I was introduced to Goldenseal when I lived in Jamaica. I remember it being used as a mouthwash for its antimicrobial properties. So when a painful sore developed on my gums and persisted for over a week without improvement, this herb immediately came to mind. Admittedly, I did not act right away on my gut instincts. Instead, I let the sore linger thinking it would go away on its own. But when it did not I took a trip to our local Atlanta health market – Sevananda. I purchased what I needed to make this mouth rinse and rinsed with it about every 4 hours while I was awake. By the next morning, it was gone – completely!
I am not surprised by its’ effectiveness. Not one bit. I believe in and have witnessed first hand the healing power of plant medicine. But I do have to say that I am always amazed at Nature. And always amazed and grateful at the synchronicity of timing. Just days later, COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic and the first cases were diagnosed in Georgia. I remember looking at the bottle of mouthwash that had fulfilled its’ purpose and wondering, “why are you really here?” I had never before had a mouth sore. And now I had this bottle of mouth rinse that I had no further use for – or so I thought. And all of a sudden it made sense to me. This mouth rinse wasn’t just about healing my gums and it wasn’t just about me.
At the time I was still working in the hospital frequently, schools and businesses hadn’t yet shut down, and social distancing was not yet the norm. On the day COVID-19 was deemed a pandemic I watched a video to learn more about the virus. The speaker was Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease epidemiologist, regents professor, and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. I listened to him describe how fast the virus replicates in the nasal passages and throat of those who become infected with it, having a viral load many times higher than other commonly known viruses, and days before the person would exhibit symptoms. With this information, it became clear to me that anything I could do to reduce the virulence, or severity, of the virus (should I come in contact with it) would be beneficial. So I began to gargle with this rinse.
Now, do I have any proof that this works against the coronavirus? Nope. Not even a little bit. BUT…I trust my intuition. And I trust the timing of when and why this concoction showed up in my life. And I know each of its components to be either anti-microbial, astringent, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and/or analgesic.
This brings me to the real reason I am sharing this today. We are living through – and many of us participating in – the largest Civil Rights Movement known in history. And many of us are out on the front lines, protesting in large crowds – making our voices heard. SEEING THIS MOVES ME TO MY CORE! I have all the feels right now as I write this. So I am here sharing how to make this mouth rinse/gargle with you in hopes that it can help to protect us all as we continue to live through a pandemic and yet feel called to put ourselves in situations where the risk of exposure is higher. I believe this to be my role. Contributing to the collective healing and being a supportive, safe harbor is not the loudest form of protest, I realize. But it’s a huge part of what I am here for and how I am meant to cancel the darkness. To offer support and hold space. To feel every wave of deep emotion coming through and transmute that shit. To sing until I crack. To dance until I release. And to do it for every being on the planet.
Tea Tree Oil
Additional options: Ginger, Rosemary, Aloe Vera, Garlic
Side note: I added rose petals because…well, I add rose petals to just about anything. It’s an energetic show of love and appreciation in my eyes. But you can just extend love from your heart to your herbs, no rose petals truly needed.
I use a french press for this as I am essentially steeping herbs to make a tea. That’s really all there is to it. If you do not have a french press, no worries. Simply use any container suitable for steeping hot water – even a pot is more than sufficient.
I boil enough water for my french press, which is about 32 oz.
In the interim, I add the ingredients to the bottom of the french press. Fresh or dried ingredients work perfectly fine, though I used fresh wherever possible. If you are only able to find goldenseal root in powdered form, that is fine. That is what I used also. Simply open 4-6 of the capsules and empty the powder into your vessel. I am liberal with the herbs, never measuring. If I had to guess, I would say at least 2 tbsp of each. At the time of gathering your ingredients, don’t be shy to connect with them. Show them tenderness and gratitude as you wash them, chop them. The photos I used in this post were not taken initially to be used in a blog post. They literally were taken just to show the herbs love and attention (because EVERYTHING responds to love ♥).
Once the water is boiling, I pour it over the herbs and cover it. I let it steep for several hours, overnight even. Then I strain it off and add the essential oils. Voila!
Now store in a glass jar and refrigerate.
Swish, gargle and spit up to 4 times per day if you feel you are in higher-risk situations where exposure to COVID-19 is more likely. Otherwise, morning and night are all I do as prevention.
Additional options are provided for you. Aloe vera is very soothing and healing. Consider it if you have a sore throat.