Being sick sucks.
Somehow with every change of seasons, I just can’t avoid it: the stuffy nose, the sore throat, the coughing and tightness in my chest.
There always seems to be a particularly low point when I think, Why me? Well, hey I just found a silver lining. My skin looks freakin’ amazing.
Although I pound herbal teas, take my tinctures, and get lots of rest when I’m sick, I’ve found that herbal steams are the most effective for any type of acute respiratory sickness.
In addition to delivering healing herbal constituents to my inflamed or congested lungs, they also double as an at-home facial. Like an expensive spa-treatment, only with a whole lot more mucus.
The best part is that herbal steams are super easy. For those who like it step by step, here it is:
- Bring four quarts of water to boil.
- Turn off the heat.
- Add herbs or essential oils (handful of herbs, or two to three drops of essential oil).
- Cover for two minutes with a towel.
- Make a little tent with the towel over the back of your head as you bring your face above the steam.
- Breathe in the vapors with your eyes closed.
Careful, it’s hot.
This is a great time to do some ujjayi pranayama, by the way, or other gentle breathing practice.
“What herbs should I use?” you ask. Here are some of my favorites:
- Thyme. Fantastic for clearing phlegm and stopping coughs. It’s also an antiseptic and opens your pores, helping to clear that microscopic dirt and gunk lingering on your face.
- Peppermint. This super cooling herb can help bring down inflammation in the lungs from coughing, as well as decongest the sinuses. It’s an astringent, which helps to tone facial tissue, and contains Vitamin E. Very nourishing for the skin.
- Rosemary. Great at drying up a runny nose and clearing the lungs. It’s another astringent that helps tone facial tissues, but is also an antioxidant that protects cells from degenerating.
The result? Open lungs and glowing skin! And for those of you who think more always equals better, put down the essential oil. I’ve made the mistake off adding way too much and trust me, it was not pretty.
Kristin Henningsen is a yogini herbalist, integrating herbal medicine and yoga therapeutics for over 10 years. When not practicing, healing, or teaching, she writes, mothers and tries to find inspiration in all the little moments in between. Find her at www.banyanmoonbotanicals.com.
Editor: Seychelles Pitton
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