Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When Your Family is Sick; The Blessing of Herbal Tinctures

Jill Farris
This post is by my dear friend, Jill Campbell Farris.  She is a remarkable lady whose advice I often have sought out.  I value and trust her insight and experience.  Married to her hubby for almost 30 years and homeschooling mother to all eight of her children, Jill takes from her valuable time to help other women to lead godly and balanced lives.  You can read more from her at www.generationalwomanhood.org.  

When Your Family is Sick; The Blessing of Herbal Tinctures
by Jill Campbell Farris

I was born with a hole in my heart back in 1960 when open heart surgery was only slightly past the pioneering stage. After spending a childhood gasping for breath as well as constantly fighting illness, at the age of 11 surgery was performed and I instantly felt better. I am alive today and the proud mother of eight children due to the expertise of the surgeons who operated on me. I appreciate medical doctors!
Yet, years after my surgery, as the mother of two small children I found myself chronically ill and constantly exhausted due to the overuse of antibiotics in my childhood. I struggled with depression, discouragement and low energy as I battled chronic sinus infections. No matter how hard I tried to avoid using antibiotics, I would eventually find that the only way to "cure" a sinus infection was to take another round. Each treatment left me feeling worse. My doctor told me that I would have sinus infections for the rest of my life.These were discouraging words.

I was fascinated with herbs and natural health during that time and tried taking herbs in tea and capsule form but did not find them to be particularly effective in my search for better health. Finally, a helpful home birth midwife taught me how to use herbs as aggressively as I used antibiotics. A little tea sipping and a few days of capsule popping was not an effective way to use herbs but the use of a tincture might prove to be very beneficial.

Herbal tinctures can have a glycerin base, an alcohol base or, even, a vinegar base. They come in small bottles with droppers so that the concentrated herbal tincture can be measured precisely. Basically, the herb is steeped in the base liquid until all the plant properties pass out of the plant and into the liquid. After straining the liquid, the herb is ready to be taken orally.

Echinacea aka Purple Coneflower
Echinacea Purpurea or Purple Coneflower has a variety of wonderful benefits which have been clinically proven. This wonderful herb raises white blood cell counts in the body in order to more effectively fight infection!

Aren't they pretty plants? They are also very popular for their beauty.

Goldenseal is an incredibly effective natural antibiotic that kills yeast and bacteria as well. 

Combine these two herbs and you have a very effective infection fighter. If you use Echinacea by itself try to start several days early (ie., at the tiniest sign of infection or illness) because it takes 24 to 48 hours to raise the white blood cells and become effective.

My midwife friend blessed me by showing me how to effectively use these tinctures. At the first sign of my sinus infection I needed to take 10-14 drops of the tincture every hour for 24 hours or until I could feel a difference (Goldenseal is very drying so I would feel it in my nose). Then I was to continue for 4 times a day for a total of 14 days (just like a round of antibiotics).

It proved to be very effective the first time I took it. Unfortunately, my sinus infection returned a few weeks later causing me to panic that it hadn't worked! My midwife calmly told me to apply the same round of tinctures and take them for 14 days again. The herbs did not have the same side effects as antibiotics and could be safely used over and over.

This time, the sinus infection did not reoccur for several months. When I felt another infection coming on, I pulled out my trusty tincture bottles and took another round. Three long sinus-infection free months followed! The next time another infection hit I applied the same knowledge and noticed that the length of the infection was much shorter.

This time, it was seven months before another infection reared its ugly head-yippee! Although I was thrilled by the effectiveness of the herbs, I was deeply thankful for the lack of exhaustion that accompanied the herbs...there were no side effects at all.

A little over a year after I learned how to use Echinacea/Goldenseal tincture in an aggressive way, my last sinus infection was knocked out and I never got another one. That's right! Through the births of all eight of my children, through the ups and downs of the stresses of life....I never had another sinus infection!

Echinacea and Echinacea/Goldenseal became a standard go-to herb for my family. I continued to use the combo for my children (cutting the dose in half for a 10-12 year old and in half again for a 6 year old).

Herbal tinctures can also be rubbed into the skin to be absorbed that way for a sick child. Except for our first two children (when we didn't know any better) the rest of our eight children have never been on antibiotics and have come through some bad illnesses with these tinctures.

I am so glad that I proved my family doctor wrong and didn't have to live with chronic sinus infections for the rest of my life!

Naturally, there are some herbal tinctures that are stronger than others. You can research and make your own (it's not hard, just plan ahead so you are well prepared when illness visits) or you can buy tinctures at health stores and co-ops.  Dr. Schultz is a naturopath who sells concentrated herbal tinctures. Although they are more costly than other sources, when I am sick I am glad I have a supply!

I am convinced that God has richly blessed us with plants which are beneficial to our health if we take the time to learn about them and how to use them in as food and medicine. It's been said that "Knowledge is power." I don't know if that always hold true but, for me, knowledge gave me confidence in my ability to treat myself and my growing family and that has given me great peace! I hope it does the same for you! Please do your research before using any concentrated herb tincture. Goldenseal is such a powerful herb it should not be used for more than three weeks without a break!

For a wonderful supply of herbs and books on using herbs please visit The Bulk Herb Store at www.bulkherbstore.com.

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