Protecting the Lungs

Rory and Asia Maher
Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya, Poland

When reading novels written a century and more ago, the great preoccupation people had about dressing correctly for the weather, staying out of a draft, taking rest etc. is very noticeable. Sayings like, ‘Watch out or you’ll catch your death of a cold’ come to mind. It seems the general experience was that a simple cold or flu should not be taken lightly, and the fear was that the sickness could go to the lungs.

Modern medicine has certainly lessened our worries, but even today, the only time our children have ever needed medical attention (thankfully!) was when they had a lung infection. Now that we have the coronavirus sweeping through the population, it appears that lung complications are a major concern.

In Homa Therapy Our Last Chance, Shree Vasant writes that herbs growing in Homa atmosphere have greater medicinal properties. Asia and I have worked with herbs for 20 years at Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya, and actually, it was herbs that brought us together! Shree Vasant encouraged us to combine these herbs with Agnihotra ash powder and these preparations we call Homa Herb Remedies. We focus on traditional folk preparations that anyone can make at home. They are simple, yet potent.

We would like to share with you some remedies for strengthening and protecting the lungs. These could be useful not only during the coronavirus pandemic, but at any time we feel a cold, cough or flu coming along. Of course, you should always  consult a doctor immediately if there is difficulty in breathing or a fever. Also, if you are taking medication you should consult a doctor before using herbs.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic that also has antiviral properties and is very good for the lungs. Here is a simple recipe for Garlic Honey that is taken from our forthcoming Homa Herb book:

Garlic Honey is a wonderful preventative tonic. Garlic has antibiotic properties and honey is antiseptic. It can be taken for colds, coughs, lung problems, and general weakness. Peel 1 whole head of garlic and crush the cloves by pounding them in a mortar and pestle. Then add 2 tablespoons honey and keep pounding until the garlic becomes transparent. Place the garlic honey mixture in a suitable jar and add 250 grams of honey and a tablespoon of Agnihotra ash. As a tonic or preventative, take ½ teaspoon daily, and as a remedy take ½ teaspoon 3 times daily. It can be taken as is, or diluted in warm water with a squeeze of lemon juice. Add directly to the skin for cuts, bites, and wounds.

You can also add organic Turmeric powder to the mixture, and eating Parsley, which is also high in vitamin C, can lessen the garlic breath smell.

Most of us know about rubbing ghee and Agnihotra ash ointment on the chest and back, but you can also add herbs to the preparation. Thyme is very strengthening and protective for the lungs. Here’s a recipe for making a Thyme Medicated Ghee. There are 2 versions – the traditional Ayurvedic method and the quick European method:

Ayurvedic Medicated Ghee Preparation
Medicated ghee is a popular Ayurvedic preparation. The traditional method is to add 50 grams dried herb (or 100 grams fresh herb) to 800 ml of pure water and bring to a boil. Then simmer until it has reduced to 200 ml (a quarter of its volume). Add 200 grams of organic ghee and continue to simmer gently until all the water has evaporated. Then remove the plant material by passing the mixture through a sieve into a pre-warmed dark glass container. Add 22 grams of Agnihotra ash powder and stir. In this technique both the water soluble and oil soluble properties of the herb are extracted.

Folk Method: There is a European folk tradition of making salves and ointments using lard or butter that can easily be replaced with ghee for better results. This method uses fresh herbs. First, heat ghee in a pot to a liquid and then stir in the finely chopped herb. Simmer gently for 15 minutes and then remove the pot from the heat source, cover and leave overnight. The following day again warm the mixture to a liquid and strain into another pot. Add Agnihotra ash powder in the ratio given by Monika Koch of 9 grams ghee to 1 gram Agnihotra ash. Pour the medicated ghee through a strainer into suitable jars.

You can also add a few drops of Thyme or Oregano essential oils to some Agnihotra Ash Ointment for a very quick and easy chest rub.

Fenugreek Seed Tea is a wonderful remedy to help fight respiratory tract infections, reduce fever, and remove mucus and toxins from the body. To make the tea, gently simmer 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water for 10 minutes. Add a pinch of Agnihotra ash powder per cup. You can improve the flavour with a little lemon juice and sweeten with honey if needed. Drink 3 cups a day.

Steam Inhalation
This is a traditional method for clearing head colds, congested respiratory tracts and sinuses. To make a steam inhalation, pour boiling water into a large pot and add 1-2 tablespoons of the necessary herbs and a teaspoon of Agnihotra ash powder. Then lean your head over the rising steam and cover both head and pot with a towel. Breathe in deeply through your nose with eyes closed for 10-15 minutes.

Because of the intense heat you may start with your head a certain distance away from the steaming pot and lower it closer as it becomes more bearable. After the treatment, keep your head warm by wrapping the towel around your head. It’s best to wait at least 30 minutes before going outside in cold weather.

Good herbs to use are those with volatile oils such as Thyme, Sage, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Chamomile and Pine Needles. You can also add a tablespoon of sea salt to the inhalation and a few drops of essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Oregano or Pine.

As you can see, many of these remedies above use common household ingredients. Following are some remedies that use herbs that maybe are not so well known to some.

Medicated Honey
If you happen to have Elecampane growing in your garden, you can make a wonderful cough remedy by grating the fresh root into a jar and then covering it with raw honey and adding Agnihotra ash powder. This preserves the herb and the honey will become imbued with the medicinal properties. Make a tea using a teaspoon of the medicated honey to a cup of warm water and a squeeze of lemon juice. You can also use this method with fresh Echinacea root which is antiviral, while Marshmallow root is very soothing for painful coughs.

Flu Tea
Here’s a tea that we make using easily available herbs in our climate for flu. It’s not specifically for the lungs, more an all-round tea:1 part Echinacea
1 part Elderberry
1 part Elderflower
1 part Yarrow
1 part Peppermint
1 part Chamomile

Simmer the Elderberries for 10 mins and then switch off the heat and add all the other herbs plus Agnihotra ash powder. Let steep for 10-15 mins. You can mix the other herbs together and use about 1 tablespoon per cup.

Try to include Elderberry in your mixture, as it has powerful anti-viral properties. Other very good herbs include Lime flowers, Boneset, Catnip, Tulsi, Ginseng, Oregano, Sage, Thyme, Ginger and Cayenne. Drink regularly and sip throughout the day. If flu is going around, then the above mixture would also make a good preventative tea.

In times of seasonal change, pay attention to the wild herbs that grow in your area. Often these herbs are good for the lungs. For example, here in Poland, the first herbs that appear after winter are Coltsfoot, Lungwort, and Primrose, and then Wild Garlic. Nature knows what we need, and all these herbs are good for the respiratory tract and the immune system. If you live in the countryside and are doing Agnihotra regularly, then the herbs growing wild have strong medicinal properties. Always identify an herb fully before using and don’t pick from roadsides where cars drive. Also, just harvest the top part of the herb so that it can grow back.

Thank you for this opportunity to share what we hope are some useful tips during these difficult times. Please boost your immune systems by keeping good nutritional diets of Homa or organic foods. Avoid burdening the body with toxic overload from chemically laden and processed foods. If you have to eat conventionally grown foods, remember that some years ago we were advised to soak these vegetables and fruits in Agnihotra Ash Solution for 24 hours before eating them. Avoid white flour and white sugar and at the first sign of any infection, it is advisable to eliminate all dairy products from your diet as they are mucus forming.

Of course, you can always take supplements with Cat’s Claw, Echinacea, and Elderberry, which are all antivirals and boost the immune system. Vitamin C and D are also recommended.

Studies have shown that stress greatly weakens our immune systems and is the cause of a large number of chronic diseases. So, make sure you are getting enough sleep and don’t give in to panic. Practice deep breathing exercises especially at Agnihotra time, which help calm the nervous system, increase lung capacity, and also oxygenate the cells in the body for greater health.

We all know we are protected by performing Agnihotra fire and there have been amazing stories of protection from all around the world. So, let’s not give in to fear, but do add easy and simple Homa Herb Remedies to your arsenal of healing tools.

Thank you!
Ecovillage Bhrugu Aranya, Poland