EZ HERBS & the Austin School of Herbal Studies
Sharing the wisdom of the plants         

Teas    Tinctures    Herbal Skin Care    Herbs for Women    Salves, Powders & Creams
About Us
Contact Us
Austin School of Herbal Studies
Herbal Info Index
Personal Consultations
Group Presentations

Newsletter Index
Ellen's Dynamic Dozen Herbs
Garden Gallery
Ellen on KLRU  Central Texas Gardener
Texas Hardiness Map

Need a great herbal gift?

Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to the


stinging nettlespurple coneflowermullien

January in Central Texas is the middle of the winter.  Wintertime means sneezes, coughs, colds and flu for many of us. Even if you can avoid a cold, you may be susceptible to the ever present “Cedar Fever,” which seems to be worsening every year. To maintain good respiratory health, it is wise to breathe fresh, clean air, exercise regularly and eat a healthy, nutritious diet while limiting mucous-forming foods such as dairy products, eggs, refined processed food and an excess of sugars.  Including some respiratory tonic herbs, as a daily or weekly tea, will strengthen and enhance the functioning of your lungs, larynx, trachea, pleural cavities, throat and nose.

            My favorite native Texas wildflower, Purple Coneflower, Echinacea Purpurea, is an excellent herb used as a blood purifier, having antibacterial and detoxifying effects.  Echinacea is an immune system enhancer, increasing bodily resistance to infection.  That is why many of you already take Echinacea at the onset of cold and/or flu symptoms.  The entire plant is used, the root however being the strongest part.  Use whenever bronchial inflammation, strep throat, or chronic or acute bacterial and viral infections are apparent. I process an incredibly potent Extra Echinacea tincture made from freshly harvested flowers and leaves (from the summertime) and fall harvested roots, which are combined to create this powerful tincture.  It is now ready and available but in limited supply.  Order some now and stay healthy through the season:  http://www.ezherbs.net/tinctures.htm

        Two other easily grown herbs that thrive in Central Texas and are often found growing nearby one another in the wild are Horehound, horehound

Marrubium vulgare and Mullein, Verbascum Thapsus. Both of these herbs are useful expectorants, used to expel excess mucous, and will tone, tighten and help dry out the respiratory system.  Horehound is an extremely bitter herb and its leaves are often used for coughs.  It will induce perspiration and is safely used in combination with catnip for children’s coughs and fevers.  Horehound is often combined with other herbs because of its bitterness and has been made into cough drops and the cowboy’s favorite, “Horehound Candy.” The leaves and flowers of Mullein are used for all lung complaints including coughs, hoarseness, bronchitis and asthma. Mullein leaf tea can be drunk as a tonic and used to strengthen a weak respiratory system. Oil from the flowers is also an excellent remedy for ear infections. My Respiratory Resolve tincture made from fresh Mullein and fresh Horehound has been beneficial to many.  Read a testimonial:

                        Two Stimulant herbs helpful for the Respiratory System are Cayenne, Capsicum annum and Ginger, ginger root

Zingerberis officinalis.  Cayenne, that hot red pepper that grows easily in our gardens, is used for winter colds, congestion, infection and inflammation.  Cayenne adds warmth, helps break up phlegm, clears the sinuses and serves to activate the action of other herbs in a formula.  One should use cayenne sparingly as it can be HOT!  The root of the Ginger plant, which grows well in a shady section of your garden, is a quite versatile herb used for the digestive system as well as the respiratory system.  A specific warming herb for the lungs it is an excellent remedy for asthma and bronchial congestion.  Ginger also enhances the effects of other herbs in a formula.  Ginger is wonderful to use fresh by dicing or grating the root and making a decoction (a tea gently boiled for twenty minutes) and drunk throughout your period of respiratory illness.

Ephedra sinica

            One of the strongest and best-known herbs for the Respiratory System is Ephedra, Ephedra sinica.  Ephedra is also known in Chinese Medicine as Ma Huang.  The stems and branches of this plant are used for asthma, coughs, colds and congestion.  Ephedra can debilitate the adrenals and should be used cautiously.  Several tea blends available in our local health food stores contain Ephedra in their formulas.  I recommend that you drink these teas only in the morning, as they can be quite powerful and may keep you awake at night.  Many over-the-counter cold medications contain Ephedrine and are widely used by the general public to alleviate symptoms of colds, flu’s and lung congestion.

            Finally, one of my all time favorite herbs, Stinging Nettles, Urtica diocia, can be effectively used for asthma and as an antihistamine.  Nettles can also benefit the entire body as it is high in nutrients such as Vitamins C, K, A, and Iron, Calcium and Chlorophyll.  Nettles is also effective as a diuretic and will reduce water retention during menstruation and acts as a blood nourisher and purifier.  So you can see why Nettles is one of my favorites.  It will grow here during the cold months, has to be carefully harvested as contact with its nettles will be a memorable event!  It tastes delicious drunk as a fresh tea and I recommend a Nettle tea or tincture to be taken by those suffering from Cedar Fever. I have witnessed a positive effect of Nettles tincture by a young woman suffering with a runny nose, watering eyes, all as a result of Cedar Fever.  A few dropperfuls of Nettles tincture, with its natural anti-histamine effect, helped her immediately. A homeopathic remedy for Cedar Fever is to eat one Juniper berry a day for a few weeks prior to the Cedar pollen break out.  If you do it, it works. Remember to spit out the pit!!!

            Our nose, throat and lungs need to be taken seriously and never ignored as without the breath of life we would cease to exist.  Breathing clean air, getting enough rest and exercise and eating wisely is always our first defense against illness.  When you do encounter a cold or cough, remember our green friends; make a tea, or keep a tincture at your bedside and heal yourself patiently and lovingly.   Don’t forget that Chicken Soup is always good when having a cold, especially when you decoct Echinacea Root in it for the last twenty minutes. 

Stay healthy y’all.