First Sign of Flu Tea

1 Tbsp. each Elderberries, Hibiscus, and Thyme

3 cups of water

Decoct the elderberries for 20 minutes.  Keep a lid on your pot! Turn off heat.  Add the hibiscus and thyme.  Put the lid back on and infuse for 20 minutes.  Add honey to taste (raw honey has more healthful benefits than processed).  Drink liberally.

*                       *                       *

It’s a little time-worn and over used but there is a lot of truth in the old saying an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  As an herbalist and a shopkeeper I am exposed to every virus, germ, and bug out there.  This season we’ve had a splendid selection of lingering viruses.  Some folks have had the lung version, some the stomach version, and a lucky few have gotten both.

Its romantic to think that those of us who work in holistic health don’t get sick. Somehow our perfect diets and lifestyles keep all those germs at bay …. ah, yes, if only that were true!  We are just as imperfect and susceptible as everyone else.  What many of us do have, however, is an arsenal of preventative measures that we put into play at the first sign of illness.

When I start to feel a tickle in my throat or a rumble in my belly, I reach for thyme.  Yes, thyme.  You probably have a bit in your spice cabinet, which is one of the many reasons why this is such a wonderful remedy. Another reason is thymol, one of the chemical constituents of thyme.  Thymol is found in both thyme and oregano.  It is both anti-viral and anti-microbial.  This makes thyme a wonderful choice when you are getting a mystery illness.

To make thyme tea, use one teaspoon of thyme to one cup of water.  Steep for 20 minutes.  Always cover your herbal teas when steeping.  If I am making a cup of tea, I use a plate as a lid.

The downside of thyme is the very strong taste.  Its a bit like drinking spaghetti sauce.  Interestingly I’ve found that it mixes quite nicely with lemonade and actually becomes tasty.  Thyme’s powerful flavor can also be cut by the fruity taste of elderberry.  The recipe above is a wonderful blend for the beginnings of a cold or flu. Elderberry was studied by a PhD student in Israel and found to have strong anti-viral properties, hibiscus is high in anti-oxidants, and we’ve already mentioned the wonders of thyme.