I recommend it.
Ryn: 02:19 It’s pretty fun.
Katja: 02:20 Yeah. All right. And then also to Dana Bailey, Earth Medicine and also to, Once Upon A Plant who both wrote to say that they liked the Guru episode. And I’m really excited about that. Or the “Not A Guru” episode.
Ryn: 02:35 How To Not Be A Guru
Katja: 02:36 Yeah, exactly.
Ryn: 02:40 Right. And, Let’s see who else. Oh yeah. Mrs Localvore who loves learning new things when she listens to the pod. Hey good.
Katja: 02:49 Also Somia from the UK who says that enthusiasm for plants is contagious and that’s the best kind of contagious as opposed to the flu, which is not the best kind of contagious, actually,
Ryn: 03:02 No indeed
Katja: 03:02 No, you know, also, Corrine says that she listens to the pod doing dishes and while working, and Amy has said that she listens with her worms, and also with her daughter and Jennifer listens in the pottery studio. We were wondering where you listen? So show us on Instagram, post a picture of you and the pod and use the tag: hashtag holistic herbalism podcast. We will see it and we will feel really excited.
Ryn: 03:37 And, we’ll wave at you through the Internet.
Katja: 03:40 We will wave at you through the Internet and really, you know, the pod and the way that we work with social media and, and really everything, our youtube, everything that we put out there, we’re trying really hard to build a very positive community of people who are connected by plants.
Katja: 03:59 So, join us in building that and show yourselves! It’d be fun. Yeah.
Ryn: 04:07 Nice. Okay. Let’s see. Oh, right. And we would like to lead with a student question.
Katja: 04:15 Oh yes,
Ryn: 04:17 Shall we lead with our student question?
Self Care & Not Acting Out of Fear
Katja: 04:17 We should. This is a really beautiful question that I think is just super relevant to, well to everyone I think. But it definitely was something that resonated for me, really strongly. This one came in from Amanda and she said, I have a question sort of, or more like I’m looking for some advice. I’ve noticed that I have a strong habit of acting out of fear when it comes to my self care and my health. On one hand I am paying closer attention to my body and what it needs. But at times I feel overwhelmed by all of the improvements that I quote “should” be putting energy towards and I start to feel a little obsessive.
Katja: 05:04 and she goes on to talk about that she is looking for that line between what is a healthy amount of concern and what is not a healthy amount of concern. And also acknowledging her, you know, perfectionist qualities, which I think really run rampant in our current culture and saying that she holds herself to too high standards, which I think is also very, very common. She also feels really optimistic and really energized to be learning more about how to take care of herself with herbs and, and a holistic approach. And so she’s really looking for, advice on how to approach self care really positively and with a nurturing attitude and feeling of gratitude towards your body and not sort of getting a little bit panicked about all-of-the-things. And I really loved this question. It’s such a common challenge and I have a lot of thoughts about it.
Katja: 06:08 So the first is that I wrote a blog article, a while back called “not everything is going to be perfect” and we will link to that in this, in the show notes. And you can also just search on “perfect” on our website you would find it that way too. But we’ll link in the show notes, where I was talking about this kind of thing. So I encourage you to read that. But I also had some other more direct suggestions and lately the idea of a coupon or a discount or a sale has been really working very well for me. So let me see if it works for you. Let’s say that you are today, you go shopping and you see that the thing that you want is on a 20% off sale. That feels like a really good sale, right?
Katja: 07:06 I mean, that’s, that’s going to be actual dollars off, not just cents off. And you’re like, Whoa, 20% off. I feel really excited. And so if today you are doing 20% more for your health than you did last month, I think that also should feel really exciting. I don’t think that you need to have a 100% off sale to be excited for the sale. And so I also think that you don’t need your health efforts to be 100% to be allowed to feel good and proud and excited about what you’re doing for your body. So that’s the first thing. And whenever I put it that way, I’m like, oh right, because 20% more if it’s a package of, you know, whatever, Cocoa Puffs, I dunno, that, that feels pretty exciting. They’ll even put it in big bold letters if it’s just 10% more, frankly. And that means they’ve done the work and paid the psychologists and found out that people are happy even with 10% more.
Katja: 08:14 And so if you’re happy with 10% off more cocoa puffs, then definitely be happy with 10% more tea, be happy with 10% more movement. Be happy with, you know, whatever effort at even 10% that you’re putting in that is better than last month. That is fantastic. But also really recognize that some days are harder than others. So maybe you tell yourself, you want to know what every day I will do at least one thing to be good to myself. That might be enough. It might be that there’s kids running around and there’s a trip coming up and there’s a project at work. And the best you could do today was make sure that you ate some vegetables. Well good because a lot of times in my life I’ve had that day and I can remember not eating any vegetables at all on that day. It’s pretty easy to go through a day in this culture and not even eat a vegetable.
Katja: 09:13 So if you’re having a crazy day that is all full and upside down and topsy turvy and you’re really stressed and you at least remember to get a vegetable into yourself, good job, you absolutely win. This is also something that, really comes forth in our four pillars approach that we talk about in the free video course, The Four Keys to Holistic Health, which you can sign up for right at the tippy top of our webpage.
Ryn: 09:45 You can’t miss it.
Katja: 09:46 You can visit. Yeah. It’s www.commonwealthherbs.com Just go right over there. You can do it right now and sign right up. In the second video of that free course, we’re talking about the four pillars and they are food, sleep movement and stress management. And one of the really awesome benefits of working in this four direction model is that on any given day, maybe you can’t do something for each one of those items, but maybe you can do something for one of them.
Katja: 10:28 On a good day, maybe you can say, okay, I’ll do one thing in each category for myself. Did I move today? Yes. Did I get some decent sleep today? Yes. Did I eat some good food? Okay, I ate a vegetable, I ate a protein. Did I do something to help myself manage my stress better? Okay, but even on a bad day, just pick one category , whichever one is the easiest and do something there and that’s really, really good. But the bottom line is that you have to remember that some days are really hard and there is not any particular virtue in Kale and there’s not any particular sinfulness in brownies. If a brownie is the tool that you got through your day with and a brownie is the way that you supported yourself while you were doing a lot of emotional work, then that’s what you did and that’s okay.
Katja: 11:28 In fact, thank you for supporting yourself while you were doing that difficult emotional work. And if another day you use the tool of Kale to get you through the work that you have to do that day, that’s really excellent. A lot of days, especially if I’m doing a lot of work at my computer, I “buy” that work by sitting still for a long time instead of going for a walk. And I sort of look at that as like the purchase price, obviously, it’s not ideal. Yes. Every single day I should go for a nice big long walk. In fact, I would like everyday to walk for six miles. That would be ideal. And Elsie would be happy if I did that too. I don’t want to discount that! Yes, Do every single thing do them all if it makes you feel good.
Katja: 12:20 But the thing that I want to be really clear about is that I think that it’s very easy in our culture to say, “I have to do all the things” and to really put pressure on ourselves. So do all of the things that feel good to you and do all of the things that you can achieve and do all of the things that are accessible to you today and be happy about that. Tomorrow it’s okay to choose to want to do more than what you did today as long as it isn’t causing you stress. But if it is causing you stress, then do what you can do and be compassionate for yourself and look at all the other things you did in your day and say, “Well, today I got a lot of computer work done and I did not get a lot of walking done. And that was how my day went down.” Then let it go.
Ryn: 13:08 That’s how it goes sometimes.
Katja: 13:08 little more. It just comes down to making yourself as comfortable as you can in a day because not everything is going to be perfect.
Ryn: 13:30 Yeah, sounds true to me.
Katja: 13:34 All right. Well Anyway, thanks for your question Amanda. I really, really liked it.
Ryn: 13:41 So let’s get onto this week’s topic proper, which is how-to-be-sick. You might think this was super easy and that you already know how to be sick, but listen on and let’s find out. In all seriousness, what we would like to share with you is, some reports from our most recent round of getting sick. We just had the flu. It was the real flu. It was the actual one.
Katja: 14:09 It was a good one.
Ryn: 14:09 It was the influenza, it was mix-o-virus-influenzee. It was the whole thing.
Katja: 14:15 Yeah, it was pretty fun. You know, at first we didn’t really realize that it was the flu.
Katja: 14:21 Ryn got it first and it started in his guts, which is completely typical for him at anything you get always starts in your guts, but especially if you ever get the flu, it definitely starts in your guts.
Ryn: 14:33 Yeah.
Katja: 14:34 But the thing is that he of course just got back from Mexico, not last week, but the week before. And, you know, of course when you travel you eat some borderline stuff and he’d been kind of struggling to keep his guts together all week in his return. And it was the end of that week that the flu happened. And I think at first we both just assumed that he kind of lost the fight and, and that it was his guts doing the thing.
Ryn: 15:08 Yeah. For me, I’m prone to tension in terms of the six tissues states. That’s kinda the one that I tend to embody the most. I’m more of a tense kind of a constitution, rather than one that is lax and that gets exacerbated when I’m stressed out. Whether that’s physical or mental or pathogenic stress, it all kind of manifests in the same way. So, I’ll carry a lot of that tension in my neck and shoulders, and also a lot of it is going to get down there in my belly and things would get kind knotted and tight. That’s not really a great state to be in, to try to digest food comfortably, to feel very easy there. As that goes on, I can start to get a lot of nausea, a lot of irritation.
Ryn: 16:01 It’s not so much to say that the pathogens themselves were down in my belly. I don’t expect that to be particularly what was going on, but that the stress of the infection and the heat and the fire and the irritation responses to it, manifest for me with a lot of nausea, a lot of gut discomfort. A lot of like tension in the belly and things like that. And so that was much more obvious. I wasn’t really feeling too much going on in the lungs in particular. We kind of started out just with a lot of plain ginger tea cause the nausea was really the major thing for me at first. It was not impossible to drink, but I wasn’t very enthusiastic about drinking for about a day or so. At that point you started to notice that I was getting a little dehydrated.
Katja: 17:04 No, it was before you even went a whole day. I was like, boy, we need to put you in the bathtub. Ryn runs really dry, also, so dry and tense is his primary constitutional state. And when he’s sick he can dehydrate really fast. So I have learned that we just never let it get to that point. We just toss him in the bathtub as soon as I can get him to agree to get into the bathtub, which sometimes takes a little while. But getting in the bath is actually the fastest way to rehydrate someone short of going to the hospital. It’s actually really, really effective. But don’t wait until the person is all cotton mouth. Start as soon as you can. And this is, this is actually really important because dehydration is I think the biggest factor in people ending up going to the hospital.
Katja: 18:07 If you have the flu or if you have a cold, that should be something that for the most part you can handle at home. I mean there will be special cases, but most cases you should really be able to handle this at home. The part where it becomes a real problem and where suddenly people are no longer able to handle it at home is when dehydration happens. Dehydration can land you in the emergency room. So that is the thing that I think it’s so much more important than watching someone’s temperature. Your body will regulate its temperature, but the dehydration factor is really a big part. So right into the bathtub. We put a ton of Epsom salts in there as well because that’s going to play a big role in releasing the tension. I think that it’s a good idea to put the Epsom salts in regardless of whether or not somebody is super tense because that’s going to provide some electrolyte action in the water and that’s very important. It’s really going to be good for everyone but in a case where we’re working with somebody who is so tense, then it’s like double extra bonus, great.
Ryn: 19:30 Yeah, it was just like that. And you know, I could feel a lot of relief when I would go and get in the bath. We did this multiple times over the next few days there. Yeah, it really provided a lot of relief and loosened things up including my guts. I was feeling a lot more comfortable at least for a little while.
Katja: 19:49 You were like one of those fancy tea balls, not the kind of like metal ones that you put your loose leaf tea into, but the fancy blooming like where the tea leaf is all wrapped up into a little ball of tea and then when you put in the hot water, it unfurls into like flowers in your teapot or something crazy. Have you seen those?
Ryn: 20:16 Yeah.
Katja: 20:16 So that’s what you were like you were like a little ball of tense misery and got into the bath tub and slowly unfurled. It was funny. But yeah, so I would say twice a day is a good target for a bath, but more than that is fine. Just keep it warm and make sure that you warm your person up right away when they get out because making a fever is expensive for your body.
Katja: 20:49 That requires a lot of energy. So we want to make sure that we don’t cool the person down so much that now they have to spend a lot of energy getting warm again.
Katja: 21:00 Then I started to feel really run down and fuzzy.
Katja: 21:03 Again, not my usual respiratory symptoms. Those would basically be categorized as drippy.
Katja: 21:17 I am the opposite of Ryn, I am moist or damp. I don’t like either of those words, but they’re both true, and lax. And so when I start to get sick, my nose just runs and my eyes get drippy and it’s not graceful at all. None of that was happening which should have been a big tip off for the flu actually because the flu is dry, at least in the beginning. I was thinking about Ryn, I was tired and I missed it.
Katja: 21:55 So I did make tea. And, fortunately I didn’t choose something to try to make something to give myself more energy. Our culture just always says, I want something to give me more energy and we need to just, fight that at every opportunity until it is no longer our first inclination. I was really excited that when it was time to make tea, I did not make green tea or Yerba Mate’ or anything like that. I made a lymphatic stimulating blend. To be honest, I don’t even know why. All I was thinking that I was tired, but I think I was really on a calendula kick and I think that’s just where, where we went. So I started with a giant press pot /airpot of calendula and self heal, heather and ginger.
Katja: 22:54 I really wanted red clover to go in there but heather had a lot of the same action I was looking for. Both in terms of kidney support and diuresis, but also still having some of that lymphatic action. So that made me pretty happy. Plus heather is so lovely: those pretty pink little flowers
Ryn: 23:16 Yeah, I really like those.
Katja: 23:16 Yeah, Anyway, I knew that something was going on but I didn’t know what was going on. Basically supporting lymphatic function is absolutely always the right answer. I can’t think of a situation where you can go wrong by providing lymphatic support. It is such a big part of your immune function. Not just the cleanup crew, which is totally critical, but also many of the immune responders operate in the lymph. Actually, if you think about your white blood cells and you think about them, well, I assume that you think about them this way. I used to think about them this way, as running through your bloodstream because that’s what I was taught in, like junior high health class or, or whatever. And that’s not wrong, but it’s not the whole story. A lot of those immune response cells, are actually running through the lymphatic system. It’s just as important as the circulatory system and in terms of immune function and you just can’t neglect it.
Ryn: 24:35 Yeah. Got To take care of your lymph.
Katja: 24:37 Yeah.
Ryn: 24:38 Great. So, you know, the next day it was really obvious and we kind of both looked at each other and we’re like, wait a minute, hang on. This is the flu. Like it was a big revelation. And at that point, both of our brains were kind of boiled a little bit. So it kind of was a big revelation.
Katja: 24:58 It kind of was. And we were like, how did we miss it?
Katja: 24:59 Yeah. Well, but we had, we had missed all of the lead up work that we would normally do. We missed the window of highest elderberry efficacy.
Ryn: 25:14 We missed the window. If we had chosen, to work with Echinacea it was kind of past the point where that would have been most helpful.
Katja: 25:21 We don’t really do that at any way.
Ryn: 25:24 Pretty rarely.
Katja: 25:26 Yeah. So, but elderberry we do, we work really strongly with it. Normally that is what we would do. The minute that we start working with somebody else who has the flu, we would reccomend they start taking elderberry. Just because you’re sick already doesn’t mean that elderberry won’t help.
Ryn: 25:47 Oh yeah, definitely. So, yeah. Elderberry, let’s talk about this one for just a moment. Lots of folks are familiar with this. Lots of herbal educated folks are familiar with this in regards to the flu and for good reason because elderberries are a very specific remedy for flu in particular. It’s helpful with a bunch of other respiratory viruses. So it’s a good friend for this time of year and these kinds of problems. First, it’s got lots of vitamins. It’s got lots of bioflavonoids, lots of antioxidant compounds in the pigments that give the elderberries that nice dark purple color and that’s all great. Some of those pigments actually have a direct effect on the flu virus that makes life difficult for the flu. In this case, what we mean is that it makes it difficult for the flu virus to get into your cells where it likes to hack and take over your genetic machinery and turn it into a little virus factory.
Ryn: 26:47 So in order for a virus to replicate, it needs to get into your cells. And, you know, kind of take over.
Katja: 26:58 It’s like viral possession.
Ryn: 27:00 Yeah, exactly. So in the elderberry pigments, some of those pigments, the Anthocyanins, they actually make it difficult for the virus to penetrate and to get inside. So that makes it harder for the virus to replicate. And so if you catch it early enough, that means your immune system has a lot less work to do because yeah, it’s still has a fight, but it might not have many, many generations of the virus to cope with and makes it a little easier to corral. So that’s nice. That’s why it’s best to get it early and often. That’s a good motto with elderberry, but if you’re late, like we were, that’s OK.
Ryn: 27:40 You know, we don’t take it just once and be done. You want to take it consistently. You know, we were taking little shot glasses of our elderberry syrup, like three times a day, and that was working out pretty well. Once we got started. Even if you’re already sick by the time you realize it and you start working with elderberry, that’s okay. You’re still doing some work, you’re still getting some help, you’re still getting some support. So yes, that’s what we did. We started doing with the elderberry, we have a whole different like pile of tincture blends and elixirs and Syrup’s and everything. A lot of them that include elder and and friends, let’s call it. So we would put those into a shot glass, three or four times a day, something like that. One that we start with and have always, is what we call winter syrup. It’s really probably more of an elixir than a syrup because of all the tinctures we’ve mixed in.
Katja: 28:43 Well, you know, that is, I never make syrup that is an actual like dictionary definition of Syrup, which is, preserved by sugar. I always make a syrup with honey. And because of that, in order to get it to be so shelf stable, I need to put alcohol in there. So it does turn out that anything basically that I labeled syrup is in fact technically an elixir because it’s honey and alcohol mix together. But, but that’s fine. That’s okay. You’re allowed to call your stuff, whatever you want to call it.
Ryn: 29:22 There aren’t like a word police gonna come get you. Well, anyway, so our winter syrup. We make this up each here in the, late summer time.
Katja: 29:32 Yeah. Like at the end of August or so.
Ryn: 29:35 When the elderberries are out basically. So this time our blend had some elderberries in it along with some purple loose strife, some goldenrod, some sumac, ground ivy, mullein, catnip, nettles, a bit of ginger, some blue vervain. Sometimes other things end up in the mix, but we’re pretty sure that’s who all got into there this year.
Katja: 30:02 Yeah, this is some, this is a bunch of really strong antiviral actions, that get combined with a whole lot of vitamin C and bioflavonoids combined with plants who are providing kidney support and lymphatic support and especially lymphatic support up in the head and the ear, nose and throat and in the sinuses. There’s some warming lung support in there, some generalized antiinflammatory action and also some nervous system relaxants. It’s mostly because if we don’t do that, I will not get in the bed and stay off my computer.
Ryn: 30:46 Blue vervain you guys, it’s a really good inclusion in your go to bed and stay there formula.
Katja: 30:52 Yeah. And that is the key is that if you have the ability to get in the bed and stay there. If you can do that all day, that’s best. But try to any minute that you are not obligated to be doing something else, just get in the bed.
Ryn: 31:11 Yeah.
Katja: 31:12 It’s hard for me. Yeah.
Ryn: 31:14 We typically include a lot of ground ivy in the mix, particularly because Katja has a strong tendency towards ear infection being one of the major symptoms that she gets when she’s sick with just about anything.
Katja: 31:29 Yeah.
Ryn: 31:29 So we had a bunch of that mixed into here. At various times we would blend our winter syrup mixed there with some thyme and garlic infused honey, for a little bit of extra fire and heat and a little more direct immune stimulation.
Katja: 31:50 Yeah, that’s really nice.
Katja: 31:53 That’s a really good way to work with thyme and garlic. If those are two herbs are very hot for you, you can infuse both of them fresh into honey and it’s not as sharp. You’re still getting the good strong action, but it’s not as sharp on the digestive system or on your throat if that is a thing for you.
Ryn: 32:17 Yeah. We mixed in a bit of violet and chickweed a couple of times because there was a lot of lymph congestion, lymphatic swelling during the course of this one for us.
Katja: 32:31 Ugh. That was the worst part of this.
Ryn: 32:34 You’re stuck lymph nodes?
Katja: 32:36 I think it really like, they hurt so bad. Every lymph node ached and throbbed and yeah, that was the worst part of this flu.
Ryn: 32:49 Yeah. You know, I was still having a lot of nausea and everything throughout the course of it. So I was grateful that we had this mix that we had put together a while back. It had a little bit of ground Ivy and a bit of ginger in it and then it had some peach leaf and that was really nice. Peach leaf is a really excellent stomach settler, especially when things are inflamed and irritated and hot inside. Peach leaf can be really nice either with ginger or on its own. It’s an antiemetic we would call it or an anti nausea but it’s much cooler and more gentle than ginger can be. Sometimes folks are going to get irritated with that heat from the ginger and for them peach leaf is a really, really good choice. So I was feeling happy that we had some of that available. I was also having, especially in the first few days of this situation, a big fever and I was getting that bone level ache. I was getting a ton of pain in my kidneys, which is really unusual for me, but very common for you when you get sick and so you knew what to do.
Katja: 34:00 Call the goldenrod.
Ryn: 34:00 Yeah. Yeah. We still had some golden rod flowers left over from last summer’s harvest
Katja: 34:08 I guard those. I stash them and hide them, yeah.
Ryn: 34:13 Yeah. Well this time I’m grateful for it because it was really nice to have golden rod around when my kidneys were aching and if I could just get a few cups of that down and you know, they would release and loosen up and get some relief pretty soon. So that was nice.
Respiratory and Other Immune Support
Katja: 34:30 We also started drinking, at that point, a bunch of elecampane, angelica, osha, pleurisy root and condonopsis. And although I think maybe I was drinking more of that than you were cause it probably wasn’t awesome on your stomach right off the bat. This is a really amazing lung function support but also immune system support in a couple of different ways. Not just directly to the respiratory system, but also especially through the codonopsis, that really supports the bone marrow in order to continue to build more immune response cells. So that’s a blend I really like for any kind of deep lung crud. Normally I would decoct that. It doesn’t taste very good, but that’s fine. You can toss some ginger in there if that helps.
Katja: 35:38 If it doesn’t, then just drink like a shot glass every hour.
Ryn: 35:43 Yeah,, so the Elecampane and Angelica, we work with those pretty extensively for these kinds of problems. They are really great at digging buckets of phlegm out of your lungs and helping you get them up and out. So this was like time for a stimulating expectorant situation. Osha is in the same direction. It’s an herb that we don’t work with very frequently because we don’t live in the area where it grows. And that’s an herb that you really want to be very cautious about, working with it and know the area that it’s growing in very well. Including the health of the stand if you’re going to harvest it and all of that kind of thing. Cause it can be over harvested in some areas. So that’s not an herb that we work with too extensively. But we were given some as a gift by a friend of ours who is an ethical wildcrafter.
Katja: 36:43 Yeah, yeah. And harvested it herself.
Ryn: 36:46 Yeah. And so we’ll kind of keep our little Osha stash for when we really need it and when it’s something like this.
Katja: 36:54 Yeah. So, I actually really like the flavor of it. I’m not sure if that makes me weird, but I do really like the flavor of it and it goes lovely with the Angelica. I was seeing about decocting normally that is the way to go, but I did not have the energy to decoct it this time. So what I did instead was I infused it in a super insulated thermos. One of those that keeps the water hot until like the day after tomorrow. It’s like really, really, really insulating. So it still was just an infusion, but it was an infusion at a very high temperature over a long period of time. It was still much lighter than a decoction would’ve been, but I just remade it several times and that’s what I had the energy to do. And I, I drank a lot more of it. I feel like that trade off works in the end.
Ryn: 38:01 Yeah. Yeah, it was good.
Katja: 38:03 Plus when you do it that way, it actually tastes really quite nice.
Ryn: 38:06 Yeah, it’s a little bit lighter, not quite as much of the bitter components coming out, but you get more than the aromatics. So yeah. So that one was good. Also really, throughout this whole process, we were making lots and lots of cold infusions, primarily with marshmallow roots. I would also put a bit of pleurisy root into there as well. Asclepius Tuberosa that one and a bit of licorice root into the mix, although I didn’t tell you about that at first. Usually you really get annoyed at me for putting licorice into anything.
Katja: 38:39 I do. But I, I noticed it after a while and I was like, I don’t even care.
Ryn: 38:45 Just a little bit of sweetness, a little bit antinflamatory. For me I also am partial to that cause it’s a little more soothing on the belly and just kind of makes it a little gentler for that. But yeah. So, the goal with the whole infusion here was to make sure the lungs didn’t get too dried out. Cause as you’d said earlier, when it’s the flu your body tends to generate a lot more heat and it can cook off some of your fluids in the lungs. And so you get more of these dry states in the lungs, sometimes the sinuses and that can make it hard to expectorate at any crud that is produced cause it kind of gets gummy and thick. So a cold infusion of some demulcent herbs as a way to thin that mucus and make it easier to expectorate.
Katja: 39:33 Also just my throat was hurting from just dryness. And my nasal passage, like the top of my nasal passage felt like really sharp too. That’s so unusual for me when I like if I just get a cold, everything is so liquidy and this was just not that and it was very unpleasant.
Ryn: 39:54 Yeah.
Ryn: 39:55 So we’re taking that until we ran out of marshmallow cause we don’t tend to keep a whole lot of that here at home. Then we had a blend on the shelf that had cinnamon and licorice roots, a little touch of marshmallow in there and some wild cherry bark. And that was pretty good. This was kind of as we had been getting along and, and some of the coughing was not productive. It was just irritated and on the inside. So that’s the time when that wild cherry is particularly relevant. But you know that with the cinnamon, licorice, marshmallow, those are like nice demulcent herbs when you do a cool infusion. So, those were very helpful at that point as well. Nice and soothing.
Katja: 40:39 Yeah.
Ryn: 40:40 So that was good.
Katja: 40:41 You know, at some point, I’m probably in the middle of the night when I was having trouble sleeping because my lymph nodes were hurting so much. I was reading some old paper that Sam Coffman had written about dealing with the measles in austere conditions and he was talking about marshmallow root which definitely makes a lot of sense energetically because of the dryness. But he was also talking specifically about the polysaccharides. He wrote that the polysaccharides in demulcent herbs help stimulate the submucosal lymph triggering an increase in the production of t cells, natural killer cells, macrophages and cytokines, which is not news. Actually, we talk about this a lot. We’re always saying, don’t put marshmallow in a box and forget that it can do these other things. And, I don’t know you guys, it was still in that box in my head because when you get sick you kind of just forget most of what you know.
Katja: 41:43 And the first thing that I ever learned about marshmallow was it’s soothing. And I know, so just somehow exactly the way that he wrote that in such a like concise, neat little package really, it just sort of was like knocking me upside the head with some sense. But now I want to spend a lot more time, focusing on polysaccharides in this context. I even think that I want to start talking about their soothing aspects specifically in these terms instead of ever just stopping at the mucous membrane, as if that isn’t good enough, it’s awesome. But just because I was like, oh, marshmallow, it’s like a throat lozenge in a teacup, but there’s so much more going on. And so this is a place where I really want to just completely rewire my brain as it relates to everything I think about marshmallow and all the other polysachcaride rich herbs.
Katja: 42:50 So I will be doing that, a rewiring effort by talking a lot more about it. But this, this is going to happen to you too. It happens with all different herbs that you sort of like, the first way that you learned to work with it is whatever it is. And then you sort of like, you kind of get stuck with it in that spot of like, oh, chamomile, that’s my stress plant. And then you don’t realize that that’s also your gut heal plant, and your infection killing plant and your antispasmodic plant, and your, you know, all these different things. And you know, plants are just amazing and so multifaceted,
Ryn: 43:50 You’re just feeling some marshmallow love.
Katja: 43:51 I’m feeling some marshmallow the love. It’s not normally a plant that I’m super drawn to because I am not a dry person. And right now I’m like all of the marshmallow, please
Ryn: 44:01 yeah. Well, but that’s interesting when you do get thrust out of your normal, you know, constitutional balance and then you’re somewhere else for a little while and then there’s a friend that can help you out, then suddenly you’re very impressed with them.
Katja: 44:15 I am so impressed with marshmallow.
Ryn: 44:17 That happens a lot actually, yeah. All right. Well you know, so we had been drinking a lot of tea and taking a lot of baths. We had kinda been alternating turns in the bath after a certain point.
Katja: 44:31 There was just like a steady bed to bath pipeline.
Ryn: 44:34 Yeah. That’s that kind of how that went. We did start to be able to eat some food, you know, so, it was time for broth, but we didn’t have any of our own, you know, our own homemade broth available.
Ryn: 44:46 So we got a box of broth out of the cabinet cause it’s okay. You can use box profits. Alright.
Ryn: 44:52 You at one point decided that you wanted all of the Irish Moss we had.
Katja: 44:58 I was obsessed with Polysaccharides.
Ryn: 45:00 You were, you were like, it’s slime time everybody, we’re doing it.
Katja: 45:06 It was so gross actually, yeah, but I ate it anyway.
Ryn: 45:09 That was, that was some mucilaginous broth right there, man. I Dunno.
Katja: 45:17 I normally never do that. I’m not the person that puts a ton of stuff in the broth. I want my broth to just be broth.
Ryn: 45:23 Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. I gotta ask were you thinking about the antiviral capacities of the red seaweeds because they’re there.
Katja: 45:34 I was like polysaccharides. Macrophages. What!? I love marshmallow. And then I was like, hold on. Irish moss also has red. Then I was excited about it and that was like about the mental capacity that I had. Yeah. This was all I can handle.
Ryn: 45:58 Another good reason to keep your metaphors simple when you’re working with plants because you’re able to retain them when you are feeling sick and zombified. Yes. That’s pretty good. Yeah. So some Irish moss soup. That was pretty cool.
Katja: 46:12 Yeah it was even thick and gelatinous when it was warm, that was how much Irish Moss I put in there. It was not good, you guys.
Ryn: 46:19 kind of amazing.
Katja: 46:19 But I ate it anyway. Yeah.
Ryn: 46:24 Yeah.
Katja: 46:25 You know, at some point I switched up our lymphatic tea and I think that really the reason I did was because I was nervous that you were getting bored with the same tea and that you were going to say, why are you making the same tea again?
Ryn: 46:41 It was really not anywhere in my mind.
Katja: 46:43 I know but I was projecting that that’s what you were going to do.
Ryn: 46:45 I appreciate you offering me a variety there. That’s nice.
Katja: 46:48 I was like, he’s going to be whatever. So it was still calendula and selfheal cause I couldn’t get off that. Then I put in monarda and I also put in ginger and I mean, I dunno, it was like we need more fighting power, which is kind of dumb because calendula and selfheal already have plenty of power. Like you don’t need something to be sharp and stabby like Monarda for it to be powerful.
Ryn: 47:19 Sometimes you want that.
Katja: 47:20 But sometimes you want that, yeah and monarda is definitely awesome. It was way too hot for me at the stage that I was in. It really aggravated the dryness in my nasal passages but what I found was that I mixed that tea with the marshmallow cold infusion and that was actually quite appealing that worked out pretty well.
Ryn: 47:47 It sounds weird. I was not mixing them. I keep them separate. Different cups.
Katja: 47:52 I also thought it was a weird formula, from a formulation perspective, I was like, this is not elegant, but from the perspective of I need to be able to drink it that’s what I did and it worked. I was very skeptical about blending the monarda and the ginger. I was, at first I was like, is this going to be good? Yeah. And then it was, it was actually quite pleasant.
Ryn: 48:18 Nice.
Katja: 48:19 Yeah.
Ryn: 48:21 Cool. And then we were progressing along and then we kind of switched it up and another time and started to have tea that was a little more, I dunno, more like our usual. I added Tulsi to a blend at some point. I think you were like, oh,
Katja: 48:39 That was the day I was like, I can’t make tea. I don’t know what to put in. And you were like, Tulsi. I was like, ok.
Ryn: 48:48 Yeah, Tulsi.
Katja: 48:51 It was good. That day I felt really emotional about chamomile and needed to like hug the jar that day. That was only yesterday, wasn’t it?
Ryn: 49:06 a couple of days ago.
Katja: 49:09 Yeah, whatever,but yeah, tulsi, calendula,and chamomile, which I thought it was going to be really great, but it tasted terrible because when you’re sick, things taste funny. And I was like, this is awful. What was I thinking? And I’m sure if I wasn’t sick, it would not have been awful but things taste funny when you’re sick. So I put in ginger and rosehips and tiny oranges and that was good. And also I should have had those three in there from the very beginning because the ginger, I mean that should always be there with a respiratory thing just to keep your lungs nice and warm and to keep everything moving. But the rose hips for the vitamin C and the tiny oranges for vitamin C also, and the tiny oranges were off of our miniature orange tree but you could just put orange peel in there. They’re really tine. They’re like the size of a marble.
Ryn: 50:14 Yeah.
Katja: 50:14 but yeah, Orange peel is just so awesome to just to get that vitamin C action in there and some of the other good stuff. And that also was better with a marshmallow cold infusion half and half. Honestly like yesterday, literally I just drank that marshmallow blend thing that we have left. I drank a gallon of that yesterday and that’s all, I didn’t even make any other tea. I just made that all day. I have never had an illness where I just like literally was inhaling marshmallow.
Ryn: 50:54 Wow. Really different.
Katja: 50:54 It’s crazy. Yeah,
Ryn: 50:57 Yeah.
Katja: 50:59 Yeah.
Ryn: 50:59 Well, So that’s that’s our story of the past week. That’s I think almost everything that we were taking.
Katja: 51:07 That and sleeping.
Ryn: 51:09 Yeah.
Katja: 51:10 And doing none of the work that I had planned for us to do last week. Not One bit of it. And that is just how it has to go sometimes.
Ryn: 51:20 yeah.
Katja: 51:22 So yeah,
Ryn: 51:24 So if you’re in any of our online programs then we have a little bit of catching up to do, but we have got some stuff in the pipeline. We’ve got some videos that are on their way to you relatively soon and we’ll get back to filming and editing and producing and all of the other good stuff. So don’t fear.
Katja: 51:43 Yes, In another day or two we will be ready to be on screen. That will be great. And we’ve been keeping on with our, Q and A sessions. We skipped this Thursday because of Valentine’s Day.
Katja: 51:56 Yeah, I did Tuesday by myself. You came in and you waved. Everybody’s like, “back to bed with you. “
Ryn: 52:01 Yeah, that was early on for me.
Katja: 52:04 Then we canceled. I canceled my Wednesday night class and Thursday was Valentine’s Day. So, fortunately we didn’t have a Q and A and yeah, but we’ll be ready for tomorrow.
Ryn: 52:14 Yeah, we’re back to it. You know, tonight I’ll have my round table with my clinical round table students and clinical mentorship students. And then tomorrow night we’ll have a Q and A. Wednesday I’ve got a movement class to teach. Thursday we’ve got another Q and A.
Katja: 52:30 And I’ll teach the business coaching.
Katja: 52:34 Hey, You know, I wanted to say that if you are as fascinated by marshmallow and it’s polysaccharides that stimulate the submucosal lymph triggering an increase in the production of t cells, natural killer cells, macrophages and cytokines, as I am right now, then I want to propose Ryn’s basic photochemistry course. If you’re not already enrolled in that, because seriously, it’s not scary. And knowing just a little bit about phytochemistry and like the way that the different constituents of the plants work in the body, it can really just deepen your understanding of plants and deepen how you work with them so much. So I definitely recommend it. And if you’re the kind of person who really dreaded science in school don’t worry, you can do science and Ryn can help you.
Ryn: 53:45 I also kind of want this course to be a gateway. You know I’m not a chemist or anything like that, but I can understand things and I can pass it on to others. And what I wanted was to give a sense of what I’ve come to understand about phytochemistry over the last decade and to try to keep it on a really simple level. Just to give you a way to get started to get a little bit of familiarity. So it’s interesting to a much greater degree than it is overwhelming. That’s what I’d like people to take away from it really. So yeah, check that one out. We’ll be talking a bunch about polysaccharides and all the cool things that they can do. Cause there’s a lot of them. It’s more than just slime, you guys, turns out.
Katja: 54:31 It’s more than just slime. Yeah.
Ryn: 54:36 Cool. Well. Um, so yeah, give that a try or check out some of our other courses, including our free ones and all of that stuff. And we would be delighted to spend more time with you.
Katja: 54:47 That would be great and don’t forget to show us where you listened to the podcast on Instagram and tag it with holistic urbalism podcast because we really do want to just hang out with you more.
Ryn: 55:05 Yeah.
Katja: 55:05 Yeah.
Ryn: 55:06 All right, well, we’ll be back next week.
Katja: 55:08 No, we’ll be back on Friday.
Ryn: 55:08 We’ll be back this week. We’ll be back on Friday. We’ll be back on schedule.
Katja: 55:15 Yes, exactly.
Ryn: 55:16 All right everybody, Bye
Katja: 55:19 Bye
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