(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the three part series.)
Why you want it: Lomatium is the go-to antiviral for influenza. It’s much cheaper than Tamiflu, you don’t need a prescription, and it doesn’t have to be started within 24 hours to be effective. During the Spanish flu, when it was used on patients thought to be lost causes, even these patients fully recovered.
Lomatium is an herb that most people have never even heard of. And yet, it’s something you really want to be able to identify and harvest if possible if you live west of the Mississippi, or purchase the tincture online if you live east of the Mississippi. Because this is what the Washoe Indians used in their battle against the Spanish flu of 1918-1920. Apocryphally, it was reported that not one Washoe Indian died, while over half a million other Americans perished.
The species that the Native Americans used is Lomatium dissectum, commonly known as fernleaf biscuit root or desert parsley, which grows in the Great Basin. Many other species, including Lomatium ambiguum, L. bicolor, L. cous, L. foeniculaceum, L. grayi, L. macrocarpum, L. nudicaule, L. orientale, L. simplex, and L. triternatum, can be used identically. Find what grows in your area.
While it is the roots that are most commonly used, the seeds are even more potent.
Harvest the roots at any time, but keep in mind that it is easier to identify the plants in the spring and easier to dig them after a good rain. The roots must be aromatic, bitter, and oily for the best medicinal outcomes, and the roots from older plants are more powerful than the roots from younger plants. Dry the roots for a few days and then cut them up. Store in a glass jar in a dark cabinet. They should remain potent for several years.
There are two preparation options: infusions and tinctures. While the tincture is what is most commonly used by herbalists today, the Spanish flu occurred during Prohibition. Alcohol, especially for Native Americans, was a bit difficult to come by. The Indians used the infusion method, and judging by the results, it worked just fine.
Infusion: Add 1 teaspoon powdered lomatium root to 6 ounces of boiling water, cover, and steep for 10-15 minutes. Administer 3-4 times per day, or more in really acute situations.
Tincture: There are three options. The dosage for all is 10-30 drops under the tongue, 4-5 times per day, or more frequently in acute conditions.
- Fresh roots or seeds. Chop the root as finely as possibly. In a mason jar, macerate (soak) one part herb by weight in two parts 140-proof alcohol by volume. Keep in a cool, dark cabinet and shake daily for two weeks.
- Dried root powder. Follow the same basic procedure as for fresh roots, but use a 1:5 ratio of herb to alcohol.
- Dried seeds. Follow the same basic procedure as for fresh seeds above, but use a 1:3 ratio and 100-proof alcohol.
Stephen Harrod Buhner, Herbal Antivirals, pp 49-50, 229-243.
Why you want it: Medicinally, Japanese honeysuckle exhibits antibacterial and anti-viral effects quite similar to goldenseal. It is used like Forsythia suspensa and often in conjunction with it to achieve a stronger effect. Japanese honeysuckle is quite an amazing medicinal herb and ranks in the top fifty of the thousands of herbs used in Chinese herbal medicine. It’s been used throughout history to treat problems with:
- skin (infectious rashes, sores, carbuncles, abscesses, chickenpox);
- upper respiratory tract (colds, sore throat, mouth sores, influenza, pneumonia, strep throat, tuberculosis);
- intestines (diarrhea, dysentery, Crohn’s disease, salmonella);
- communicable diseases (mumps, measles, hepatitis);
Modern laboratory and clinical research has shown it effective against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Vibrio cholerae, and Escherichia coli.
The flowers, leaves, and stems are all used. When harvesting the flowers, choose fully formed blossoms that are about to open or are white; the older, yellow, completely opened flowers are often not as medicinal as the younger blooms. Leaves are harvested mid- to late summer. Stems are harvested in the fall and winter. Dry until crispy. Store the dried honeysuckle parts separately in dark glass jars in a cool, dark place.
Honeysuckle is used in numerous ways to treat scores of illnesses.
Infusion. All infusions are prepared the same—boil 1 cup water and pour over 1 tablespoon dried honeysuckle parts. Let steep 10 minutes. The parts used vary depending on the conditions being treated.
- Flowers alone: (Add honey to tea for treating any upper respiratory infections.)
- diarrhea and gastroenteritis, especially due to Salmonella food poisoning
- bacterial dysentery
- hepatitis C
- syphilitic skin diseases and tumors
- Flowers and stems
- acute rheumatoid arthritis,
- mumps and
- Flowers and leaves
- Influenza A (H1N1, H5N1, H7N9). The study was done on mice and this is the formula they used: boil 10 grams of honeysuckle in 100 ml of water for 30 minutes to produce 50 ml of decoction. I could not find how often the decoction was administered. The researchers theorize that this same decoction may prove useful in treating Ebola.
- Stems and branches
- influenza, especially for joint pain
Contraindications: May slow blood clotting. Do not use two weeks prior to surgery. Honeysuckle is not for long-term use. Avoid during pregnancy and breast feeding, as well as if trying to conceive.
https://www.nature.com/articles/cr2014130 (Chinese research article on anti-viral activity of honeysuckle against influenza A viruses–H1N1, H5N1, H7N9–in mice. Researchers boiled 10 grams of honeysuckle in 100 ml of water for 30 minutes to produce 50 ml decoction.)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577469/ (wound repair and antimicrobial activity)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26174209 (lowers blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes)
Many, many more plants could be listed here and surely some readers will comment with their favorites, which likely grow in that reader’s area. Yarrow, elder, quercus (oak), could all be added to the list. All are excellent in their own ways. The purpose of article is to encourage readers to open their eyes, see what grows in their own areas, and get busy researching and studying. It’s really good to have a nice stockpile of conventional antibiotics and antivirals and it provides a certain level of peace and security knowing we’ve prepared. But it’s also critical to be able to identify what grows around us and what can be used when our conventional supplies are exhausted or ineffective due to antibiotic resistance. I strongly encourage you to do your own research. Being able to treat possibly life-threatening conditions in your own family is no small matter. You need to be familiar with and comfortable with these substances and acquire some experience with them to use them with confidence.
The aforementioned plants and other substances are available in the wild or at the grocery stores across the country and the medicines are easily produced. However, there are a lot more available locally. In addition, there are dozens if not hundreds of other plants that will treat less threatening illnesses and conditions. Your best bet is to acquire some fantastic general references like Stephen Harrod Buhner’s books Herbal Antibiotics and Herbal Antivirals.
Another good book is Sam Coffman’s book The Herbal Medic, though it is more heavily weighted to plants growing in Texas. Pick up a reference that focuses more on the area where you live. And finally, the hardest item to get, believe it or not, may be the medicinal alcohol. For some of the tinctures, 190-proof alcohol, like Everclear or Mohawk, makes the strongest medicine. If you can’t get it, then use the strongest proof available to you.