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Herbal Tonics For Health and Well Being of African Americans

Herbal Tonics For Health and Well Being of African Americans

Tonics, also known as oxymels, are potions that our moms, grandmoms and other ancestors used to make and is a traditional way to take herbs that taste so bitter they wouldn’t taste good on their own. So the herbs are infused into a mixture of honey and vinegar and we think of them as a tonic. For the most part, they’re taken during the colder months of autumn and winter. Some are for summer, but because of the vinegar base, they’re prepared so you can make it through cold and flu season without having to take flu shots or antibiotics. It’s more of a natural approach to staying healthy during the cold months. For quite some time, for a lot of people, they were not like the treatment of choice. People got so caught up in antibiotics and flu shots until herb tonics/oxymels fell by the wayside. But they are making their way back into households as a way to take care of yourself. They are known to provide a range of helpful benefits. A lot of you already take herbal cidar vinegar. Even though by some herbalist, especially those in the African American community will tell you that vinegar is not good for you as a person of color, you found that they’ve worked for a lot of you. So, as with anything, it becomes a matter for you, the individual, to learn what works for you and what doesn’t. Most often they are taken before a meal and it’s known to help stimulate the gastric juices. They help to assist the absorption of minerals, protein and fat. They can also reduce the glucose response in the body. Most of these tonics/oxymels are referred to as fermented food, so they help support the growth of beneficial micro flora, which contributes to the health of the immune system. Herbal Tonics for Relaxation and Congestion If you frequent the health food stores, you have been privy to seeing an oxymel known as Fire Cider. Fire cider is sold for this very reason to help boost the immune system and make it through the winter months. Honey is one of the key ingredients. What it does is it has a calming effect that stimulates the serotonin production, which helps to quiet the brain activity and induces relaxation and sleep. What you want to look for are oxymels that contain apple cider vinegar and honey. For centuries, honey was treasured medicinally by Egyptians and Ayurvedic practitioners and was used to calm coughs and dress wounds. If you have a cough or congestion, a lot of you have told me you just take a teaspoon of honey or you put it in your tea and it clears up the congestion in your throat. As a matter of fact, a study from Penn State’s School of Medicine in the Journal of Medical Pediatrics in 2007 showed that honey is more effective in quieting the coughs of children than popular cough medicine containing dextromethorphan. Raw, unfiltered, unprocessed honey is best for medicinal purposes and is very beneficial. It’s enzymes remain intact when it’s in its raw state. Honey is only recommended for children older than a year and not younger. Some people even take the age up to 3 and not before. What 10 Herbs are Used in Tonics/Oxymels for Natural Black Health Care? Rose/Rosehip is one of them. They make a wonderful edition to any immune formula. They have an affinity for the heart, lifting the spirits and easing the nervous system and it’s often overlooked for it’s ability to combat seasonal viruses. Rose pedals have astringent, expectant and anti-jussive properties that help expel phlegm as well as calm a cough. They’re also a potent antiviral and can contain up to 60 times the amount of vitamin C found in citrus fruits. Elderberry flower. They’re usually taken at the first sign of cold and flu. It reduces the strength in severity of illness and according to a clinical study done in 2015, when you combine elderberry with Echinacea you get the same strength as the pharmaceutical drug Tamiflu. So the herbs and flower, barks and trees that we often see and overlook can do a lot for you. Star Anise is another ingredient that is found in tonics. The star anise is an exotic bouquet that has been used to enhance tonics, teas and perfumes, but recent studies have shown that star anise pod contains anti viral and anti bacterial elements. So it’s a warming expectorant, well suited for cough remedies, taming the bite of bitter herbs, but don’t confuse it with Japanese star anise. It’s poisonous, so know the difference. Illicit Verum is the star anise that you would select. Thyme - Thyme is something that we’re all familiar with when it comes to cooking and it’s essential to have in your medicine chest of herbs. Thyme is a classic herb for the respiratory system. It contains anti bacterial phenol called thymol which makes this herb great for deep seated lung infections. You’re not to use it in excess. Pregnant and nursing women should be aware as it’s a uterine stimulant and those with seizure disorders should avoid using thyme. Tulsi or holy basil is sacred to Hindu households and a staple in Ayurvedic healing for 5 millennia, has traditionally used for its adaptogenic, assisting the herbs system and combating stress and bringing piece of mind. You don’t want to use Tulsi if you’re pregnant or nursing because it can slow blood clotting. So talk to your doctor before any surgery or while taking anti coagulants. Garlic has a host of health benefits. We all know that it’s great in stir fry’s. It’s great when used during cold and flu season. It combines well with ginger and when blended with honey, it makes an effective and tasty remedy for coughs and sore throats and you also want to be careful with garlic if you’re taking anti coagulant medication. Wild Cherry Bark is a classic herb used in cough remedies. Native Americans used it to loosen phlegm from the lungs and throat and to quiet coughs. It has an aromatic and astringent type property and it’s a superb addition to cough syrups and throat lozenges. Lemon balm is another herb that’s used in oxymels and is an herb that boosts your mood and calms your nerves and it’s good for children, encourages sleep and relaxation. However, lemon balm has very effective anti viral elements making it great for preventing colds and flu. Ginger has long been an established remedy for cold and flu season, and its expectorant root dries and clears up congestion from your lungs, making it a tonic that’s been used for years when you’re challenged with bronchitis. So when you look at ginger, it’s high in anti inflammatory and analgesic properties. Ginger is known to reduce joint pain associated with colds and flu and it also enhances the actions of other herbs and combines well and tastes great with honey. It’s fiery and if you eat raw ginger, you know what I mean. If you’re on blood thinners or have gall bladder disease you might want to avoid it and use with caution if you’re pregnant. Elecampane is like a premier respiratory tonic, which is highly regarded for it’s ability to tone and strengthen lung disease and fight infection and bolster your immune system. It’s a plant that acts as an expectorant as well, it helps to dislodge mucus that’s been embedded in the system and for some to ease coughs while soothing your throat at the same time. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals and it supports your immune system. It's somewhat bitter, combining it with a sweet taste like honey. Pregnant or nursing women should not use this herb as well and if you’ve got allergies to daisies, then you might want to tread lightly. Diabetic sufferers should consult physicians as well. The bottom line is that tonics/oxymels offer a variety of possibilities. They’re also a natural way to boost your immune system, fight illness, and they provide you with another remedy to add to our medicine chest as the cold and flu season comes upon us. That’s it for this week! As always … Dedicated To Your Beauty Juliette Samuel Esthetician/Author/Publisher Nyraju Skin Care
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