So, the Texas Deep Freeze bit us, or more specifically, bit our pipes - and made them burst - in 7 places. Our power was cycled off at least 6 times - twice for 15 hours each, and there was no recovering from that. The first set of four pipe bursts occurred over our family room and kitchen and the second set burst over the kitchen, laundry, and guest bathroom. My poor husband ran outside right away and was on his hands and knees sweeping snow out of the way trying to find the cover of the water shut off valve. He got it turned off in less than five minutes, but the damage was done. The ceilings began collapsing the next day (when the temperature got high enough to start melting the ice). The picture below was taken right after the first section of ceiling fell. Three more sections fell after that one (one in the kitchen), and one other section had to be cut out in yet a third room.
By now, you're wondering what this has to do with an herb called Yerba Santa. As you can see in the picture, when the ceiling fell, so did all the fiberglass insulation that was in the ceiling. Even though friends came over to help us clean up the mess and tarp the gaping hole, a lot of that insulation dust remained in the house, and we've been breathing it for a few weeks now. Several days ago, it finally started affecting us. Our respiratory systems are letting us know they are not happy - swollen sinus passages are making breathing through the nose difficult.
Enter Yerba Santa. My goal was to make an herb blend to open the sinuses, reduce inflammation, and keep our lungs open as well. After a bit of brainstorming, I came up with some herbal combinations which I'll share below. The featured herb in these blends is Yerba Santa for the sinuses.
This lovely herb, which is also known as Mountain Balm, Bear's Weed, Gum Bush, and Consumptive Weed, is native to the US western states of California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. It's warming and drying with a pungent, bitter, sweet flavor.
Yerba Santa works to thin mucus and decongest the sinuses and lungs. It also helps the body expel excess mucus while toning and tightening the epithelial tissue of the mucous membranes. It has been used traditionally to facilitate relief for those with colds, flu, congestion of the lungs and sinuses, hay fever, sinusitis, pleurisy, smoker's cough, laryngitis, pneumonia, pharyngitis, and sore throat. It's also used to mellow out the flavor of very bitter herbs.
The first tea I made for us was designed to prevent/eliminate a potential sinus infection. I used equal parts of Yerba Santa, Elderberry, Mullein, Cardamom, and White Willow Bark. I blended 2 tsp of each herb, then poured 1.7 L (57 oz) just boiled water over the blend. The next morning, we each added 1 cup of the infusion to 1 cup of coffee. At noon and again in the evening, we added 1 cup of water to 1 cup of tea and sipped it over a few hours. We used this blend for two days and it helped with reducing some of the headache and malaise.
The next brew I made was similar, but I switched two of the herbs. This time, I included Yerba Santa, Cardamom, Violet, Sage, and Mullein. Here, I was specifically trying to clear out our sinuses because they were almost completely blocked. I again poured 1.7 L of just boiled water over 10 tsp herb blend (2 tsp each herb) and allowed it to steep overnight. We drank this for three days (3 cups per day). It did help reduce the swelling in the sinuses, but didn't completely resolve it. It also tasted pretty good.
Perhaps, if we were to continue drinking this blend for another few days, it would help more, but we've lost the use of our kitchen for a couple of days while the ceiling is being replaced. My plan is to make the next brew with just the Yerba Santa to see what it does by itself.
As a final note, I did check the safety information before creating my herbal blends. There are no reports of adverse reactions or adverse events with the use of Yerba Santa. Remember, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please check with your health care practitioner before using any herb.
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.