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Wed Dec 14, 2011, 05:24 PM

Star anise tea for influenza.

Of course you should see a doctor if you have serious symptoms (flu can be dangerous) but I know of a potential home remedy that worked for me, and might help you recover faster.

During the swine flu epidemic a couple of years ago, I got sick and tested positive for Influenza A via a nose swab. Because I have asthma, I got a prescription for Tamiflu but the pharmacy was all out of stock. I did some research on the drug and found out that the active ingredient in the drug Tamiflu (shikimic acid) comes from star anise. Since I was sick and scared and desperate, I decided to go directly to the source and see if it made any difference.

I made myself a concentrated flask of tea made from a LOT of star anise, plus ginger, orange zest, cloves, spearmint leaves, and honey. I simmered it down for a few hours until it was reduced by half and then let it cool to room temperature before straining it, so the end result was a lot stronger and more concentrated than ordinary tea. I drank a few ounces of this tea 3 times a day, and also took ibuprofen to help fight the high fever.

Not only was it absolutely delicious, but instead of it taking 2 weeks to recover (what my doctor predicted), it only took me 4 days to start feeling better. Now, I don't know for sure if the tea is what did it. I am ordinarily VERY skeptical of this sort of thing, which is why I don't really post much in this forum. I am also neither a chemist not a doctor, and I admit that it's POSSIBLE that the shockingly-quick recovery had nothing to do with the tea at all, and was just coincidental, or might even have been due to some kind of placebo effect. I honestly can never know that for sure.

However, making tea like this certainly can't HURT, unless you substitute it for actual medical care (which I do not recommend). But assuming that you see a doc and he sends you home to recover with a flu diagnosis and orders for bed rest and fluids, why not try the tea? The worst that can happen is that you'll get a few extra ounces of a very tasty fluid every day that makes your sore throat feel better. At best, you very well might recover faster.

Take it for what it's worth. I have nothing but my own experience to share here--no links with proof, and no websites that recommend this (at least not that I know of). But it worked for me, and for Rhythm too.

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Reply Star anise tea for influenza. (Original post)
Lyric Dec 2011 OP
Lucinda Dec 2011 #1
hermetic Dec 2011 #2
Why Syzygy Dec 2011 #3
Remember Me Dec 2011 #5
Why Syzygy Dec 2011 #6
Remember Me Dec 2011 #7
rosesaylavee Dec 2011 #8
WolverineDG Dec 2011 #4

Response to Lyric (Original post)

Wed Dec 14, 2011, 06:03 PM

1. Thank you! I am a firm believer in using natural methods. I use

Tart Cherry Concentrate now with excellent results for my chronic joint pain. (and with my doctors knowledge)

Thanks for your tea suggestion. I love the flavors anyway, and as a health aid, it is a bonus.

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Response to Lyric (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 09:33 AM

2. Some info

particularly of interest if you are one to seek it in the wild.

Star anise from China: Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for rheumatism, and the seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion. As a warm and moving herb, star anise is used to assist in relieving cold-stagnation in the middle jiao, according to Traditional Chinese medicine.

Modern pharmacology studies demonstrated that its crude extracts and active compounds possess wide pharmacological actions, especially in antimicrobial, antibacterial, antioxidant, insecticidal, analgesic, sedative and convulsive activities. It is the major source of shikimic acid, a primary ingredient in the antiflu drug (Tamiflu). Shikimic acid, a primary feedstock used to create the anti-influenza drug Tamiflu, is produced by most autotrophic organisms, but star anise is the industrial source. In 2005, there was a temporary shortage of star anise due to its use in making Tamiflu. Late in that year, a way was found of making shikimic acid artificially. Roche now derives some of the raw material it needs from fermenting E. coli bacteria. The 2009 swine flu outbreak led to another series of shortages as stocks of Tamiflu were built up around the world, sending prices soaring.

Do not confuse this with llicium floridanum (also known as purple anise, Florida anise, stink-bush, or star-anise), an evergreen shrub native to the south-eastern United states especially Florida and Louisiana. It is a close relative of the Chinese star anise but it is not edible. This plant is highly toxic.

Or Japanese star anise, which is also highly toxic.

All above info derived from Wikipedia.

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Response to Lyric (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 01:43 PM

3. Thank you!

I almost bought star anise while at the grocery last time. Now I will! I don't get colds/flu; mainly, I think, because I have very limited exposure to the guilty critters. But that looks like an awesome recipe I DO get bronchitis if I'm under too much stress (every 4-5 years).

However, I have an herbal story. In 2004 I woke up with a 'bite' on the under portion of my forearm. It was red and itchy. I put some Benadryl on it. Weeks went by and it only got worse. I determined it must have been a spider bite. I lived by the lake and there is all kinds of wildlife there. It started getting very red, spreading depth and width, and very painful. Recluse spider bites do this. I had no insurance. I also did not want someone cutting a chunk out of my arm. I didn't even have money to buy any kind of treatment. Research revealed that the primary ingredient in 'Sting Stop' is Echinacea. I did have tea bags. So I steeped one and taped it on my arm. It slowly stopped hurting so much, and after a short time completely healed. I have a small white scar. I now use Echinacea tea bags for other skin issues.

**** Obviously, I would have gone to ER had my homemade treatment not worked (only other choice). Those bites can get very nasty. So this is not an endorsement to bypass professional medical advice/treatment. ***

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Response to Why Syzygy (Reply #3)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 08:29 PM

5. If there's ever a next time -- or for ANY insect bite/sting


try plantain, which grows wild in most areas of the world. I love the plant -- it has ribbed leaves and is quite pretty. Sends spikes up with little flowers and then seed heads. It should also be available in bulk from places like Mountain Rose Herbs http://bit.ly/rQlScY or in capsules http://amzn.to/vH0KJs

What I love about the Amazon link (the 2nd) is that it shows the best picture I've seen of one of the two types of plantain, and I think this is called plantago lanceolata. The other one, more commonly found, is Plantago major Its leaves are rounder -- much more like violet leaves. It's a lovely, lovely plant for a lowly weed (imo).

If you are bitten or stung by any insect, the quicker you can act the quicker you'll experience relief, but it works later as well. Plantain "neutralizes toxins," and in my personal experience and that of my family, I've never used anything anywhere near as effective. This has helped me and my family with fire ant bites, wasp stings, plain ole mosquito bites, spider bites. One of my herbals says the root was also used on snake bites!

Now, clearly, if you have a medical emergency of that type or serious spider bites such as from a recluse spider, you should seek proper care, but in my case, I would use the plantain until I get there.

TO USE: grab up a leaf and chew on it a bit to release the juices and then apply directly to the site.

OR, open a capsule or two and blend with just enough liquid or gel of any kind to make a paste, then apply to the site. you can use water, beer, lake water, aloe vera juice or gel, whatever's at hand. Cover with a bandaid only to keep it in place and prevent the mess when it dries and starts cracking and falling off. If and when the pain or stinging or itch starts up again, reapply. I don't think I've ever had to apply more than twice, but twice is the norm for me.

OR, gather up some leaves, dry them in a very, very low oven or a dehydrator (after washing and allowing to dry) until dry. Then crumble slightly and store in a nice airtight jar. You can powder them with a mortar and pestle when the need strikes and then add liquid to make that paste. Or, if you're motivated, make a salve out your herbs.

Plantain has other uses as well. In fact, this is from the Amazon listing:

Help with skin complaints. Plantain is effective as a general detoxifier in the body, and works remarkably well as a remedy for colds, flu, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, fevers, hypertension, rheumatism, bladder problems, gastritis, ulcers, irritable bowel, cystitis, sinusitis, coughs, kidney stones, intestinal complaints, goiter, PMS, regulating menstrual flow, hoarseness, congestion, hay fever, diarrhea, and as a blood sugar stabilizer in diabetics

It's not one of the remedies I've got listed in my book on curing the common cold, but I'll have to give that use a try sometime. It's a WONDERFUL weed, as you can see.

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Response to Remember Me (Reply #5)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 10:08 PM

6. That's awesome

I have only very recently heard of plantain. I needed to hear your information to remind me. Plus I didn't know how well it works. Great to know.
I don't think we have any wild around here. I'll look again!

I've gone crazy for natural oils. I bet the plantain would make a good oil extract.

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Response to Why Syzygy (Reply #6)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 11:40 PM

7. Yes, in fact, that's how I made my own salve


put it in some oil in the oven for a while. 170 degrees was as low as my oven would go. After an hour or two, then strain and add beeswax!

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Response to Remember Me (Reply #5)

Sun Dec 18, 2011, 10:23 AM

8. This grows in my yard as I don't use herbicides.

I thought it was a broader leaf 'weed' that grows here. Thanks for the pic and the info. I think this was widely used during the Civil War too.

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Response to Lyric (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 07:50 PM

4. Thanks for posting

this is something I'm interested in.


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