This is a nice little recipe to use when there’s deep, hard congestion low in the chest and possible inflammation and infection. It’s also good for simple sinus congestion. All three of these herbs are traditional lung and sinus herbs, and have the total effect of instant (though somewhat temporary) congestion, reducing inflammation and tightening up the tissues while reducing infection or the chance of infection.
1 Part Bee Balm (Monarda spp. the spicier the better)
1 Part Moonwort (Artemisia spp.)
1 Part Rabbit Tobacco/Cudweed/Everlasting (Gnaphalium spp. and related species.)
You can just take anywhere from a pinch to a small handful (depending on your tolerance of the smell and the strength of your herbs) of each and toss it into a small pot of just boiled water (about a quart) and cover for a few minutes. Then take a towel and place your face (carefully) over the open pot. Be careful not to burn yourself but to get close enough breathe in a lot of the vaporized essential oils. Try to stay under there as long as the water is hot and there’s plenty of steam. If you can’t, take short breaks while covering the pot and then go back under.
Follow this up with a hot cup of a good relaxant diaphoretic tea (in the case of tight, hot chest congestion) and some kind of smelly chest rub (Birch, Pine, Eucalyptus or Moonwort can all work). Be sure to keep warm and either soak your feet (you could use the steam herbs again, just reheat them, strain, and stick your feet in there) or put on fuzzy slippers (preferably sheepskin and not pink plush, but whatever works for you). If possible, do this treatment at least three times a day, it really does make a difference. If you can’t (or won’t) do it that often, at least do it before bed and save yourself the misery of trying to drift off to sleep while nearly breaking your ribs with those deep, hard paroxysms (not nearly as much fun as it sounds) of coughing.