Combining Conventional + Holistic Medicine

Last Saturday I sat outside all day in cold, damp conditions & since then, I’ve been paying a hefty price for doing so. After throwing every conceivable herbal treatment at my system & neither seeing, nor feeling steady or consistent improvement, I knew it was time for allopathic assistance on Tuesday morning. A quick visit to the walk-in clinic revealed that I didn’t have strep & I was given a snot shot & prescription for a z-pack. My pride as an herbalist took a dent; it’s never easy for me to give in to conventional medicine, but obviously there are times that it is called for. This flu-type illness was certainly a case where combining traditional & modern day medicine was necessary.

How I use holistic medicine to assist in my recovery:

The symptoms: cold core & extremities, sore throat, white, coated tongue, dry mouth, ear ache, body aches & pains, excessive mucus production, very low energy, pale coloring, loss of voice, deep, hacking & productive cough, glassy eyes, healthy appetite, overly sensitive to stimulants such as coffee, caffeine or sugar, cravings for salt, excessive, cyclic thoughts.

What these symptoms tell me to look for in an herbal protocol: warming, fire building herbs, soothing & astringent herbs for the mucus membrane & lymphatic system, a mineral heavy, earthy diet, lots of water & rest. As a very fiery person, this flu had drained my fire & I was exhibiting very watery (mucus production + glassy eyes) & airy (cyclical thought patterns + being stuck in my own head) elements. By bringing in warming, bitter & salty herbs & foods, It will build back my internal fire & add earth to my current water/air constitution.

Herbs & foods I incorporated:
Elder & Sumac syrup: a traditional native remedy for cold & flu, this syrup is diaphoretic (sweat inducing), supportive for building the immune system, soothing to the mucus membrane, & helps bring down a fever (cooling). While I didn’t need the cooling aspect, it was very helpful in all the other areas. 1 TSP every hour & a half

Ginger & Echinacea tea: this warming, soothing, lymph combo is a favorite of mine. The most important thing to remember with echinacea (purple cone flower to you gardeners) is that in order for it to work in your system, it MUST be used early & heavily to act as an antibiotic. I didn’t have any tincture ready, so a tea of the stem & leaves had to do. A strong decoction taken every hour would have been best, but I didn’t have the energy. This is when tinctures are so handy to have around! {slaps hand for being ill prepared.}

Goldenseal tincture: The big guns came out to work, but I think I waited too long to incorporate this bitter, antibiotic medicine. It wasn’t until Monday afternoon, after my husband’s suggestion thar I even thought to use goldenseal. It’s strong drying properties make it an obvious choice. It’s extremely bitter (digestive aid & liver support) taste make it rather unpleasant to get down.

Goldenrod bath: I was soooo achey that the pressure of the bed sheet & down comforter hurt. A good bath is always soothing to my body & soul. The added benefit of sweating out toxins & having my friend goldenrod to ease the body aches were great perks.

Chai tea + brandy: hello, my little friend! This oh-so-warming & soothing, not to mention delicious combo is a new favorite. When you get cold & sick call me. I’ll make us both some.

Water, water, and more water: support the lymph, flush toxins from the liver, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Chamomile: another digestive bitter & building herb to use as a tonic while healing. It’s all about comfort & support.

Rest: this is where I always mess things up. One day, maybe, history will quit repeating itself. When I get an inkling of energy, I feel like I have to check off the impossibly long lists my over-thoughtful mind has created immediately! {face plant} Things like cleaning bathrooms, cooking big dinners, doing all of the laundry & cleaning out my studio are examples of what no to do. Sigh. My downfall & more than likely the reason I’m still in bed an entire week later.

Whole foods: bone broth soups, root veggies, nutritive, healing, traditional soups & warm teas – I can’t get enough!

Probiotics & yogurt: dear antibiotics, you have wreaked havoc on my digestion. I don’t appreciate it in any way. After such violent medicines kill off any healthy bacteria along with the invaders that made me so ill, it’s so very, very important to add a good probiotic & plain yogurt cultures to help build back a healthy gut.

That’s about it from the sick bed. It’s nap time again. Do you combine healing methods? Anything you’d add to my protocol?

Happy napping,
Mae