Wood and Leaves

Head blocked up? Fighting head congestion naturally

Our last herbal hint looked at the use of herbs in lower respiratory (chest) infections. Just as important is a natural approach to upper respiratory and nasal congestion and infections.

Child blowing nose

Young children really suffer with head colds

Having just spent a weekend with friends whose 3 year old became full of a head cold overnight, it is so obvious that young children really suffer when they are heavily congested. My friends’ 3 year old had streaming eyes and nose – no amount of tissues and blowing of noses reduced the amount of mucus – plus a fever and a cough. The wee thing battled on bravely but it reinforced my view of the role medicinal herbs can play in respiratory infections and congestion.

Nasal congestion, excess mucus and fever

Herbal medicine has a great array of plants that help to ease the nasal congestion, dry the excess mucus, assist the immune system to fight the infection and also to improve our immune system’s response.
Often there is an elevated temperature or fever when you have an upper respiratory infection. This is one of the ways the body deals with resisting the virus or bacteria. It is important to note that a fever can be a sign of wider illness states and should be diagnosed accurately by a suitably trained professional, particularly when the fever is rampant. If it is clear that the fever is not part of a serious health condition then suitable fever management practises can be used to naturally support the body.

Elder Flower

Elder flower – the double whammy fight back

Diaphoretic herbs such as Elder flowers appear to control the fever by increasing sweating. Studies have shown that using elder flowers during a fever has induced an increase in sweating. Sweating is part of a complex process the body adopts when dealing with an invading viral or bacterial infection. The beauty of Elder flowers is that they also act as an anti catarrhal – where they reduce the mucus in the upper respiratory (nasal) area. This is ideal when we have a fever process along with the increase in nasal mucus.


Ribwort – keep the extra mucus production in check

Another excellent anti-catarrhal herb is Ribwort from the plantain family. It has a long tradition of use for upper respiratory catarrhal conditions where it not only reduces the excessive mucus volume but also tones the mucus membranes. This is ideal where a sinus infection or congestive condition is long standing.


Pelargonium – a winner for respiratory health

As you may know, we give Pelargonium a five-star rating! When we have a sinus infection, it’s helpful to use herbs that support the immune system and also act as anti bacterials. This combination of characteristeristics helps fight the infection.
Pelargonium root is a traditional herb from South Africa. It has anti bacterial, immune modulating and expectorant actions. Clinical studies have shown it can:
  • improve symptoms in acute and chronic sinusitis
  • reduce severity of symptoms and duration of illness in common cold


Echinacea root – to boost the immune system

By combining Pelargonium with Echinacea root (an immune enhancing herb), we can really support the immune system to deal with the invading bacteria or virus. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Echinacea in upper respiratory tract infections and also in the prevention of common cold. It is also used extensively to build resistance to infections.

Children’s Ear, Nose and Throat – natural support for congested heads, sore ears and throats

We’ve combined all these herbs in a potent blend to help children with upper respiratory conditions. Children’s Ear, Nose & Throat can be used to support children and babies from 0 to 12 years with common symptoms such as head congestion through to repetitive sinus infections.
For the best results make sure you discuss your specific needs with your local health professional. Or get in touch through our contact page. Hope you’re staying well this winter!

Paul Mitchell
Harker Herbals

Harker Herbals. All Rights Reserved 2020.The Fine Print

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