Our lovely friend Angela from Hertfordshire Herb Society sent us this extract from their newsletter
Whist laid low with a tickly cough that was a menace at night I read that if on retiring, you massaged your feet with a generous dollop of Vicks Vapour Rub and slipped on a pair of socks, that the coughing would cease within minutes of snuggling into bed. Hah, a likely story, I thought. I didnt have any Vicks and instead I used Ache Ease Warmer that Karen and Fiona make and it worked! So, please try this at home using whatever you have to hand.
Our Ache Ease is a balm that we make for any aches and pains -it contains comfrey and heather infused almond oil, and rosemary n mint essential oils -in last years batch the comfrey and heather was collected in North Wales, Betws y Coed nr Snowdonia in fact the Heather was from a place called Devils Kitchen or Ceredwins Cauldron hehe....
"Why might it work?"
Some of the ingredients i.e. mint & rosemary essential oils and the horseraddish, act to dilate the blood vessels in the feet, and this triggers a reflex that quiets the cough.
The remedy wouldn't have seemed so strange to doctors a hundred years ago, who often prescribed liniments and poultices containing mild irritants such as mustard, garlic, or camphor to the chest and to the soles of the feet to relieve symptoms of colds and whooping cough, these preparations have had the effect of stimulating blood flow to the skin. Catalogued under the heading of "counter-irritants" in early twentieth-century medical texts, such treatments were based on the principle that "internal morbid processes may at times be relieved by creating external irritations"
That's fascinating. I wouldn't have thought about treating coughs via the feet! I shall have to add it to my list.
During one of my recent workshops we spent some time discussing the different kinds of cough - irritant, expectorant, wet, dry, warm, cold, infected, lingering, allergic, asthmatic, nervous etc and the different herbs you would consider to address each kind.
It's almost a case of, "A cough by any other name....."
March 8 2010, 12:50 PM
What about the preverbial feet being soaked in a Mustard Bath? Could this be a similar action/re-action. A very old folk remedy.
March 8 2010, 3:51 PM
Its really amazing everyone in our house hold has become my guinea pigs this last week -there is a nasty irritating, productive cough going about and normally at night loads worse but not with a little ointment on our feet -hehe brilliant.
Your workshops sounds great Sarah -I often have most though provoking insights into differing lung tonics but I nearly always include liquorice (except of course with raise blood pressure) because its is so effective in many types of cough.
I am so happy today been out there digging all morning in the Sun yipee
love love love
March 10 2010, 9:39 AM
I've used this method on the feet for a number of years on teh children as well as myself. In reflexology the chest is represented on teh ball of the feet and therefore by placing the vicks or equivalent on the ball of the feet it is absorbed straight to the chest and lungs and therefore relief for the cough.
When I tell people about this they think I am mad but once they have tried it it really works.
Children love it too as you can make a game of it by tickling their feet!!!
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