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How herbal remedies help shake off stubborn infections

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​Daffodils and snowdrops nod sweetly to the hopeful promise of spring. But still the last weeks of winter can seem to drag, especially if you have a stubborn, lingering infection.

​This may be considered a minor ailment but can have a major impact on your wellbeing.

In this article I explain exactly how a combination of the right herbs can finally clear lingering or recurring colds, viruses, coughs, sore throat and sinusitis, along with urinary tract infections, mastitis and even a tooth or skin abscess. Discover with me how herbs can help give you the freedom to enjoy your life.


Persistent and recurring bugs and infectionsAt this time of year, people who become ill may continue to feel under the weather for days and even weeks afterwards. Or the symptoms seem to go away, only to return later – sometimes repeatedly.

When this happens, we easily become emotionally low and frustrated on top of the physical struggle to keep going. Good, vibrant health can feel like a distant memory and a constantly elusive goal. Every aspect of our lives seems to be affected.

Antibiotics may help at first but often their effectiveness seems to fade – and we all know that it’s important to avoid using them too often.

As a herbalist, I am genuinely passionate about helping people reach health, energy and a great quality of life – and I know how powerfully herbs can work to achieve that. That’s why I have created the Expert Herbalist infection range, synthesising the best combinations for boosting immunity and tackling these life- limiting conditions.


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Humans and herbs – naturally best friends

We humans have always had a synergistic relationship with nature. It is inherent in our evolution, especially when you consider that farming was introduced a relatively short time ago on the grand scale of our existence on this planet.

In our days of wandering before settling down as farmers, we would have relied on this interdependence to create a powerful medicine chest from foraging wild plants and ingesting berries and roots.

​These substances would maintain health and restore it when natural defences were breached by illness.

We are now aware from studying the body that the beneficial immune response occurs naturally when we eat berries. The same immune stimulating effect happens when we take herbs like astragulas , codonopsis, discorea or wild yam.

When these plants are grown wild and under stressful conditions, they become extra potent in stimulating powerful healing and immunity. This is why I chose them for the Expert Herbalist Resist formula, which boosts immunity and helps clear a range of unwanted bacterial infections and viruses from the system



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Understanding the body’s natural defences

Within the human body, our major mutual dependence is on natural bacteria. Bacteria protect the entrances to human eco systems like the airlock in a space station.

​They provide us with a first line of defence against intruders and, in return, we give them an equally beneficial place to settle in and call home.

Our second level of defence comes from within our own bodies – an immune system that is perfectly balanced. With this we can swiftly remove any invasion from our white blood cells.

Like the rest of nature, to ensure optimum functioning of our defences, our bodies need different phases and cycles for protection, growth, rest, development and reproduction. These phases can easily be disrupted when we experience distress or an unhealthy environment – or simply try to meet the pressures of modern living. And if the body does become unbalanced, then we are susceptible to viruses and infections.

How herbs dismiss infection

The ability to harness nature’s healing element of plants is a craft passed down through generations.

​The use of distinctive ‘tastes’ and qualities of herbs to create potent healing is the ‘gong fu’ or studied skill of the herbalist.

It’s interesting that animals also instinctively harness the qualities of plants to keep their system healthy. Cats eat to purge ingested hair by ejecting fur balls; dogs eat grasses to bring up unwanted substances. Even bees feed on mushroom compost to counteract toxins and parasites – all ingrained actions that happen at an intuitive level.

When we have an infection, the body experiences unwanted toxins, a build-up of heat and a stagnation of internal fluids. The right combination of herbs acts to reverse these processes – clear the toxins, cool the heat and get the stagnation moving again.

An effective way to do this is with a purge. So why would a purge help? Well, it can radically eliminate toxins and the accumulation of stagnated movement within the body. You might call it the secret gong fu or ancient knowledge for the speedy release of infection.

Venting the heat that accumulates in infection is equally important. Heat builds up and further weakens the system as it consumes fluids and causes natural flow to shut down, preventing it from moving against viscous fluids like catarrh. Just as we vent our cooking and fires, so we must keep our body’s energy and fluids moving for health.

  • Venting the upper body comes through sweating – and vomiting of course – and bleeding too.
  • Venting from below is through the urine and stools.
  • Venting is also possible through circulation
  • Venting can be done by cooling


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​Ways to put out a candle flameTo help explain the process of venting an infection, let’s consider the analogy of ways to put out a candle flame.

  • First you could create a bigger candle. This would be like strengthening the body’s system as a first move –but then you would have a bigger, stronger flame to put out.
  • Strengthening herbs include codonopsis, astragulas, wild yam and Chinese dodder seeds, pseudostellaria root. They are useful, but giving only these is not the primary focus in the craft of the skilled herbalist. As the Chinese say, Release the tiger first!
  • You could blow the flame out – but you need to blow hard enough, or it will increase, giving it more oxygen fuel. It will also cause a residue of trailing smoke as the embers burn for a while. This needs to be cleared – and in the body we use hot pungent herbs like gleditisia thorn to move qi and blood along with cool ones like reed rhizome that create an updraft.
  • You could snuff out the flame, starving it of oxygen – but you’d need to get rid of the mess left on your finger. So, in the body, when attacking the infection we also use antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal herbs to fully clear the surrounding areas of tissue that would also be ‘flammable’, making it resilient to the spread of infection. Suitable herbs are rich in berberine, their natures bitter, cool and cold. They include scutellaria baicalensis root, rhizoma coptidis, and phellodendron bark.
  • You could pour water on the flame – but this would create mess and leave it wet and cold for a long time. So, in the body, if you use too many cool and cold herbs they will create a blockage and area of pain or stagnation. If you use too few, they will lower the infection for a while but insulate it, so it might become stronger the next time it flares. Isatis root and leaf and forsythia fruit are useful herbs that are bitter and cold.

  • All of these ways of putting out a candle leave smoke. So, in the body, the residual moisture from cooling needs to be cleared with the right movement. Quite simply, this exits the body through sweat, urine and stool. So, like the cats and dogs, we can purge with the help of herbs– but gently and in combination with all the other essential processes.


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All this illustrates the combined ways in which a carefully selected mix of herbs can deal with the inflammation/infection phenomenon.

​When I created the Expert Herbalist infection range of formulas, I drew on my long experience of getting to know the ‘personality’ of herbs and observing what they can do.

The Resist formula is crafted to be flexible. A low dose for immune maintenance heads off colds, virus and various infections, while a higher dose effectively fights them once they have taken hold. The remaining formulas in the range are useful if you have a very specific infection – especially of the lingering or recurring type.

cough, chesty or drysinusitis with blocked nose and painful brow; a sore, raspy, swollen throat – all can be cleared from the body and each has its own formula. Urinary tract infections are often painful and bothersome – and they need careful treatment, especially during pregnancy or later life. That’s why I created three different formulas to choose from.

There is also a remedy for mastitis, since this painful condition in breast tissue can be so miserable for nursing mothers already tired from intermittent sleep. Finally, our Abscess formula is handy for an external abscess, for instance on the skin or a tooth – another painful condition.

​I would really like to think that we don’t only sell herbs, but also present nature’s opportunity for you to become well and contented. Everyone benefits when we feel free to become the person we want to be and enjoy the life we want to live.

Yours in humble reverence at the power of nature to heal…
Matthew Jackson

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