Eat Your Medicine,  Meet the Herbs

Surviving the change of season

closeup of bright yellow st. johnswort flowers
St. Johnswort flowers

A belated Happy Autumn to you! And as if I wasn’t already feeling low enough about Summer’s end, the season change has brought me a throat virus.

My throat is like my early-warning signal . When I start getting run down, a sore throat is always the first symptom. If I pay attention to it (start going to bed on time, make sure I’m eating well, load up on herbal tea with elderberry syrup, take a hot soak in the tub), it usually resolves without becoming anything more than a sore throat.

But if I don’t pay attention and let it go for a couple days… Well, it worsens and I end up where I am today: headache, sick stomach, and a really sore throat with both tonsils swollen and sore.

Change of season is a time many people get sick, so it’s a good idea to keep a couple go-to remedies on hand. I mentioned elderberry syrup. It’s a proven cold and flu remedy and is pretty easy to find if you don’t make your own.

Calendula and St. Johnswort are helpful for many different complaints, including cold and flu, so I always have them around in various forms (dried, tinctured, infused oil, salves and creams).

Calendula tea can be used as a gargle to reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, which will ease a sore throat. Tincture can be substituted if you don’t have Calendula flowers. Add 2 teaspoons tincture to 1 cup of warm water.

St. Johnswort with its antiviral, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory properties is another great herb tea to gargle with, and is said to be especially useful for chronic sore throat. Again, substitute tincture if you don’t have the dried plant.

For a tub tea, add Lavender or Chamomile to the Calendula and St. Johnswort blend then treat yourself to a nice, long soak.