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Hedge Mustard lozenges

Preparing to go on holiday is always a very busy time for me, as I try not only to see my normal daily contingent of patients, but also to make up prescriptions for people while I am away.

I am also involved in the final edits for my latest book on Stress & Fatigue, and so I arrived in Malta absolutely exhausted.

Naturally, I caught a cold on the aeroplane, but did not have any herbs to hand. As the infection moved into my lungs, I knew that I had to find something, and popped into a local pharmacy to ask if they had eucalyptus lozenges. To my delight, they did not, but they did have lozenges made with Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), which is another of those herbs which we don’t pay enough attention to.

It was used in folk medicine for coughs, bronchial catarrh and chest infections. I wrote about a similar herb called Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) in my book Secrets from a Herbalist’s Garden, a much-maligned invasive plant, but for us weed lovers, providing a free and delicious remedy for chest infections. This plant belongs to the mustard family, and the mustard pungency helps to displace thick sticky phlegm, whilst the garlicky essential oils provide a disinfecting remedy for both the lungs and the bladder.

A great way to use Garlic mustard or Hedge Mustard is to chop it finely and pile onto cream cheese or humus and then onto toast or fold into an omelette.