BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
ANSWERS FROM CARLOS:
I have a 4 yr old son who since the age of 18 months
started having croup. We lived in a cold place where it
was necessary to have radiators on which dried out the
room so we always kept a humidifier in the room. Now we
live in the opposite extreme in Singapore and with the
aircon have had to put a humidifier as it too dries out
the room. Unfortunately sleeping without is too hot so
this is not an option. At least every 3-4 months and at
times more often our son gets that terrible barking
cough. I usually give him as a quick fix with Pulmicort
through the inhaler and this helps but it is a steroid
and I really hate to do this. Is there any herb I can
give him to be preventative and help him if and when
he does have a bout.
I really want to avoid as much as possible the multitude
of drugs from the doctor that are prescribed.
Many thanks for any help you can provide.
Pleasure to hear from you. First what you may need is
an Air Purifier and not a de-humidifier. The company
Oreck makes some really good ones. I suggest you visit
Secondly, it appears that dryness has set in the lungs,
what in TCM we refer to as a Lung Qi &Yin Deficiency.
The best and most proper way to begin treating this
condition is by following a healthy diet and
supplementing with the proper remedies. Avoid foods that
stagnate the system such as heavy red meats, pork, white
sugar, all dairy and all fried foods.
Include in his daily diet fresh garlic and onions, fresh
fish (in particular salmon), honey, brown rice and
plenty of fresh locally grown fruits and raw or steamed
vegetables. Add to all his broths, soups and stews a
large piece of Astragalus root. Remove and discard after
the dish is done. Doing these things will help to
improve his auto immune system and bring him back into
Drinking infusions of Luo Han Guo will help greatly
during any attack.. Any Chinese market should have it,
as it is very popular and effective. You may also find
it under the name Momordica Fruit Tree beverage. Due to
his age use only one half of the cube or package. As for
a great syrup to help stop the coughing I would
encourage you to find Han's Honey Loquat syrup. Any
large Chinese market should also have it.
My first focus would be your environment. In essence
have the vents in your house cleaned and change your air
filter weekly. Inside your home run a dehumidifier and
when your breathing is affected, run a vaporizier, add a
pinch of salt and 30 drops of essential oil of
Eucalyptus. This will open up your nasal passages and
allow you to breathe freely again.
I am an
artist/acrobat that works for Cirque du soleil. We work
out more than one should and I always getting colds/
upper respiratory infections, etc. I have been taking ,
which seems to help. How long can I stay on this?
Also, can this be taken with tumeric. I read that both
are blood thinners and thought the combination of the
two could be dangerous.. is it? thanks so much
The Reishi mushrooms seem to be aiding your immune
system so you may continue them as along as necessary. I
would strongly encourage you to obtain extract of
Astragalus root and add 30 drops to a cup of Green tea
daily. Astragalus is the principal immune restoring
herb. As well include
plenty of fresh garlic and onions in your daily meals.
On Turmeric here is an excellent article on it:
There exists an ancient Traditional Chinese formula Ding
Chuan Tang that has brought relief for many. If you look
for it and have a problem with taking Ma Huang, then
find a modified formula without it. If you cannot find
one, you may contact me again and I will do my best to
Eat healthy. Avoid red meats, pork, white sugar, all
dairy and all fried foods. Also avoid food with
preservatives and processed foods. Moderate your intake
of coffee and alcohol. All of these weaken the immune
system and stagnate the digestive and the colon.
I recently purchased some
Elecampane to help treat my Cystic Fibrosis symptoms. I
was wondering the best way to steam and inhale the
product directly because my body retains very little
when anything is taken orally. Even better would be if I
could discover a safe dose to use as a treatment with my
nebulizer, as the medications I'm currently taking have
many side effects but are also necessary to help my
breathing. My goal is to one day eliminate them totally!
I would suggest using essential oil of Elecampane. Just
add 15-20 drops to a vaporizier.
Other than that you can boil the product you have now in
a pan of water, cover your face with a towel (taking
care not to burn yourself), bend over the hot, but now
turned off pan, and breathe.
ANSWERS FROM KAREN MALLENGER
used to be a good amateur boxer-chronic bronchitis took
me out of the sport-I am now 52 and I guess most people
would say I am in very good shape-I train boxers and
kickboxers-recently I got back in the ring myself since
I was wondering if a 52 year old could still be
competitive-the only problem is that the bronchitis is
destroying the last 30 seconds of each round-the stress
of fighting sets off the bronchitis-I am presently
taking a bronchial tea by flora-it has helped-if you
have any ideas;
know what kind of environment you are living in, but
chronic Bronchitis is usually related to the environment
rather than a viral or bacterial issue. Do you smoke?
Are you exposed to it? Are you exposed to any toxic or
noxious fumes on a regular basis? It could also be the
result of an allergy. What are you eating? Avoid
processed foods, artificial sweeteners, especially
aspartame. Include Vitamins A, C and Beta Carotene in
your diet. They are all helpful for healing and
protecting the tissues. Garlic and onions are also
excellent for helping the inflammation. The best herbs
are Astragalus, Coltsfoot, slippery elm bark, fenugreek
I would like some info on the herbs to help one with
emphysema. I have gotten my PH down to 6.9 [and
sometimes 7.3] That is a battle with the foods we are
getting! Many things are changing, but I feel some
herbal help is needed for the lungs.
The most obvious question first is, do you smoke or are
you exposed to it in any way? If so, you need to avoid it
at all costs. Nothing is worse for your condition. Make
sure you are exercising every day, and try to avoid all
types of air pollution as much as possible. As for herbs,
Bloodroot, hawthorn and elecampane in tincture form will
probably provide you with some relief and help to
strengthen your systems. B complex vitamins as well as A,
C, E and Selenium every day will also help. You can buy a
pill at the health food store called ACES that provides
all of these in the proper amounts. Lastly, a tincture of
wild cherry bark, lobelia, licorice, motherwort, and ma
huang or ephedra if you can get it would be helpful. 1 tsp
three times a day. If you don't make your own, I'd be
happy to make a custom formulation for you. e-mail me with
the word ORDER in your subject line and let me know you
want the "Asthma Relief Tincture"
have chronic bronchitis and have been taking echinacea,
and also astragalus. I took them all this winter and
never got sick. but when I went back to buy more the
girl told me to keep taking the astragalus when I'm not
sick and only take the echinacea if I got sick first
thing. Well when I quit taking the ecinacea that's when
I got this cold and so I started taking echinacea
again. I'm wondering if I shouldn't have stopped to
begin with. Is it o.k. to take both herbs with
rest periods all year long without any problems? also
what is the difference between echinacea, and echinacea
root? I work in a bar two days a week where there is
smoke and that doesn't help. Please help me to know what
I should do.
Echinacea and Astragalus both have antibiotic
properties. Just as with prescription drugs, you
wouldn't want to take something you didn't actually
need. While Astragalus is safe and can be used all year,
Echinacea's effects will diminish if used continuously
over time. It is best used in cycles, 5 days on, 2 days
off or something similar to that. To keep the colds at
bay, make sure you are eating a healthy diet and taking
vitamin C and E every day. When cold season comes
around, I take 2000 mg of vitamin C every day until May
and I have yet to be infected with the colds or flu that
seem to plague my co-workers. At the first sign of a
cold, start the Echinacea again. Echinacea root is
simply one part of the plant. The roots, leaves and
flowers are all used. As for your bronchitis, you're
absolutely right. Working in a bar with lots of smoke is
one of the worst things you can do. The irritation that
causes to the bronchi can be devastating to someone with
healthy bronchial tubes. If there's any way to avoid
that, I'd certainly seek it out. In the meantime, Anise
has shown some intriguing possibilities with respect to
bronchitis. According to several scientific studies,
Anise contains chemicals called creosol and alpha-pinene
which act to break up the secretions and make them
easier to cough up. Take 1 teaspoon of anise seeds per
cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 to 20 minutes and
strain. You can drink up to 3 cups a day. And it has a
wonderful licorice taste!
QUESTION: My 5 year old has whooping cough -
would you recommend Osha for easing his
symptoms? I am currently giving him tincture of
Lobelia, Astragalus, and a
children's tinCture blend that includes echinacea,
thyme, hyssop, cinnamon,
ginger, elderberry, meadowsweet and horseradish. His
diet has been modified
to eliminate all known mucus forming foods.
ANSWER: Has the boy seen a healthcare
practitioner, if not and it has last several weeks you
should take him to be seen. If you do not, You
need to establish what phase the condition is in,
hot/dry/cold/moist. Profuse drainage that is white
or clear is cold and moist. If yellow/green and
thickened this is hot and dry. Mucus that is thick
with a nonproductive cough is dry. Profuse mucus
with drainage is moist. White or clear mucus is
cold, yellow or green mucus is an indicator of a hot
condition. As the illness progresses it moves
through different phases.
Osha, Latin Name: Ligusticum porterii has a warm to hot
and dry energetics and should be used with caution if
the condition is turning to hot and dry. It has
been used for bronchial congestion with profuse
clear or white mucous.
Additionally Skunk Cabbage Latin Name: Symplocarpus
foetidus has been used as an antispasmodic and pain
reliever for sore throat. It is cooling and
drying. It can be mixed with wild cherry bark
syrup to stop coughing.
The herb sundew used in very small amounts is excellent
for relieving spasmodic cough, whooping cough, dry
ticklish cough, dry explosive coughs. But again it
must be used in very small amounts.
A great lung herb is Elecampane which is moistening and
neutral in energetics.
Most of these herbs are drying so mix with moistening
herbs such as marsmallow or licorice or asparagus root
QUESTION: MY SISTER IS SUFFERING FROM ASTHMA FOR THE LAST 8
YEARS. SHE IS 35. SOMEONE HAS TOLD HER THAT SHE WILL BE OK IF SHE
UNDERGOES GANO THERAPHY WHICH ESSENTIALLY MEANS TAKING CAPSULES
OF GANO DERMA. SHE IS ALSO TOLD THAT THIS GANO DERMA IS MADE OF ONE
MUSHROOM CALLED REISHI. MY QUESTION IS "
-- IS IT SAFE
TO CONSUME GANO DERMA BY AN ASTHMA PATIENT WHO IS LADY OF
-- ARE THERE
ANY KNOWN SIDE EFFECTS.
-- WHETHER THIS
MEDICINE WILL CURE ASTHMA"
ANSWER: The only problems associated with this appproach
is if she has mushroom allergies, Reishi Mushroom, Latin Named:
Ganoderma lucidum(Red-best- on oaks), G. sinensis(black), G.
applinatum(huge artist conch), G. Tsugae(grows on hemlock tree), G.
oreganensis. Can be safely consumed longterm and in fairly large
amounts. I would give it a try if I were her, I don't think it
will cure her but may slow or reduce attacks. This is a very
beneficial medicinal herb, I would stay on it for a couple months
before evaluating results.
If she likes the taste of mushroom she can get it powdered and make a
strong tea of it, consume three times a day. I would cook the
mushroom overnight in a crockpot and consume broth the next day.
This is a download from the natural pharmacist website
----- Beginning -----------------
The tree fungus known as reishi has a long history of use in China and
Japan as a semi-magical healing herb. More revered than ginseng and,
up until recently, more rare, many stories tell of people with severe
illnesses journeying immense distances to find it. Presently, reishi
is artificially cultivated and widely available in stores that sell
What Is Reishi Used for Today?
Reishi is marketed as a cure-all, said to prevent and treat cancer,
strengthen immunity against infection, restore normal immune function
in autoimmune diseases (such as myasthenia gravis), improve symptoms
of asthma and bronchitis, overcome viral hepatitis, prevent and treat
cardiovascular disease, improve mental function, heal ulcers, and
prevent altitude sickness. However, there is no real evidence that
reishi is effective for any of these conditions.
Contemporary herbalists regard it as an adaptogen, a substance
believed to be capable of helping the body to resist stress of all
kinds. (For more information on adaptogens, see the article on
ginseng.) However, while there has been a great deal of basic
scientific research into the chemical constituents of reishi, reliable
double-blind studies are lacking.
The proper dosage of reishi is 2 to 6 g per day of raw fungus, or an
equivalent dosage of concentrated extract, taken with meals. Reishi is
often combined with related fungi, such as shiitake, hoelen, or
polyporus. Results may develop after about 1 to 2 weeks. It is often
taken continually for its presumed overall health benefits.
Reishi appears to be extremely safe. Occasional side effects include
mild digestive upset, dry mouth, and skin rash. Reishi can
"thin" the blood slightly, and therefore should not be
combined with drugs such as Coumadin (warfarin) or heparin. Safety in
young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver
or kidney disease has not been established.
Interactions You Should Know About
If you are taking blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin (warfarin)
or heparin, use reishi only under a doctor's supervision.
QUESTION: I was wondering if you could give me some advice
on what types of herbs to use for chronic bronchitis? I
would like to use something other than antibiotics to help my body
heal its self. I find the antibiotics are making it worse instead of
better. I am really desperately trying to stay away from the
pharmaceutical ways. I know my body can heal itself I'm just not sure
what to use.
ANSWER: I have answered other questions on chronic
infections search my other questions and answers online.
Chronic bronchitis or any other infection is a sign of weakened immune
systems. I would use immune Amphoterics such as the medicinal
mushrooms, Ganoderma, Shitake, Maitake, Chaga and immune potentiators
such as Astragalus (chronic) and Echinacea (acute).
In addition you may need to clean up your diet, look for food
Environmental factors can also play a role, where do you work, what
are the conditions, does your house have carpeting, dry heat, many
things can cause or make you prone or susceptible to infections.
QUESTION: What can you tell me about getting Osha, for respiratory problems?
Osha, Bear root, Latin Named: Ligusticum porterii is a Native American herb and is very warming and hot in its energetics. It is appropriately used for cold and wet, clear or white mucus infections such as head colds, bronchitis, flu and sore throats and is not appropriate for yellow or green mucus or hot and dry conditions. It has also been used to move stuck blood such as in amenorrhea in women and can calm the digestive tract when colds and flu are affecting it with a carminative action. It has also been used to treat acute asthma attacks and conditions. It is not to be used long-term but appropriate for acute conditions and has the following contraindications, pregnancy, gastritis, gastric ulcers, (PID) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, nephritis and when infections have hot dry energetics because it will make them worse.