Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Teas for a Cold

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t’s early October, and where I live the sky today was swollen and twisted with cloud, occasionally torn by the wind for the sun to peek through.

One tree yesterday was stripped of all its leaves within an hour, in fact at one point the leaves came down like rain.

There’s little comfort when my students tell me that we’re in for a massive winter. Thanks, I reply. I can’t give them push ups for issuing a weather statement so I quietly shift the conversation on to more comforting topics such as stance training and break falls.

We used to think that an Arctic blast of air along with nostrils full of snow was good training weather, climactic traits that elicit the spirit of a Samurai, that old school toughness of standing barefoot in a snowbank performing the Kata Sanchin.

But there is another viewpoint in the martial arts, the side more connected with traditional medicine. Bundle up, cover your head, go to bed early, refrain from over-activity, eat foods that boost your immune system…and drink various types of tea.

Tea. That’s a drink integral to traditional martial art training…for good fellowship, showing respect, during specific ceremonies, during banquets and demonstrations, as gifts for fellow martial artists and, of course, for health.


Here is a  brief list of teas associated with fighting cold symptoms -


- licorice root, peppermint, echinacea root, ginger, blue vervain and pennyroyal (the latter not for pregnant women).


- hops, lavender, rosemary, thyme, valerian root (powerful), mugwort ( the latter not for pregnant women),sage and, of course, gentle chamomile.


- thyme, licorice root, fennel, ginger, sage, horehound , St. John’s Wort (easy with this one), elderberry, hyssop, lungwort, rose, and slippery elm.


   - rosemary, woodruff, lemon balm, lavender and anise.


  - marigold, safflower, thyme, angelica, sage, basil, chervil, yarrow, catmint and ginger.


   - slippery elm, comfrey, raspberry, basswood, fennugreek, licorice root, ginger and bossom. 


BRONCHITIS - wild cherry bark and coltsfoot.  VITAMIN C - rose hip and marshmallow.  DECONGESTANTS - peppermint, catnip, goldenseal and eucalyptus.  NAUSEA - ginger and ground fennel. More sore throat? - place a piece of ginger at the back of the tongue. What do you do with garlic? - good for warding off colds.

Please consult with a physician before taking herbal teas.  Take in moderation. Not recommended for children.

Just as an aside, one of my Black Belts told me a few years ago that he uses raw garlic to knock out an oncoming or existing cold. He advises mashing the garlic and chewing it a little at a time. I experimented with the suggestion. True to form, I chewed and swallowed the entire clove. ( I advise not doing this if your job involves dealing with the public).

My individual report? It works.


Pressure Point for a Runny Nose

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