Originally published December 27 2010
Flax, Fenugreek and Fennel strongly protect lungs and large intestine
by Melissa Sokulski
(NaturalNews) In Traditional Chinese Medicine autumn is the season which corresponds to the metal element: the lungs and large intestine. Fall is a wonderful time of year to strengthen and rejuvenate these organs.
Signs that the lung and large intestine may be taxed and would benefit from rejuvenation include:
- Chronic cough
- Frequent colds and flu
- Excess mucous
- Constipation and/or diarrhea, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease
- Thick tongue coating
A diet high in meat, dairy, eggs and white flour can also contribute to difficulties with the metal element and often can show up as chronic issues of the lungs and large intestine. Eliminating or greatly reducing these foods from the diet is often helpful.
Drinking the following tea daily for at least four weeks in the fall protects, strengthens and clears mucous from the lungs and large intestine. The tea is mainly composed of fennel, flax, and fenugreek seeds and is sometimes called "Three F Tea." Seeds are best prepared as a decoction and need to be simmered for at least twenty minutes. Full information about preparation is found below.
Traditionally comfrey was added to this formula. Now comfrey has been replaced by nettles as the FDA has warned against the internal use of comfrey due to possible liver toxicity from its high concentration of certain alkaloids. Herbalists of the past used comfrey extensively to treat lung ailments and loosen mucous from the lungs. Peppermint is also added for flavor though that can be left out or replaced with licorice which adds sweetness. Licorice should be avoided by people with high blood pressure.
Three "F" Tea to Strengthen Lungs and Large Intestine:
- 1 Tbsp fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare)
- 1 Tbsp fenugreek seeds (Trigonella foenumgraecum)
- 1 Tbsp flax seeds (Linum usitatissimum)
- 1 Tbsp nettle leaf (Urtica urens) or 1 Tbsp comfrey leaf (Symphytum officinale) - the FDA warns against internal use of comfrey, see above.
- 1 tsp peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita) or 1 tsp licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) - do not use licorice if you have high blood pressure.
- 5 cups water
To Prepare Tea:
- Add fennel seeds, flax seeds, and fenugreek seeds (and licorice root, if using) to water and bring to a boil.
- Turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Turn heat off and add nettles or comfrey, steeping for 15 minutes.
- Add mint and steep 5 more minutes.
- Strain and drink at least 1 cup of tea, twice a day.
- Extra tea may be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Bensky and Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press. Seattle, WA.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books. Berkely, CA.
About the authorMelissa Sokulski is an acupuncturist, herbalist, and founder of the website Food Under Foot, a website devoted entirely to wild edible plants. The website offers plant descriptions, photographs, videos, recipes and more. Her new workbook, Wild Plant Ally, offers an exciting, hands-on way to learn about wild edible plants.
Melissa also runs The Birch Center for Health in Pittsburgh, PA, providing the best in complementary health care: acupuncture, therapeutic massage and herbal medicine.
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