Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Product Profile: Cold and Flu Tea

Boline's family of teas.

About all of our teas:
Boline blends very specific ingredients to create its custom formulas. Each ingredient has a specific purpose and adds to the remedy. Ingredients vary, batch by batch, based on what's in season and available. We work WITH the earth, not against it.

This also means the formula you get is more effective. Not only is everything freshly dried and far more potent, but the human body is part of a larger ecosystem with its own cycles- our method reflects that. If we run out of a key ingredient and we cannot replace it with something suitable, the product disappears off of the Boline website until we can make the product effectively again (we get more of a specific ingredient). 

This seasonal philosophy flies in the face of what most folks are used to- getting a product that consistently has the same ingredients. But that way of thinking is one of agribusiness, cost control measures, and monoculture that has caused more problems in the world than it has helped. 

Boline is different. We know that many different ingredients can achieve the same effect and make blends seasonally, in tune with the earth's cycles. We list all possible ingredients below on the website- but the ingredients you get in your batch are inclusively listed on the bag (we create labels batch by batch). If you have a question on whether an ingredient will be included in your current batch, just ask! We are happy to blend a formula with or without any specific ingredient just for you. So folks with allergies need not fear.

Fannings (left) and whole leaves (right)
Why buy Boline's tea instead of that bagged "medicinal tea" brand at the health food store?Sure, you could buy bags of herbal teas that have similar ingredients at the grocery store, but they will not work as well. Why? 

The main difference between loose teas and tea bags is obviously the size of the leaves. When producing the tea bags, whole leaves are chopped, sliced and diced into small particles ranging from 0.2 to 1.5 millimeters called "fanning" and "dusts". With all this slicing and dicing, the plant compounds interact with moisture and oxygen, leading to rapid quality loss. 

Whole leaves contain natural compounds such as antioxidants and polyphenols, and different essential oils which are the basis of the amazing tea flavor, taste, and medicinal properties. When the leaves are broken up, those oils tend to evaporate, leaving the fannings with a dull aroma which will lead to a tasteless and less potent beverage. 

Further, who knows how long that tea has lived in those bags, in that box, on a shelf somewhere? All of the teas Boline sells are fresh! So choose fresh (medicinal grade) loose teas! 

Like all herbal medicine, our teas work best when combined with a lifestyle that includes clean water, whole foods, gentle exercise, and plenty of self-love.

Boline's Cold and Flu Tea

See the berries, flowers, and whole leaves?
No dust here! The infuser bag is included with
each Boline tea you get.

This tea has a combination of medicinal herbs that help with all kinds of cold and flu symptoms (congestion, mucus production, itchy eyes, headaches, fevers, immune function, and killing the cause of the infection.

Ingredients (which may vary throughout the season because of availability, but include): Elderberries*, Yarrow*, Yerba Santa*, Lemon Balm*, Peppermint*, Bayberry* (*indicates organic)

Traditionally, in both folk medicine and the ancient traditions of Oriental and Ayurvedic medicine, sweating therapy was the treatment of choice for the initial stages of acute infections. Hot baths, saunas or sweat lodges together with sweat inducing teas were used to raise body temperature and open the skin pores. (The idea is that by raising body temperature and increasing circulation, the body’s natural defenses would be mobilized to fight of the invader. This is of course why we get a temperature when we have a cold or flu.) 

The raised temperature is the body adjusting itself to the optimum state for the immune system to function. We have all experienced the sequence of chills, where the body is trying to heat itself up followed by sweat and burning as it reaches it peak. Often the body will go through several waves of temperature rises before it finally deals with the infection. In many ways then the approach of supressing the raised temperature with paracetamol is working against the immune system. Sweating, on the other hand, works *with* it. This is why you will see several plants below that help induce sweating in the Cold and Flu formula. 

About the ingredients:

Elderberries are an anti-viral and have anti-inflammatory properties. Its antioxidant properties help to fight respiratory issues as well. One study, published in 2009 in the Online Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacokinetics, found that patients taking 175 mg of elderberry extract four times daily for two days experienced significant improvement in symptoms compared to patients taking placebo. After the 48 hours of treatment, 28 percent of patients taking elderberry were void of all symptoms, 60 percent had relief from some symptoms and the remaining 12 percent experienced improvement to a lesser degree. A 2009 study published in Phytochemistry found that the flavonoids in elderberry bind to and prevent the H1N1, or swine flu, virus in test tubes. Researchers note that the H1N1 inhibition activity of elberberry is comparative to the known anti-influenza activity of the drug Tamiflu and amantadine, an organic compound often used in flu medications. Further studies in humans are required, however, to determine if the herb could prevent or treat swine flu in people. Elderberry may provide some benefit for sufferers of bacterial sinus infections. Popular in Germany, and to a lesser extent the United States, a popular product helps fight sinusitis and provides relief from symptoms. 

Yarrow “Yarrow, when administered hot and copiously, will raise the heat of the body, equalise the circulation and produce perspiration.” - Dr. John R. Christopher Yarrow’s potential in fighting colds and flu lies in a number of components capable of reducing these diseases’ symptoms. For example, volatile oil of yarrow, rich in sesquiterpene lactones and alkamides, has anti-inflammatory effects. Yarrow essential oil contains chamazulene and prochamazulene, components, which also have anti-inflammatory action and work similarly to camomile oil. Flavonoids found in the plant possess antispasmodic properties. The plant also shows antiseptic and antibacterial properties. As a matter of fact, this plain plant has strong potential in lessening flu and colds signs, since it reduces muscle pain, eliminates fever, and kills bacteria. Yarrow is especially helpful for the promotion of sweating. It is done by reducing inflammation, making tissues shrink, and increasing blood circulation. As a result, fever is reduced, and overall state of a patient is improved. (It may seem inadvisable to raise the body heat in cases of fever but by using yarrow we are supporting the body in responding to infection naturally.) 

Yerba Santa Yerba Santa is used for any wet, mucus-y lung or sinus condition, such as a head cold, seasonal allergies, or bronchitis. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory- so the two properties of decongestant and anti-inflammatory together are good reasons to add to an allergy formula. Taken during acute symptoms, yerba santa acts as a respiratory stimulant, decongestant and expectorant. It also produces a secondary action that dries up and reduces copious mucus. 

Lemon or Lime Balm It tastes fantastic, and has known anti viral properties. Lemon and Lime Balm both can be used to fight colds and flu, or help make bitter medicine taste much better. Lemon or Lime Balm also are used as a remedy for stress. This can be useful for cranky sick people, who need to calm down and get some rest. It is a mild, nutritive herb that is great to use every day. They can also act as a decongestants and antihistamines, helping with even chronic problems like asthma or allergies. They help with nausea, mild insomnia, and are safe for children. They combine well with peppermint and catnip to stimulate circulation, and can also be used for colds and flu and are most effective in the early stages of a cold. They are used to treat headaches and tiredness, mild depression, laryngitis, and colic. 

Peppermint or Catnip is another one of those "sweat inducing" (diaphoretic) herbs that assist the body in flighting off an infection. They are also great for queasy tummies and colic. They taste great and makes this tea delicious when you are feeling low. 

Bayberry Bayberry has potent astringent actions and can be very beneficial for the treatment of upper respiratory infections. It tightens the tissues, improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Taken internally, bayberry is beneficial for treating conditions which result in excessive mucus secretions, such as allergies and sinus infections. 

Buy Cold and Flu Tea for $7.50


*When making a medicinal tea, you must boil water, then steep the brew longer than a black tea (medicinal teas take 20-30 minutes) and you MUST cover the tea as it steeps. This means none of the essential oils (the medicines!) of the plants will escape with the steam.

Boline teas come in recyclable tea sacks- weights vary because some ingredients are heavier than others (we package by volume, not weight). We also include an unbleached cotton muslin infuser bag to assist you in making your tea.

Counterindications and warnings:You could be allergic to a plant or a plant family just like you could be allergic to a food. Use with standard commonsense precautions when trying new things. If any adverse reactions happen that coincide with the taking of this tea, discontinue use and consult your herbalist or doctor. 

Avoid medicinal doses of Lemon or Lime Balm when pregnant or if suffering from night sweats. People with either Grave's disease or thyroid-related illness should not use this herb except under medical supervision. Prolonged contact with balm plants or leaves may cause contact dermatitis (itching, stinging, burning, reddened or blistered skin) or it may sensitize you to other allergens. 

Bayberry dries up mucus very effectively, but discontinue use if it is overly drying to you (minor nosebleeds). 

Standard required disclaimer:The statements made here have not been approved by the FDA. These statements are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act for herbalists and people like me but not big pharma, who is in bed with the FDA. After umpteen million product recalls, birth defects and deaths, big pharma still doesn't have to label like this- even though this product has been used safely for much longer than any pharmaceutical preparation has. Just sayin'.

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