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Ciara O'Meara - Herbal aids to boost immunity

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ciara O'Meara - Medical Herbalalist


Onion Syrup Supertonic: take daily, very beneficial.

Can be taken it even when well, not just when sick. As a It's preventative it has anti-bacterial and anti-funghal properties, you won't notice any changes as such unless you suffer with a lot of phlegm in which case it should help to liquefy and reduce it. Helps keep away bugs or infections.

. Bag of organic onions
. Root of ginger
. Garlic
. Jar of honey
. some unrefined cane sugar
. Fennel seeds
. Aniseeds

Many of us will have a bag of onions in the house so this is a simple and economic medicine to prepare. Onions have a heating quality; here are some facts about the medicinal properties of onions.

. They are a rich source of the element sulphur; this element helps to detox and purify the body, and helps on the breakdown of proteins, this is of benefit to those on high protein diet ( such as those on intensive exercise regimes), it is also needed for new cell formation as it is essential in the formation of collagen,
. Traditionally used for breaking up and reducing phlegm due to their warming and heating properties

. Onions contain plant chemicals with bactericidal, anti-fungal and anti-protozol (parasite) activities.

. Onion contains quercitin; this is a bioflavanoid which can help to improve the health of capillaries and connective tissues this makes it an important tool in cardiovascular health. Another benefit is that it helps to inhibit the release of histamine it is thought in this regard to help with conditions brought about by allergy. Quercitin is also present in many other fruits and vegetables.

How to make the syrup:

You will need:

. Unrefined cane sugar or local honey (
. Organic onions
. Optional extras: garlic, aniseed, fennel, fresh stem ginger.

1. Take a large Jam jar, chop up as many onions as required to fill the jar.
2. If you are using sugar place the onions in the jar, layer up with a sugar layer followed by a layer of raw onions until you fill the jar, leave for 3-4 days and strain out the contents label and store in a cool place
3. If you are using the honey method fill the jar with raw onions and pour the jar of honey on top until the jar is full, leave for 1-2 days and strain out the contents label and store in a cool place.


Garlic (not for the faint hearted!): add as many cloves as liked chopped or crushed at raw onion stage. Added anti-bacterial power to your syrup.

Aniseed & Fennel seeds: Add these if you are planning on giving the medicine to younger children it will add flavour to the syrup and improve digestion. Simply add a few aniseeds and 1-2 teaspoons of fennel seeds grind up with a mortar and pestle before pouring into the jar on top of the onion.

Ginger (fresh): Fresh ginger is warming and will help clear congestion and phlegm in the upper respiratory tract. Added to the syrup it will make it ideal for pouring on your morning porridge warming up the stomach and boosting circulation first thing in the morning!
Method chop or grate an inch of fresh ginger (or more if you like it!) into the jar at the stage of adding the raw onion.

There are lots of other options such as fresh orange, lemon or lime rind to flavour your syrup.

Elderberry extract (sambucol - a concentrated elderberry syrup): Excellent for kids and adults. Can add it into the onion syrup. Tastes really nice, has a black colour - deep purple. Her nieces love it, call it their yum yum!

Elderberry has demonstrated proven antiviral activity. It has a lot of antioxidants and vitamin C. It has been proven to reduce length of recovery from flu by 50%. It tastes great and could be added to your onion syrup as part of a daily immune boosting tonic.
Directions as per product.

Horseradish tonic:

You will need:
. 1 fresh root of horseradish- ground down this root vegetable grated
. (can be got in Asian stores / Fallon and Byrne) and mix with
. Apple cider vinegar

1. Grate the Horseradish and steep it in a jar of the vinegar, leave it for 3-4 days then sieve out the grated Horseradish and you are left with your Horseradish vinegar ( this is called an Oxymel)
2. If you're quite phlegmy, take this every morning in the winter months. Put a teaspoon into water and have in the morning or Leave it stew/steep for 3 or 4 days before using. Then strain it out and have your tonic.
3. Can mix it with olive oil and use it as a dressing for vegetables or salad. Or mix with mayonnaise on a sandwich.

Astragalus root Tea

Simmer the root on the stove for 15/20 minutes

. Astragaulus root - dried chopped root - (Chinese/Asian shops, Down to Earth shop on South Great George's Street etc).

This is a Chinese herb with immune boosting and anti-viral properties. It has a particular affinity for the lungs and upper respiratory tract, it can be used as a preventative to help boost the immune system.

Herbal inhalation

To be inhaled in a bowl of hot water - could do it every day. If you felt a cold coming on you could increase it three times a day if convenient. to 3 times a day. Ideal for those who suffer with ongoing sinus problems.

You will need
. Eucalyptus smithii oil
. Peppermint oil

1. Take three drops of each and drop into a bowl of boiling , steaming water.
2. Position your head over the bowl and inhale slowly and deeply as long as can be tolerated while holding a towel over your head.
3. To be put in a bowl with water and inhaled under a towel

Or put 10 drops in a bath, or 3 for a child's bath
If you've a tendency of sinus problems eucalyptus smithii and peppermint - put them in bowl 2 drops of each

Anti-infective skin oil:

Rubbed on skin or put in a bath (10 drops for an adult bath, or 3 for a child) - probably more beneficial for kids. Use it once an evening, or after a bath, wrap them in pyjamas

You will need:

. Tea tree oil
. Lavender oil
. Sweet almond oil carrier- base oil,which dilutes the impact of the other oils on the skin

Tea tree is (antibacterial anti-microbial) and lavender is both (antibacterial and relaxing) oils - put them in the bath (10 drops), or in a bowl and allow steam inhalation - (put a few drops in a bowl water and put towel over your head.

The sweet almond oil can be used as a base oil; add 3 drops of each essential oil into 30 mls of base oil. Its ideal to rub the oil onto the skin around the lungs and around the glands below the ears and under the throat.

Never use undiluted essential oil on the skin.

He lavender has a nicer smell than the tea tree - antiseptic and anti bacterial properties relaxes the nerves - 10 drops in a bath. For a child divide by 3.

Or could rub it on the skin by mixing it with sweet almond oil - good for children, glands. Never rub an essential oil on the skin too caustic - dilute it safer.

Echinacea - tablets

Take with water / food daily as a preventative

There are two types of Echinacea species E. angustifolia and E.purpurea. It is generally accepted that the angustifolia is the stronger of the two species in immune stimulating action.

Most research done on this herb focuses on the root portion of the plant having proven effectiveness. It is important when buying the tincture or capsules that you look for this. While the angustifolia is the stronger in action of the two species, research has found a synergy in action between the two types of Echinacea.

Proven effective as an immune stimulant when taken at the first sign of a cold or flu. It reduces the severity and duration of the infection. Can also be taken as a preventative throughout the winter months taken for a few weeks at a time with a short break, then continue treatment.

Caution if you are sensitive to members of the daisy family of plants. Chamomile and Mmarigolds are also members of this family. Allergic reaction is extremely rare but can happen in sensitive individuals

Definitely Onions are the number one recommendation, raw or steeped in sugar, or cooked.


. Bag of organic onions - some chopped in advance
. Root of ginger - some grated
. Garlic - some crushed/chopped
. Jar of honey
. Some unrefined cane sugar - for show
. Fennel seeds - for flavour and medicinal properties
. Aniseeds - nice taste for kids
. Elderberry Extract - nice taste for kids - can be added into your syrup

2. A Tonic:
. 1 root of horseradish- root vegetable - grated - Asian stores / Fallon and Byrne
. Apple cider vinegar
. Using it as a tincture - take a teaspoon in boiling water as a drink, breaks up phlegm, so if you have a phlegmy consititution, really warming, the Chinese use it a lot. Use it fir5st thing in the morning.

3. A Tea
. Astragulus root - it comes dried, chopped root - Chinese shop - Down to Earth George's Street / Asian store; boil/simmer the root for 15-20 mins.

4. To Be Inhaled
. Eucalyptus smithii oil
. Peppermint oil - same as mint
. 2 drops of each to be put in a bowl with water and inhaled under a towel

5. Rubbed On Skin
. Tea tree oil
. Lavender oil
. Sweet almond oil
. 2 drops of each or depends on what area you're using it.
. 30mls of sweet almond carrier/base oil, you'd put 3 drops of each. Rub on the glands, under arms, behind and around ears, down the neck. For kids around the chest, near the lungs.

6. Echinacea Tablets - take with a drink or with food

. Tea of the Astragulus root - dried chopped root - Chinese shop - Down to Earth George's Street / Asian store, simmer the root for 15-20 mins.
. Tea tree (antibacterial anti-microbial) and lavender oils - put them in the bath (10 drops), steam inhalation - put a few drops in a bowl water and put towel over your head. Nicer smell than the tea tree - antiseptic and anti bacterial properties relaxes the nerves - 10 drops in a bath. For a child divide by 3.
. Or could rub it on the skin by mixing it with sweet almond oil - good for children, glands. Never rub an essential oil on the skin too caustic - dilute it safer.
. If you've a tendency to have sinus problems use eucalyptus smithii and/or peppermint oils - put them in a bowl - 2 drops of each. Or in a bath - 10 drops of each.

Where to buy:

Buy most of these food products in Asian / Chinese shops. Echinacea/oils in a health food store, pharmacies etc. Echinacea available in Dunnes, Tesco etc.

For more info go to Ciara's website:

The Greenfield Clinic
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The Greenfield Clinic

Consultation by appointment only
Tel 087 2440301

Prices/Stockists/Relevant Information
Health food stores / Asian food stores