That tap-tap-tapping you hear on your window is the icy finger of Winter. Geese fly south, leaves fall and the flu virus incubates at fast food restaurants, on shopping cart handles, and in gas station bathrooms.
While you can get a flu shot as a preventative measure, some of us don’t like the flu shot. Some of us are certain the flu shot is the way the government implants silicon chips, which leak mind-numbing chemicals into our bodies, turning us all into sheeple. This is the only way some of us can understand why certain parties remain in the presidential campaign.
But I digress.
A tasty salad and alcohol in moderation is my preferred health regimen, but (so they tell me) there’s more to life than Scotch and Salad. Building your immunities in preparation for a long, cold winter is as easy as boiling water—literally.
The magical herb of the week is Echinacea
Coneflower is a native plant in North America so the magical attributes come from Native American tradition. Echinacea is a good herb to use in offerings to place and river spirits. It strengthens spells and can be carried during difficult times to increase inner strength. Plant coneflowers around the house and bring cut flowers inside to draw prosperity and protect the place from poverty. Wow—I should have done this last summer. Grimoire Notes: Mars, Scorpio, Temperance
Healing and Health
You can buy prepared tinctures and supplements in capsule or pill form. I’ve had good luck with those, but do your research since not all natural supplements are created equal.
- Echinacea boosts t-cell production and helps your body fight off bacterial and viral infections.
- You can make a wash or paste of Echinacea and apply it to wounds to aid healing. Here is a link to a diy lotion. Add echinacea tincture or decoction to the mix. http://diyready.com/how-to-make-lotion-homemade-lotion-instructions/
- Echinacea contains phytochemicals which might help prevent cancer, especially brain cancer.
- Echinacea treats a variety of skin problems such as rashes, sunburn, bug bites.
- Echinacea is a gentle natural laxative. Drink a couple of cups of Echinacea tea a day for a few days—not more than a week since Echinacea can cause stomach irritation if used over a long period of time.
- Make a tincture by soaking ¼ dried flowers and roots in 1 pint of vodka for 4-6 weeks at room temperature. Strain and store in dark glass bottles. Take ½ to ¾ tsp 3 times per day when you feel a cold coming on. As long as the alcohol content is 25%, this stuff will last a bit. I wonder what Echinacea would taste like in Scotch—hmmmm.
- Make a decoction by simmering 1 oz of chopped root and stem with 1 pint of water. Use stainless steel or glass pan. (Never use aluminum for anything!) Reduce by ¼. Can be stored for 72 hours but it’s best to drink it as a tea immediately.
4 things to remember about Echinacea
- The effects wear off if you use it regularly. Take it when flu season is at hand or if you are under extra stress. Allow an interval between doses. For instance, take it for two weeks if you are going to be visiting the in-laws. Once you put that horror behind you, don’t take it again for two weeks.
- People who are allergic to the daisy family (which includes ragweed) should be cautious with Echinacea. I am allergic to ragweed but have never had a problem with Echinacea. It bears mentioning all the same.
- If you have an auto-immune problem or if you take immunity-suppressing drugs, Echinacea may not be for you since it tends to increase immunities and would counteract those expensive pharmaceuticals.
- Since Echinacea has been cultivated as an ornamental for so many years, some versions are not as good for healing or magically potent as old cultivars. The best bet is to find it growing wild or in the garden of a wise gardener and obtain seeds or seedlings that way.
The flowers attract butterflies and that is magic enough for me. In addition, they tend to reseed themselves if you leave them unattended. If you collect the seeds, be sure you allow them to freeze before you plant them. It takes Echinacea a couple of years to develop, so be patient if you decide to grow your own.