Podcast 118: Herbal Home Nursing Basics

It’s not just coronavirus, there’s a lot going on right now! Between the usual circulating strains of flu, some spring colds, and the stirrings of allergy season, plenty of folks are feeling rough. But it’s up to all of us to reduce strain on the medical system right now, so it’s more important than ever that we learn some herbal home nursing basics. These skills can help us to deal with minor issues on our own, so the health care workers can focus where they’re really needed.

Staying hydrated is super important, and herbs can help the water to “stick” much better than plain water on its own. Managing fever is another key function that herbs can support – and these don’t need to be “fancy” herbs, either! Garlic, lemon, ginger, and thyme are enough to cover a lot of bases. A dry cough with a hot fever might mean COVID-19, or it might not, but either way, common herbs and kitchen items can help to relieve the symptom and address the root cause of it.

The core of herbal home nursing basics is to keep vigilant, or attentive to the needs as they change and evolve over time. That, and some simple, easy-to-forget stuff like changing the sheets! Knowing all about these likely needs ahead of time will enable you to prepare with what YOU have for what YOU need. Nothing better than that!

Mentioned in this episode:

Herbs discussed include: hibiscus, marshmallow (and common mallow and hollyhock), lemon, ginger, elderflower, lemon balm, mint, skullcap, yarrow, pleurisy root, wild cherry, garlic, onion, & thyme.

You can learn more about supporting sick people with herbs in our Immune Health course. Get beyond echinacea and learn the full complement of herbal actions and nutritional strategies that can build immune resilience, fend off pathogens, or reign in an overactive system.

As always, please subscribe, rate, & review our podcast wherever you listen, so others can find it more easily. Thank you!!

Our theme music is “Wings” by Nicolai Heidlas.


Episode Transcript

Katja (00:00:01):
Hi, I’m Katja.

Ryn (00:00:15):
And I’m Ryn.

Katja (00:00:15):
And we’re here at the Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism in Boston, Massachusetts,

Ryn (00:00:20):
And on the internet everywhere. Thanks to the power of the podcast. All right. Let’s start with our reclaimer real quick. Just like always, we want to remind you that we are not doctors. We are herbalists and holistic health educators.

Katja (00:00:33):
The ideas discussed in this podcast do not constitute medical advice. No state or federal authority licenses, herbalists in the United States. So these discussions are for educational purposes only. Everybody’s body is different. So the things that we’re talking about may or may not apply directly to you, but we hope that they’ll give you some good information to think about and research more.

Ryn (00:00:54):
And we want to remind you that good health is your own personal responsibility. The final decision whenever you’re considering any course of therapy, whether it’s discussed on the internet or prescribed by a physician, is always yours. All right, so this week on the Holistic Herbalism podcast, let’s talk about herbal home nursing basics.

Katja (00:01:16):

Ryn (00:01:16):
Taking care of humans.

Katja (00:01:16):
Yes. So there’s a lot going around right now. We’re all focused on corona for obvious reasons, but that’s not actually all that’s floating around. There are two different strains of the flu right now that are really bad, and regular spring colds as well. And if all that wasn’t enough, seasonal allergies are starting to kick off. So, there’s a lot of caring for others that needs to happen right now, or maybe caring for ourselves.

Ryn (00:01:49):
Yeah. Right, right. And you know, the guidance that’s coming out from medical authorities is to stay home unless you’re seriously ill. And the main idea there is that we don’t need to overload the hospitals. We need to kind of spread out the rush of people coming in there as much as possible. And so that means that if you’re anything less than critical or severe, maybe, then we’re trying to do as much home management of illnesses as is possible and as is safe, of course.

Katja (00:02:15):
Yeah. Now, a lot of people might not be accustomed to taking care of illness at home. Maybe they don’t feel a lot of confidence around it or it’s just not something that was done because we’ve grown up with a few generations now of when you start to feel sick, you go to the doctor. And don’t worry. We’ve got you. We’ve got all kinds of stuff for that.

Ryn (00:02:41):
Yeah. Yeah. We’ll get you started. And you know, these are skills and practices that it’s good to be aware of and to think about really anytime. Not just when there’s a pandemic happening. So number one, stay hydrated, stay hydrated. So as this relates to corona in particular, we know a little bit more now than we did say two weeks ago, or certainly two months ago, about the way that this virus is playing out for people. And that’s good. One thing that we do know is that while it’s not showing up the same way for every person who gets it, there are some things that are more common across the case reports and the case studies that have been showing up so far. And one of them that’s consistent with this illness and really every other major illness, respiratory illness in particular, is that we need to keep people hydrated if they’re going to have the best outcome.

Katja (00:03:34):
Yes, actually this is true for the flu too. Most of the time when people end up in the hospital because of the flu, it was because of dehydration. Like that there was a dehydration aspect to their illness. And that’s not 100% of the time, but very frequently that is the main driver of someone needing to seek higher medical care. So again, since we are trying really hard to make sure that we don’t need to end up at the hospital so that they can not be overwhelmed by cases that could be managed at home, one of the things that we really need to do is stay right on top of hydration.

Ryn (00:04:16):
Yeah. Okay. So if you’re home alone and you’re trying to take care of yourself, that can be a lot harder than if there is somebody there with you who’s feeling relatively good and can be bringing you a nice hot cup of tea every half an hour. Wouldn’t that be nice. Wouldn’t we like that every day. That would be wonderful.

Katja (00:04:32):
And if you are home with other people, ideally you’re not sick at the same time so that you can be bringing each other teeth throughout the whole duration. That would be excellent.

Ryn (00:04:41):
Right. Yeah. That happens with us a lot. It’s like first, I dunno.

Katja (00:04:44):
One of us will get sick.

Ryn (00:04:44):
One of us, well pick one, you know. You’re sick for a few days or a week or whatever, and then it’d be like, okay, and then we swap somewhere towards the end. If your curves intersect, you know, you’ll be all right. But, but yeah, you know, so if you think that you might be getting sick or if you’re just concerned about it and want to plan ahead if you are alone, there are some things that it’s really good to plan for in advance to make it easier on yourself. Yeah.

Katja (00:05:08):
You know, one of the things is that when you’re trying to hydrate, regardless of whether you’re caring for yourself or other people, don’t drink plain water. Plain water doesn’t stick as well. Right?

Ryn (00:05:22):
This is even more important now where people may be kind of trying to get extra water and going to the shops and some of them have run out. And so maybe you’re like, I don’t know, distilled water. That’s fine. I’ll just get that. That’s like the extreme end of this issue that you’re talking.

Katja (00:05:37):
Yeah. That distilled water, what that means is that there are no minerals in it. So there’s no heavy metals in there, which are harmful minerals, but there’s also no beneficial minerals in there, either.

Ryn (00:05:50):
Calcium, magnesium, a little sodium, you know, potassium, the stuff that should be in water that comes through the earth. Okay.

Staying Hydrated

Katja (00:05:56):
Right, exactly. So, when water doesn’t have mineral content, you can say that that water is thirsty, is one way to say it. It wants to bind up with minerals. And the only minerals that it’s going to find if you drink that water are in you. So that actually can have you feeling more thirsty and can have you dehydrated. It’s like the opposite of electrolytes, right. Because it’s sucking electrolytes out of you. So we don’t, we don’t want to drink plain water when we’re really cautious about hydration. We want to put things in the water so that we make sure that the water is bringing electrolytes into us instead of that the water is sucking away electrolytes from us.

Ryn (00:06:42):
Yeah. And herbs can help there. So there some of the first things we’re going to think about are herbs like marshmallow root or hibiscus. Anything that you can just put a whole bunch of it into a bunch of water, even if it’s just sitting out on the countertop or honestly in the fridge. You know, there are some herbs that infuse really well in cool water and these two are really standing out among them.

Katja (00:07:08):
You know, and that’s really excellent because if you’re home by yourself sick, and you are just too exhausted even to stand up long enough to boil water, this is super easy. Just fill a bunch of jars with cool water, like regular room temperature water, and put in some marshmallow root, some hibiscus, and just let them sit there. Like do that in the morning. Just line up a bunch of Mason jars all filled with it. And then anytime you can drag yourself out of the bed, get a fresh jar and drink it.

Ryn (00:07:38):
Yeah. Right. Cool. You know, there are other options here though too, for things that you can add to your water. And you don’t all have to be doing this into cold water, right? Pretty much any herbal tea that you infuse into your water is going to enhance it. It’s going to provide some mineral content, because listen, even peppermint has a pretty profound amount of available minerals in it when you make it into a tea. So that’s great.

Katja (00:08:05):
And especially because right now you might be stuck with the herbs you have on hand, right? You might not be able to order herbs right now. You might not be able to get to your local herb shop. And so it’s really important to recognize that literally if all you have at home is peppermint, that’s actually fine. Peppermint has tons of great helpful stuff in there for you.

Ryn (00:08:27):
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And there’s other common things that you might have at home too, like lemon, ginger, a little bit of honey. Is that sounding like the kind of tea that you might really want to drink when you’re feeling sick? Yeah. And it can be fresh ginger. It can be dried ginger. It could be fresh ginger that you left in the back of the fridge way too long and it shriveled up on itself. And now it’s basically dried ginger. If you can chop it or tear it or whatever into a piece, put that in a cup, pour on some hot water, a little bit of lemon, a little bit of honey in there. That has a lot to recommend it. You know, we can go down the list of the anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects of each of these herbs, but it also just feels good and tastes pretty good and it’s pretty familiar. And these are fairly common ingredients that you may have around already.

Katja (00:09:10):
You might have some, yeah. You know, another thing that you might already have, you might have some apple cider vinegar infused with herbs, or you might just have plain apple cider vinegar. Well, if you’re not sick yet, you can put herbs in there now and then you can just add a little bit of that your water, you know, just like a spoonful or two spoons full depending on how big your spoon is, and how big your cup is. But I’m thinking like a tablespoon of vinegar to like a pint of water would be good. But again, these are ways that we’re getting electrolytes into the water. And it doesn’t even matter which herbs you infuse into the apple cider vinegar. So either put in the herbs you have or put in the herbs you like. And right now because we’re all sort of at home and maybe we don’t have access to every single thing that we would like best or that we would wish that we had. Literally just put in whatever you have. If it’s peppermint vinegar, that’ll be weird, but it’ll be effective. You can mix a little honey in there too. Totally fine.

Ryn (00:10:20):
Yeah. There are also mineral supplements that you might put into your water directly to address this concern about the empty water. Right. And so this could be things like there’s a supplement we work with a lot called Mega-Mag and it’s a magnesium supplement. It’s got other other trace minerals in there as well. From the same company they make one called ConcenTrace, which is quite good. And you really only need a few drops of that if you’re having a glass of water. It is in fact concentrated. Yes. there’s another magnesium supplement called Natural Calm that comes in a powder and is, you know, pretty appealing and quite effective as well.

Katja (00:10:56):
Especially for kids.

Ryn (00:10:58):
Yeah. So, you know, lots of options like that. Literally if all else fails and you find yourself somewhere, all you’ve got is distilled water, then find some salt. I mean better if it’s sea salt, better if it’s mountain salt, but literally, even if it’s just table salt, I would put a pinch or two of that into a glass before I just drank straight up distilled water.

Katja (00:11:17):
Yes, absolutely. So the key here is drink a lot of fluids and and keep them in your body by making sure that your fluids have something for you in them. That they are a delivery device. And one of the fluids that is like the most concentrated, most dense delivery device of minerals, electrolytes, nutrients, all that stuff is broth. When you’re really sick, you may not feel like eating at all. And that’s actually fine, because digesting food takes a lot of energy. And running a full on immune defense campaign also requires a lot of energy, right? So if you’re eating broth or drinking broth, you’re not just hydrating with something that has buckets of electrolytes, but you’re also providing your body with really easy to absorb nutrients, minerals, there’s protein in there, there’s some fat in there. You can toss some vegetables in there or whatever you like, literally anything. But you might not feel up to even chewing it all, so you can strain it and just have the clear broth. That’s fine. But it is such a good way to fuel your body and stay hydrated right on straight through sickness. And if you’ve never had broth for breakfast before it sounds weird. But especially if you’re sick, it’s great for your body. Your body will be very happy about it.

Ryn (00:12:55):
Yeah. So you can make big batches of broth ahead of time while you’re feeling good, and then you can freeze it. Great. Super easy.

Katja (00:13:03):
Yeah. Then, and especially if you’re home alone sick or if you’re not home alone, but more than one person in your house is sick, it’s hard to take care of other people who are sick. Then all you have to do is set it out on the counter and let it thaw. And that is such a blessing when you have your hands full of sick people.

Ryn (00:13:23):
Yeah, absolutely. You know, you can also buy bone broth, right? And that’s a reasonable thing to have a stock of at home.

Katja (00:13:33):
Ha ha ha ha. Stock.

Ryn (00:13:33):
yeah, well, you know. We don’t need to be hoarding or anything, but we do need to have what we need, what we actually need.

Katja (00:13:41):
Yeah. I always like to keep a couple of boxes of stock in the pantry. Obviously I love to make it from scratch whenever we’ve got bones around. But sometimes you get sick unexpectedly. And sometimes you didn’t have bones around for awhile and you just got busy and didn’t make any. So having some boxes of it in your pantry is a great idea. And since we’re all home by ourselves right now being socially distanced, and actually even saying that I want to acknowledge that many people are not. Many people are on the front lines. They are making sure that we can all get groceries. They are providing medical care. They are delivering things that we can’t go out and get for ourselves. And so if you have some bones at home and you are stuck at home, this is a great time to make big batches of broth and share with your friends who might be having to work right now, and don’t have time to make it for themselves, and maybe don’t even have time to go shopping for themselves right now. So yeah, taking care of each other.

Ryn (00:14:52):
Yeah. And you can cook a bunch of good herb stuff into there from the very beginning. You know, in this context, you’re definitely going to want to add some seaweed that will again boost up that mineral content, boost up that electrolyte intake, and also add a nice moistening demulcent effects all at the same time. So it’s really covering all of the bases when it comes to making an ideal rehydration substance.

Katja (00:15:15):
You know, and thinking in terms of stocking up, seaweed doesn’t go bad. So you know, that’s something that you can always have on hand. And then it’s there for you when you need it. Yeah, I mean, okay. You can’t keep it forever and ever. Eventually it goes off. Yeah. But like it’ll last for a year for sure.

Ryn (00:15:30):
Sure. Refer to, we had a previous episode about this, about herbs to enhance bone broth. Let me just dig up the number of that for you. Take a quick second. There we go. It was podcast number 108 from January 11th of this year. Herbs to supercharge your bone broth. Yeah. So we covered a lot in there about the seaweed, about medicinal mushrooms, a couple of medicinal roots and other things that make sense in there. So if broth is something new to you and you don’t already have a compliment of herbs you like to put in, start with that, check that out and we’ll give you some good guidance there.

Katja (00:16:10):
Yes. All right. So stay hydrated. It’s really, really important. Don’t wait if you’re not sick yet, start hydrating now. Hydration is a habit actually like making a plan in the morning that this is the tea I’m going to drink today. Setting it up. Getting it set up so that every time you walk in the kitchen you’re like, alright, I’m drinking tea today. Especially because you’re off your regular schedule. Whether you are staying at home and trying to figure out how to work at home and juggle all the kids and whatever else, or whether you are working extra because you’re an essential personnel right now. Either way, we’re all out of our regular schedules, our regular routines. So taking some time to set up the stuff that we need to stay hydrated whenever we have a minute is really important. And it’s going to help you stay right on top of it. Because you might start to get sick for a couple of days before you realize, wait, I should be hydrating, right? The first couple of days of being sick, you’re not thinking about hydrating because you’re not yet thinking about that you might get dehydrated. And especially before a fever kicks in, you may be like Oh, I kind of have a cough. Oh, I can have a… You might not realize. So start now, stay hydrated and wash your hands.

Managing Fevers

Ryn (00:17:31):
Well, yeah. Of course. Okay, so the other thing well next thing we want to talk about here is about managing fevers. So first off, a fever on its own is helpful, right? A fever as long as it’s reasonable which can have many definitions. But for this one we’re going to mean something like you can still operate a remote control or your smart phone as you scroll through your Instagram feed or whatever, right? If you can manage that kind of a task then you’re doing all right.

Katja (00:18:01):
Right. Your brain is still functioning. You’re not so hot that you can’t think. You know, you might be miserable on the couch, but if you can work technology, then you’re probably still fine.

Ryn (00:18:13):
Right. And we take this as a guide because a baseline body temperatures vary. Fevering body temperatures vary. And the maximum temperature that can be withstood by any individual varies sometimes quite a lot. So we don’t find it to be as helpful to base recommendations solely around what shows up on the thermometer as we do to base them around what’s happening in the person’s body and in their mind and in their ability to respond and to communicate.

Katja (00:18:45):
Yeah. Every body is different. Yeah.

Ryn (00:18:49):
Right. Okay. So yeah, so if you’re in that kind of a stage where you’re fevering, but you’re still basically present and aware, then that’s part of your body’s defensive mechanisms. That’s part of how your body is actually fighting off the infection. Right? The fever is necessary for your body to be able to accomplish that thoroughly. So, with that said there are times when we might want to enhance a fever. When we might give ginger or cayenne or other warming herbs to bring the fever up and make it good and effective in that way.

Katja (00:19:21):
Well I was going to say, one of the ways that you can know when it’s time to do that is often if a person is huddling up in a blanket and they can’t get warm, or if a person has chills, then that might be an indication that they are trying to get the fever going and they can’t get it to where the body thinks it needs to be. Now they might actually already be hot to the touch. But the body may be thinking, I just can’t get enough. Ginger is an herb that I really like in this particular situation because it does help to warm up the body. But it also comes along with its own diaphoretic action to sort of stimulate the exterior. And I feel like that’s a safety valve.

Ryn (00:20:08):
Yeah. Right. And then internally it’s got effects to enhance some kind of pyrogens or like fever makers, but it also enhances some anti inflammatory elements inside the body. So it is very nicely balanced in that regard.

Katja (00:20:20):
Yeah, it’s just like it comes with its own parachute. You know, it comes with its own emergency release kind of a mechanism. So I feel like that’s a really safe one that if you’re thinking this person just cannot get warm, maybe this will be appropriate.

Ryn (00:20:39):
But sometimes you do feel like you need a break. You’ve been fevering. It’s been hot. It’s been heavy. It’s been going on for a while and you just need a break. You need a breather. Right. And this does happen naturally in the course of many illnesses where you’ll fever for a while, and then you’ll kind of come down and have a break, and then you’ll fever again if necessary. But sometimes we do need to support it both on the upswing and on the downturn. So for that, bringing the heat down, releasing some of that heat, or the way we think of it mostly is helping the heat to circulate freely and to move freely through the body.

Katja (00:21:13):
Yeah. Through the body and then out. So it’s not getting trapped in there.

Ryn (00:21:18):
Yeah. So in this case we would turn to our relaxing diaphoretics, because they’re going to help with that free movement of heat inside of the body. And elderflower is one of our absolute favorites there. It’s very light. It’s very opening. It’s very relaxing. It has some effects to calm anxiety and nervousness at the same time, which is really valuable. You know, lemon balm is helpful in similar ways.

Katja (00:21:42):

Ryn (00:21:43):
And makes you smile when you hear about it.

Katja (00:21:44):
Oh, I was just thinking that Melanie Carpenter from Zack Woods farm was writing a whole ode to lemon balm right now. And it was lovely and yeah. Yeah. Lemon balm I think is often a little bit under appreciated. But this is a really lovely time for lemon balm, especially when you’ve had a really high fever for like a bunch of hours. And after a while it’s just, it’s exhausting to be hot for that long. And you’re just like, I just need a break. Just take the edge off a little bit. Something like lemon balm is really, really perfect because it does cool you down. We can wrap you up with blankets again afterwards. But it will cool you down for a little while. But just like most of these herbs, it comes along with a really complex suite of phytochemicals that are not simply going to suppress the fever all together. Right. It has a lot of immune action all on its own. So yes, you get a little bit of a break from the fever, but you’re not getting it in sort of a very oppressive suppression kind of way.

Ryn (00:23:01):
Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Katja (00:23:02):
It’s just like, hold on, time out. It’s just like that, you know?

Ryn (00:23:08):
Yeah. You know, lemon balm, some of the other mints are helpful in similar ways. You know, and I mean by that in the mint family. So that would include things like peppermint, spearmint particularly, but also skullcap. You know, that’s another nice releasing herb for that.

Katja (00:23:23):
Oh, and especially if you started off your fever cold and you could not get warm enough. And so you were really huddled together and really tensed up. And now your fever is hot and you can’t break a sweat because you’re still tensed up. And when you are physically tensed up also your pores are tensed up. And so they won’t let the heat release. And they won’t let the sweat come out. And so at that point, that’s a really good time for skullcap, because not only does it have that diaphoretic action of helping to open the pores, but it also helps to relax that tension, especially around the shoulders and the neck. Which I’m a person who tends to get cold easily. And that’s what happens to me when I’m cold is everything wants to squinch up around my neck. That’s the technical term, squinch, and so skullcap being able to relax both of those aspects can be really, really helpful.

Ryn (00:24:24):
Nice. One last herb that I would mention there for managing fever in this way would be yarrow. Yeah. it’s just very good at that.

Katja (00:24:34):
It’s really, really good at that.

Ryn (00:24:35):
All of the same kind of things we’ve been describing. But it is good for that. I’d say maybe to differentiate it has more astringency than the others we’ve named so far. So that could be helpful if you also wanted to get some of that effects. And we’ll see later on places where astringency would be particularly relevant to a goal that we may have.

Katja (00:24:51):
Yeah. And so the other nice thing here is that that’s a lot to choose from. So whatever you have at home, again, because right now not everything is available. You’ve got stuff at home. Take a look at what you have. If all you have is peppermint, you can do the job. And if you’ve got some Tulsi tea, that’s a mint. That’s going to have that diaphoretic action also. You can do the job. You know, we didn’t mention, but even Chamomile can have this effect. Catnip can have this. Catnip is one of our mints. And so if that’s what you’ve got at home, these can do the job for you. So there are really a lot of plants choose from here. And that’s good because you can just match that up with what you actually have

Ryn (00:25:43):
Right on. And in the absence of that, there are still things you can do to bring down a fever, right? So a not hot but not cold either shower or bath or little soak can really do a lot to bring down a high fever. Definitely don’t put people into actual cold water. It probably is going to feel warm to you while you’re not actively fevering. Right. But to the person who is actively fevering, it’s going to feel pretty cool. And we don’t want to give them the chills or anything. We don’t want to leave them shivering afterwards. And we also want to be ready with some blankets to wrap them back up in afterward. And you know, again, this is the idea to give the body a little break. Help you to relax a little bit, breathe easily. But oftentimes this is being done with the expectation that you are going to fever up again before you’re actually done.

Katja (00:26:37):
Yeah. And so just a gently warm shower, which to a fevering person feel cool. Be in there for whatever feels good. By the way, this is also a way to get some hydration in. Soaking in the tub for a long time, eventually you get pruny and shriveled. And that’s not hydrating anymore. But for the first 10 or 15 minutes, you’re taking in moisture. So this can help in two ways. But that, and then again, as soon as they jump out, you know, if you have a little heater that you can put into the bathroom so that the ambient temperature in the bathroom, they’re not going to be shivering when they get out of the water. Get them dried off fast. And then help them right into a bunch of blankets. If you are by yourself, then leave the blankets right outside the door so that all you have to do is come out of the bathroom and you can wrap yourself back up in blankets again. Because we don’t want shivering to happen, right? Otherwise, now we’re just all tense again and we’re going to have to go back to the skullcap or the whatever. We want to give you a break from the fever, just to take the edge off, a little timeout. But then we want to wrap you right back up again so that you don’t lose all the progress that you’ve made, right? You worked hard to get that fever going. And it’s okay to want a little break or need a little break, but we don’t want to lose all of the progress. So wrapping right back up again will mean that you’re not starting from zero to rebuild the fever.

Ryn (00:28:09):
Yeah. Right. And then again, you know, to kind of make a quick circle back around to the hydration thing. Soaking in a bath, soaking in a sitz bath, even a foot bath, it does help a bit. That is another really important way to hydrate people, especially if they can’t drink right now. If they’re really nauseous or something, then that may be necessary.

Katja (00:28:30):
You know, if you are in a location that doesn’t have a bathtub, or if you are so tired that you can’t stand up long enough to take a shower, or even it doesn’t feel like you can sit in a shower, then a cool foot bath, right. The rest of you can be wrapped up in blankets if that’s what’s comfortable. But even just a cool foot bath will help to draw the temperature down a little bit. And this can be very helpful, especially if you have a pounding headache going along with your fever. A cool foot bath can start to draw some of that down and that is physically what is happening. Your feet are cold, so you need to send blood to them to get them warmed up again. And that is going to pull some of the pressure down out of the head. Like just in terms of fluid mechanics here. And that can be very soothing. And again, if you are by yourself, or just you’re not by yourself, somebody is taking care of you, but you’re so exhausted. That is one of the things that that seems to be going along with the coronavirus is just deep, deep fatigue. And all you can manage to do is let somebody pick up your legs and put them into a foot bath. Great. That’s going to also be super effective.

Helping a Dry Cough

Ryn (00:29:48):
Hmm. All right. So you know, with that fatigue, another one of the key signs so far in most cases of the coronavirus has been a dry cough. And so fortunately there are herbs that are really nice at directing moisture to the lungs and relieving these kinds of dry coughs. Again, starting with stuff that you may already have at home, honey and lemon tea. It does really work actually. Both of these through different mechanisms stimulate your body to produce a little bit more mucus. And that’s what a dry lung needs, just a little bit more mucus flowing through there. So really just as simple as it sounds, you know, chop up some lemon, put it in a tea cup, pour on some hot water, a little bit of honey in there. Drink it all down, you’ll be good to go.

Katja (00:30:32):
You know, and right now it’s not necessarily super easy to get herbs, but lemons might be easier for you to come by because you can still go to the grocery store or get groceries delivered. And so try. Try To get a big bag of lemons and then you’ve got them. And it’s something that you know will work and that you have access to. Right? A lot of times, in theory, there’s all the herbs in the world. One of the herbs I want to mention is pleurisy root. That is a beautiful herb for helping to direct moisture to the lungs and to deal with the pain that comes along with a dry cough. But if you don’t already have that on hand right now, even if you find a place to order it, it’ll take a couple of weeks before they’ll be able to ship it to you because there’s just so much demand right now. But lemons you can probably get your hand on right. And so just that ability to work with what you actually have is really wonderful.

Ryn (00:31:37):
Yeah. Now if you’ve got some pleurisy root, go for it. Right. Make your decoction or if you have tincture around, that’s going to be a valuable ally for the stage because pleurisy really does help to direct moisture toward the lung and can relieve these dry cough situations really well. Another herb that really helps with that of course is the marshmallow. Again, if you have the root, fantastic. You know, make some infusions of that. It’s going to help a ton with bringing moisture towards the lung. Really all your mucus membranes. Even up in the sinuses to some extent.

Katja (00:32:06):
And like a really good slimy cold infusion. It will feel so soothing to the throat. And when you’ve got that dry cough, it’s not just dry in the lungs, but it hurts in your throat too after a while, because it’s just irritating every time. So this is going to be so soothing.

Ryn (00:32:26):
Yeah. And if you don’t have marshmallow, but you’re in a place where some herbs are up already. I find it hard to believe we saw some tiny, tiny little plants out there today.

Katja (00:32:36):
Yeah, yeah, I did. I have seen the first dandelion flower. It’s like wish upon a star except wish upon the first dandelion, you see.

Ryn (00:32:44):
Yeah. Absolutely. But I mean, we’re hearing from students all over the country and some of them are like, yep, we’ve got plants. There out here.

Katja (00:32:49):
Oh yeah. In some places all kinds of plants are up already. And if you’re a place where common mallow grows or hollyhocks grow those are fantastic too.

Ryn (00:33:02):
They’re very, very close relatives of marshmallow itself. They’re very close. They’re attributes are similar. So, absolutely. Cool. Another one, and this, you know, again, you may have these growing around you. You may be able to find it if you’ve got an apothecary or an herb shop, you may have some stashed away. But we’re talking about wild cherry bark now. Wild cherry bark is really fantastic for the dry cough because the dry cough is not producing anything, right? The dry cough is an irritation response. It’s your body saying it’s dry in here, it’s irritating. This isn’t how things are supposed to be. And you cought. And a lot of that is really just because the dryness on the mucus membranes irritates some nerves. And that triggers this cough reflex even though it’s not getting crud up and out. Even though it’s not really helpful in that particular way. And so what wild cherry does, there’s a couple of things going on with it, but one of them is that it actually soothes those agitated nerves. It calms down the nerve that’s sending that cough signal up to the brain and then back down to the muscles around here. Right. So it reduces the pointless coughing. But then the nice thing about it though is that it’s not going to stop you from coughing if there is some phlegm to cough up or if there is some productive thing to be done by coughing.

Katja (00:34:25):
It’s not suppressing the cough, which is good because you might need to do that leader. It’s just relaxing that irritation, right. That unproductive need to cough.

Ryn (00:34:37):
And that one, I mean, you know, you may have just dried herb and you can make make preparations with that. Even cold infusions with this herb work really well. You could have the marshmallow root and a little bit of wild cherry bark. Put it all into a jar, pour on cool water. Let that infuse, stir it around a bit, you know. Drink it down later on. That’s a fine preparation with wild cherry. Some herbalists I know really prefer those cold water extractions of wild cherry. And some of them even say that you’re gonna ruin it if you make a hot water decoction I don’t go quite that far. We’ve worked with wild cherry in decoctions for a long time.

Katja (00:35:11):
Yeah. And they are very helpful.

Ryn (00:35:16):
I think it’s fine. But anyway, just to teach the controversy, I guess. That one is one of the very minor disagreements amongst herbalists.

Katja (00:35:24):
Yes. You know, I’m thinking of a couple of companions here. And that is cinnamon and ginger. And if you don’t have wild cherry bark at home, but you’ve got some cinnamon, a lot of the same actions, a lot of those same relaxing actions. And believe it or not, cinnamon is a demulcent. If you make a cold infusion, it will be slimy. And so that can have that same kind of relaxing effect. By the way, cinnamon, a really strong preparation of cinnamon, is also my favorite cure for the hiccups. I used to have just ridiculous hiccups. And a little cinnamon under the tongue really works wonders. And the other ginger here, ginger doesn’t have that soothing moistening effect. It’s not going to provide any kind of slimy aspect. However, it does have that antispasmodic effect and can help to relax the nerve tickle that is causing the cough. So if you don’t have wild cherry bark at home, these are two that you may have at home that could still be really helpful in that type of job.

Ryn (00:36:36):
Yeah. Now if you’re an herbalist who works with some of these herbs regularly or just knows about wild cherry as preventative, you may have at home some wild cherry bark syrup. And if you do, you can take that on its own, but you could also make one of those cold infusions with the marshmallow, with the Hollyhock or whatever it was, and then just put in a tablespoon or two of the wild cherry syrup into that. That’s going to work really well and it’s going to cover a lot of bases, right? You’ve got your moistening aspects, you’ve got the water content itself to bring in the hydration. And then you have that like soothing effect of the wild cherry bark. That’s going to be really good at this particular kind of presentation.

Katja (00:37:11):
Oh, I guess maybe one other thing. I will say that if nothing else, just a plain spoonful of honey can help a lot. Especially with that hacky cough. And especially I’m thinking about, you know, how your cough isn’t that bad through the day. And then you’re like, all right, it’s bedtime. I’ve just got to get some sleep. And that’s when suddenly the cough has just like possessed you. And there will be no sleep because you just can’t stop coughing. Just a plain old spoon of honey. Really. Even if you don’t have anything else, it can make a big difference in that kind of a cough.

Ryn (00:37:51):
Yeah, for sure. Okay. So not every cough is going to be dry. Right. Some might be different. So we’re going to always try to respond to what’s happening and keep responding as it changes.

Thinning Stuck Crud

Katja (00:38:05):
You know, and even if you do have that dry cough, that does not necessarily mean that there isn’t mucus also going on. It’s just not coming up either because it’s deeper in the lungs. And your cough is like that nervous cough that’s up at the top of the lungs. But the mucus and the sort of crud that needs to come out is down deep in the lungs. So that upper respiratory cough isn’t helping, it’s not productive for the crud that needs come up or because the crud is so thick that it is not available to be coughed up. And so maybe you’ve got that hacking cough and nothing’s happening because there’s nothing available to come out.

Ryn (00:38:47):
Yeah. And that latter one, you know, that latter pattern is again, really tied to dehydration. Long term dehydration is going to make all of your fluids more thick and sticky and harder to move around, you know, so hydration, hydration, hydration.

Katja (00:39:00):
Stay hydrated. Yes.

Ryn (00:39:03):
So, but that said while you’re hydrating, you can also take some more direct steps to try to thin out the mucus a bit, right. And make it easier to move around. So one thing that works really well is a super simple syrup made with garlic and honey. Those are the ingredient.

Katja (00:39:20):
That’s it. Chop up some garlic. Put it in a jar, put some honey in it. Put a lot of garlic in there. We want it to be super garlicky. And the honey is going to suck all of the fluid out of the garlic. And now you will end up with a syrup that is garlic and honey, like essence of garlic.

Ryn (00:39:39):
Yeah. And I mean you can eat the bits later, you’ll have like candied garlic sort of.

Katja (00:39:43):
Yeah, definitely eat those if your stomach can take it. And it’s much more gentle than eating straight up raw garlic. Much more gentle. Then definitely eat it. But if you don’t feel like you can do that in the moment, then just take the honey on a spoon.

Ryn (00:39:57):
Yeah. I mean it is, it does make it a lot easier to take, even if you literally like chop it, pour the honey on, stirr it around, wait like five minutes and take it. It will be so much easier than trying to eat actual raw garlic. The longer you let it infuse there, the more mellow it will become. But it’s still going to be potent. Still going to be effective, let’s say.

Katja (00:40:16):
Yes. And if you’re not sick right now, this is the time to do it, right? Because you don’t know when you’re going to need it.

Ryn (00:40:24):
And how long do you have to stand at the counter to chop garlic. Awhile.

Katja (00:40:27):
It takes awhile, right? If you’re already sick, you don’t want to do this cause you’re tired and you don’t want to stand up chopping garlic for a long time. In that case, onion in honey syrup would be better because it’s faster to chop.

Ryn (00:40:39):
A little easier. And I mean honey is maybe not as intense as garlic, but it’s the same.

Katja (00:40:48):

Ryn (00:40:48):
Yes. Onion is not as intense as garlic. Honey is definitely not as intense. Okay. Onion is not as intense as garlic, but it’s the same kind of herb. You know, there…

Katja (00:40:57):
There’s a lot of phytochemical crossover.

Ryn (00:40:59):
Exactly. Yeah. Cool.

Katja (00:41:02):
One of the coolest things, speaking of photochemistry, one of the coolest things about onion and garlic is that regardless of how you get it into your body, you have to excrete the volatile oil content of garlic through your lungs. It doesn’t go through your pee. It doesn’t go through your poop. It comes out of your body through your lungs. That’s why you have garlic breath. And that’s a major benefit here, because you don’t have to wait like it’s not even just going through the bloodstream to the….like. Well it is, but it’s not, it’s just not as slow as a lot of things is what I’m trying to say. Like it moves quickly. It

Ryn (00:41:49):
RIght, yeah, because you know, you can eat food and then you can have garlic breath in like 20 minutes

Katja (00:41:52):
Or less. Even. So what I mean is that it doesn’t, it’s not going to wait like the two or three hours after you eat to be fully digested to then start moving around in your body. This is something that transfers very quickly and is going to get up to the lungs and start moving out very quickly. So this is fantastic because as those volatile oils pass into the lungs to leave your body, you are receiving all of the benefits, all of the antimicrobial benefits of these volatile oils. Now we don’t have data yet about whether or not garlic can kill coronavirus. But we do have data that it is a really good against lots of other kinds of pathogens. And remember that coronavirus is not happening in a vacuum. If you do come down with it, you also have a bunch of other crud in there. Like it’s not like just exactly one virus has been invited to the party, you know. There are other opportunistic bacteria and viruses and whatever else that have been hanging around just waiting for a chance to get a foothold. And so when we get sick, we blame it on one particular thing. I have the flu, I have whatever. But actually the flu brought friends with it. And if you get corona, corona’s going to bring friends with it, right? Parties are more fun that way. So the reason that this is so important is that even if garlic doesn’t turn out to actually kill corona, it is still helping you, not just by stimulating overall immune health, not just by stimulating better mucus membranes in your lungs, thinning out the crud so it’s easier to expectorate. But also it’s going to kill some of the friends, some of those other pathogens who were around just waiting for the chance to dig in, which means your immune system has less work to do. So it is helpful no matter what’s going on for you.

Ryn (00:44:02):
Absolutely. And then again, on that level of just the mucus that we’re trying to manage here, it’s going to thin that out. It’s going to make it easier to cough up. It can help to make your coughs more useful, more productive.

Katja (00:44:16):
That’s the whole point of coughing is because you need to get that stuff out of you. And if you cough, get it out, then you’re done.

Ryn (00:44:25):
Right. So yeah, garlic and onions are fantastic for that. There are other common kitchen herbs that are helpful here as well, like thyme, oregano, right? So these, if you drink them in tea, you get similar kinds of effects. They won’t give you garlic breath, obviously, but they will affect your lungs in such a way as to thin that mucus and make it easier to motivate and to expectorate. So that’s a fantastic way to go with it. But what we like to do is to do a steam with our thyme.

Katja (00:44:51):
You know, and if you listen all the time, you might be like, you might’ve just been waiting. Ah, they’re going to say it. They’re going to say a thyme steam.

Ryn (00:45:00):
It can be an oregano steam, it can be a monarda steam.

Katja (00:45:04):
A peppermint steam, whatever you have. Oregano, anything. But the reason we say it so often is because it works. It just works.

Ryn (00:45:18):
Yeah. So yeah, like you were saying, all those different herbs, things that have a strong smell to them, those volatiles. You throw them into the pot, you breathe them right into your lungs, you get them where they need to go. They help out in a lot of ways. Right. Antimicrobial. But again, here, focusing on the idea of managing your mucus integrity or viscosity, right? Like we have to get it to that helpful place where it’s not too thick, not too thin, just right. Goldilocks kind of situation. And between the, the garlic, the honey, the steaming, the thyme tea, all of that kind of stuff. That works really, really well to get you there. So there’s fancier herbs in the world, but I mean, again, think about things that you may already have or that you know you can get access to easily.

Katja (00:46:03):
And remember, if time is too sharp for you because you’re feeling a lot of irritation in the lungs and it just doesn’t feel comfortable, then go with chamomile. Go with lavender. Lavender is more a much more gentle steam than thyme. Still has a lot of the same phytochemical profile, but it just isn’t as sharp when you breathe it in. And frankly, I mean, even doctors and nurses will tell you to, you know, sit in a hot, steamy shower, because the steam itself helps to loosen up the mucus. When we add herbs in there, we are adding extra skills to that steam. So now the steam is not just loosening up the mucus and raising the temperature a little, but also carrying in these anti-microbial phytochemicals. Carrying in these volatile oils that will help to break up the mucus and also help to stimulate the immune action in the lungs. But even if you’re looking at your herb supply and you’re thinking, I don’t really have enough herbs to be able to use any of them for a steam, then just use the hot water.

Ryn (00:47:18):
Yeah. Right. And also when you make a cup of tea, right, then just like hover real close to it between sips, just hold it right here. Breathe in the steam that’s coming off of your tea. It’s not nothing it does count.

Katja (00:47:30):

Bedding and Air Quality

Ryn (00:47:34):
Okay, cool. So to close things out, we just kind of want to review some basic home nursing care ideas that can actually make a ton of difference here when you’re sick or when somebody with you is sick. And the first one is to change those sheets.

Katja (00:47:50):
Yeah. It might seem silly. This is the sort of stuff where I like to think about Florence Nightingale, right? This is the woman who who really sort of started nursing. It used to be that if you went to the hospital, you had to take a nurse with you. You had to take somebody in your family who was going to care for you. And then Florence Nightingale really created. And to say that she created the profession of nursing, I mean nurses have been around forever. We have been nursing one another forever. But she made it into a profession and sort of like codified it. And so much is on one hand, super basic. Obviously there is, especially in modern nursing, to be a registered nurse, there’s a great deal that is very complicated. But some of the most important stuff is also some of the most basic. And so literally changing the sheets anytime that somebody sweats through them. Changing the clothes that the person is wearing, anytime that they sweat through them. Doing that as often as possible, as often as is reasonable given your ability to do laundry, is really important. And just in terms of like, when you sweat after a fever, it’s not just water that’s coming out of you. There’s crud in there. There’s crud from being sick. It’s part of why it smells so bad. And removing that, your body, when you sweat that out, you’re trying to get it away from you. And so we need to actually get it away from you and just change the bedding. Change whatever can be changed so that the stuff that’s right up against you is clean.

Ryn (00:49:43):
And you know, it may be that changing the sheets is a good way to do that for you. And maybe that having a few different pairs of pajamas that you can kind of cycle through is easier to manage. Sometimes, especially when you’re on your own, it’s not the easiest thing to like haul off all of the sheets.

Katja (00:49:59):
Oh my goodness, yes,

Ryn (00:50:01):
And pick them up and carry them down the stairs and whatever. So like if you don’t normally wear pajamas to bed, then a night when you may be fevering is a good time to go ahead and do it.

Katja (00:50:09):
Even if it’s just sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Like it doesn’t have to actually be pajamas, I mean, whatever. And especially because right now maybe you don’t have laundry in your building and maybe you can’t get to a laundromat. So okay, that’s going to complicate things. But even if you have had a big sweat and you just can lay some dry, clean towels down over what you sweat on, so that you’re separated from that.

Ryn (00:50:38):
Sometimes in the middle of the night, that’s the easiest thing. You know, it’s like you didn’t realize it was going to happen. You wake up, you’ve had a fever, you’ve sweated, and now it’s all clammy and cold and everything. And okay, so you like put down a big towel underneath you. Maybe you can flip over the top couple of blankets and have something dry against your body. That’s going to be so much more comfortable and better for your recovery process. Definitely don’t just lay there in the wetness.

Katja (00:51:01):
Right, because you’re going to get chilled if you do that too. And so clean and dry will help you to to not get chilled, to not just sort of be kind of festering in that stuff.

Ryn (00:51:20):
Yeah. Again, planning ahead. If you live alone or you expect to be alone, then think about getting your house, tidy it up a little bit. Honestly, like doing chores as coronavirus preparedness. I mean, it’s real, honestly, like you want things to be organized, easy to get at. You want to know where your whole stash of towels is, and how many blankets you’ve actually got to work with here. And like, you know, it’s the same as ever. When there’s a disaster or a difficult time, you want to know what your resources are and be able to access them as you need them. Right. And that might mean going through your herbal medicine cabinet and being like, all right, I’m going to put these right on the table. I’m gonna put these right over here so that they’re easy to get at. I’ll see them when I’m a little groggy, you know, not all the way present. It’s just easy to grab and open and take. Okay. So as much of that setting up as you can do now, that’s going to help. And yes, that does include doing the dishes, right? Cleaning the rooms a little bit.

Katja (00:52:15):
Getting all your laundry done. Yeah. And especially like when you’re sick, you’re not going to want to do dishes. You’re not going be able to stand up long enough to do the dishes. So do them all now and stay right on top of them while you’re not sick so that when you are sick, you can just pile your tea cups, you know. Like there’s space for you to pile the dishes that you don’t want to do while you’re sick. It sounds so silly, it sounds like something like, yes, mom, you know. But it really will make a difference, especially if you’re alone, in terms of being able to get through being sick with the most efficient process possible. Because you were really ready and you didn’t have to wade through a bunch of things that are in your way.

Ryn (00:53:00):
Yeah. All right. Another thing, and this, you know, Florence will tell you, so don’t just take our word for it, but it is actually important to air out the rooms, right? Especially a room where someone’s going to just be sick, you know, and they’re going to stay in there for awhile. We want to air out that room at least once a day. Air out all the rooms in the house once a day, you know. Oh, I kind of want to say this is not the time to fret about the heating bill, but I know that for some people it really is that time.

Katja (00:53:30):
It’s so hard because some people aren’t getting paid right now and even people who are like, sometimes you’re just right on the margins. And so it’s hard to say like, well, I don’t want the heat to go out the window, but on the other hand, all of those germs are in the air and we need to do something to release that and to change the air in the room. And even though that does mean that the heat will go out the window try to do it when the sun is high so that you lose the least amount of heat. But it is really important to have fresh air and to have air exchange really throughout the whole house, but especially in the spaces where the sick person or people are hanging out.

Ryn (00:54:22):
Definitely. Yeah. And you know, if you’re the sick person here, then we don’t want you to like open all the windows in your sick room and just hang out there shivering and like waiting 10 minutes or whatever. Like you can open the windows, you can close the door on that room, you can go to another one and just kind of wait for a little while. Come back in and close it all down, bundle up again, you know. Don’t catch a chill is kind of a recurring theme here. All right. Yes. And then while we’re at it, we can add things to the air. And so, you know, we talk a lot on the pod about Smells Good. And that’s our little concoction, super simple. You know, you’ve got a liter size or so, it could be bigger, whatever, but like a spray bottle. And you put in some water in there and then just like a bunch of drops. Ten-Ish drops is usually plenty of essential oils. We like lavender and rosemary. We like cedar. We like sage, pine, whatever smells good to you goes into the Smells Good. And then you give it a good hard shake and spritz it, spritz it, spritz it all over the everywhere. Shake it several times as you go through that process, because you want to keep those volatiles or those essential oils dispersed in the water. And they have a tendency to kind of float to the top and clump up there. So just shake it a bunch, spray it around, shake it some more. And that works really nicely to clear the smell in the air. But also to add these, you know, airborne aromatic, antimicrobial and immune stimulating plant chemistry.

Katja (00:55:51):
Yeah, I mean it’s like, it’s like having a steam in a spray bottle, you know, basically. A very good quality incense can help in this way as well. If it is not irritating to you, if it makes you cough then don’t do that. But as long as it is good quality, as long as you know that it’s not adulterated with like weird things. That it’s just the plant resins. Then that is another way to get the volatile oil content aerosolized, to get it into the air and breathe it in. If you have a really wet damp cough, then this might be very soothing, because it will provide some dryness. If you have a dry cough, this might be irritating. You might prefer the spray bottle method. Or just when you do your steam afterwards, open it up. When you’re like, okay, okay, okay, I’m done with the steam. Not all the smell is gone, so just leave it so that it can evaporate the rest of it into the air.

Staying on Top of It

Ryn (00:56:54):
Yeah. And you know, as we’ve said before, maybe not in this pod, but other times, like if you don’t drips not into your steam water, so bring your handkerchief. But if you don’t drip snot in there, or sweat or whatever else, then you can drink that tea. You can soak your feet in it, you can pour it right into the bathtub you’re about to get into. You could take that whole pot and now this is the base for your bone broth batch you’re about to make. You know, there’s things to be done with that fluid. Don’t toss it capriciously. So you know, the big thing here with all of this is to stay on top of it, right? Don’t wait to hydrate until you’re super thirsty. Don’t, don’t wait until you’re feeling sick to think about what herbs you could gather together to help you out, right? Plan ahead. Get some stuff ready and then you’ll just be in a much better spot when it, when it comes down.

Katja (00:57:45):
And really be thinking. If you are a person caring for others, then set a timer and every hour, every half hour, show up with a beverage and make them drink it. And they’ll be like, Oh, I don’t want to, because that’s what happens when you’re sick. You don’t want to. But get them to drink it. And if you are alone caring for yourself, then make sure that you set up the beverages. But also, even though you’re going to be tired, as long as you are awake. If you’re sleeping, then sleep. But as long as you’re awake, then push yourself a little bit every hour, every half hour to go and refill your glass. Because it’s really easy to let this get away from you. Especially if you’re the one sick and you’re trying to take care of yourself. You don’t know what time it is. You don’t know how much time has passed. And so it’s just, you know, if you’re like binge watching episodes of whatever on Netflix, then at the end of every episode, go get more tea. You know, you have to drink all of it during that episode and then you get more. Whatever works for you.

Ryn (00:58:50):
Yeah. And the set alarm thing, it does not mean that if you’re asleep, you should wake yourself up. If you’re sleeping, sleep please. Like sleep is probably the best thing for you. Yeah.

Katja (00:59:00):
Yeah, but just really I can’t stress enough how important, I don’t want to use the word vigilant because that’s sounds, I don’t know, militaristic or something.

Ryn (00:59:15):
I like that word. I think it’s a good word.

Katja (00:59:15):
I mean it is a good word, but it also, maybe it sounds a little too like “Aaaaaaahhh!” Or something.

Ryn (00:59:22):
I get it, yeah. There’s a sense of impending threat.

Katja (00:59:26):
Right. But on the other hand, there is impending threat. You do need to stay vigilant because the flip side of that is ending up at the hospital. And they don’t have the capacity right now for things that they don’t have to deal with. If we can deal with it ourselves, they need us to do that. And the way that we will make sure that we can deal with it ourselves is to be super vigilant. Be super on top of it to the point of being annoying.

Ryn (00:59:57):
And you know, if you’re a time traveler from two years ago this is still relevant, right? Like our healthcare system has always been on the edge of being overwhelmed.

Katja (01:00:05):
Yes. We’re only seeing it now.

Ryn (01:00:08):
Right. We’re seeing it now.

Katja (01:00:09):
Well, some people are only seeing it now.

Ryn (01:00:11):
Yeah. But I mean this is true generally. Like if we can learn these home nursing skills, these are helpful all year round. They’re helpful all cycle round. They’re helpful all the time and so learn this stuff. This is really good. Okay. So now if you listen to our pod regularly, you probably, and especially the last couple of weeks.

Katja (01:00:31):
Especially the last few weeks.

Ryn (01:00:31):
To the current virus preparedness from two weeks ago, or like what have we been doing lately for ourselves last week? You’ve heard a lot of the same stuff come up again and a lot of repetition and yeah, that’s true. Right? Paul Bergner used to always say, or he still probably does.

Katja (01:00:46):
He still probably, I’m sure he still does. Yes.

Being a Boring Herbalist

Ryn (01:00:47):
Hi Paul. I hope you’re listening because thank you for this one. But he taught us to be a boring herbalist. Right? And that’s powerful.

Katja (01:00:57):
Actually it is. So like every part of this is boring herbalism, right? Especially right now. You can’t get fancy exotic herbs right now because every herb shop, every herb online place has a however many week wait because there’s so much demand.

Ryn (01:01:13):
Oh goodness. Everybody out there hanging their entire antiviral herb hat on Houttuynia like I’m sorry but you’re not, it’s not going to get there.

Katja (01:01:22):
Right. And also you don’t need that. Be a boring herbalist. Work with what you have. Work with what you can find in your grocery story. If all you can get your hands on is some garlic and some lemons, you’re good. There’s so much you can do with that. If all you can get your hands on or if all that is available to you is being really vigilant and making sure that you stay hydrated, that is going to help. It’s going to help hugely. So yeah, you might be miserable. And being sick is no fun. Taking care of sick people by the way, is also no fun. But you know, miserable people can sometimes make you miserable. And so don’t feel bad if you’re like grrrr, this is getting really old. But just stay on top of it. Just do the same darn boring thing. And it really, you know, it’s like keeping your kitchen clean. It’s boring to do the dishes again, but Oh look, my kitchen is so clean. So much of healthcare is, you know, like, Oh, I’m thinking of that commercial from the I don’t even know when, The eighties or the nineties, about Dunkin Donuts. And they had that guy with the mustache and he was like, time to make the donuts. And he would get up at like four in the morning or whatever to make the donuts. That’s boring herbalism, except without the donuts, right.

Ryn (01:02:45):
Wow, Okay. That was a journey.

Katja (01:02:48):
No, like, Oh, okay, I’m going to make the tea again. Yes, you’re gonna make the tea again. You’re going to do another thyme steam. You’re going to make more tea. Okay. Broth. I’m so sick of broth. It’s boring, but it works.

Ryn (01:03:06):
Yeah. And for that matter, the healing power of boredom is wildly underappreciated as well. But anyway, so most of real nursing care also isn’t fancy. Right?

Katja (01:03:23):
Yeah. I mean these days there is stuff they need to know that is certainly more advanced than the regular borin g stuff. But honestly, the real work is the every day vigilance. It’s the nurses who notice things. It’s the nurses who are the ones who say, Hey, there’s been a change in status there, and who are the first people to be right on top of that. And that’s what we’re going for as home nurse nursing care, right. We are not nurses at home. But that is the care we are providing is that that ability to be very attentive, to be right on top of any little change. To be noticing things when they’re still small enough to do something about, so that they don’t get big enough that you are going to need to transfer to medical care.

Ryn (01:04:19):
Right. And sometimes that will happen, you know? Yeah. There’s no guarantees about anything in the world. So yeah, sometimes you’ll do all of the best nursing care that you can and still need extra help. And that’s okay, because knowing that you did that, that you took that time, that you put in that forethought and attentiveness and everything. That will make that less likely. That will relieve the burden on the system and on the healthcare workers. And that’s our goal here. All right.

Katja (01:04:46):

Ryn (01:04:46):
There we go.

Katja (01:04:46):
That was a lot.

Ryn (01:04:46):
So we promise y’all that next week on the Holistic Herbalism podcast, we’re going to talk about some stuff that has nothing to do with coronavirus.

Katja (01:04:59):
That’s right. We’re going to take a break.

Ryn (01:04:59):
To give you a break from it. So I would definitely advocate for that. Like we’re planning that intentionally. We’re also thinking about how much about coronavirus should we be putting out there in the world, and how much of this has already been done by other good herbalists. And do we need to be redundant here. But more than that, so much more than that, it’s just that we’re seeing people who are experiencing for the first time what it’s like to be a news junkie. And specifically about bad news and scary news. And I totally understand that drive. We read too much politics as it is honestly.

Katja (01:05:40):
Yes. We are those people.

Ryn (01:05:40):
So we’re very familiar with that experience. But there’s definitely a limit past which reading another article about corona, even if its about herbs. Even if it’s about some fascinating theoretical concern or whatever else, there’s a point at which it’s no longer serving you to keep your head in that stuff. So do think about taking breaks from that kind of media in particular. That may involve just steering yourself away from Facebook for a day or two because people are talking about it. Right? But it doesn’t mean that you’re going to, you know, put on your blinders and be willfully ignorant. It just means that you do need to give yourself a break from the same stories, every now and then.

Katja (01:06:23):
Yes. So, next week the pod will include no coronaviruses. Yes.

Ryn (01:06:30):
All right. But what we will do because we’re bringing it back is we’re going to catch up on our shout-outs.

Katja (01:06:35):

Ryn (01:06:36):
Because we missed a couple of weeks there.

Katja (01:06:37):
Yes, so this is the first batch of catching up and we’ll kick it off with a shout out to Katherine who wrote to say that she started trying wood betony for her migraines. And that she liked the pod so much that she enrolled in our free mini course, the Four Keys to Holistic Herbalism and she loves that too. She’s having a fun time with it, which we are so excited to hear.

Ryn (01:07:00):
That’s great. We have a shout out for Gabriella who asked about corona and about immuno compromised individuals in particular.

Katja (01:07:07):
You know, also there to Susan and Brooke who both said that the corona pod was helpful and calming, which we were super grateful to hear. But especially both of them were really excited because they’re already enrolled in several of our online courses. And they were so excited as they were listening to the pod that they were like, wait a minute, I know some of this stuff already. And that they had already internalized a lot of that information from the courses that they’re taking.

Ryn (01:07:34):
Yeah. That’s always good. That’s what we like.

Katja (01:07:38):
That’s what we want. Yes!

Ryn (01:07:38):
In the world. Yeah. we’ve got one for Lisa who listens to the pod while she delivers the mail. Wow. We’re excited to keep you company and also extremely grateful for your service now and always.

Katja (01:07:50):
Yes. Now and always, but especially now. Yes. my elderberry fairy on Instagram says that they’ve been crushing on us and that is just about the sweetest thing ever. Aw.

Ryn (01:08:02):
Yeah? Alright, nice. Alright. So to chcreations, BlumeRosa, GreenWitchHerbal, jewwell, I think that’s how you say it. To Mallory and to emeyer2710, who all wrote us reviews on Apple podcasts. Thank you. That helps folks find us. That helps them find our podcast.

Katja (01:08:26):
Yes. And if you want to spread the herby goodness of our podcast or of our online courses or our blog. I just put out a blog about elderberries and the whole cytokine storm issue that has been running around Facebook, explaining all of that. So however your friends would be interested in hearing, the ones who would be, tell them. Tell them about the pod, tell them about the blog, tell them about the online courses. And that helps to spread the herby goodness and hopefully some calm in a world that really needs it right now.

Ryn (01:09:10):
For sure. All right folks. So that’s it for us. We’ll be back next week with some more Holistic Herbalism podcast for you. Until then, take care of yourselves. Take care of each other, drink some tea.

Katja (01:09:22):
Stay hydrated.

Ryn (01:09:22):
Stay hydrated.

Katja (01:09:24):
And wash your hands. Bye bye


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