Along with the cold weather, winter also brings coughing, sneezing, sore throats and congestion. Ease your symptoms naturally with these powerhouse herbs that can be consumed dried or in the form of teas or extracts. As always, speak with your doctor before trying any of these remedies, as some should not be taken with certain medications, while pregnant or with specific strains of illness.
Elderberry is shown to shorten the duration of cold and flu symptoms by as much as four days. To consume, follow the package directions to make a tasty homemade syrup at the first sign of symptoms or use Sambucol, elderberry extract available in tablets or syrup.
The roots, leaves and flowers of Echinacea are believed to be medicinal and are popularly used for colds and to boost the immune system. Take ½ to 1 teaspoon of extract every two hours until symptoms are gone, opt for the tea form or take a 1,000 milligram supplement three times daily.
Elderflower can promote sweating, which can reduce fever. Look for it in cold formulas, or make a tea by pouring boiling water over a teaspoon of dried elderflower. Allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain and drink.
Garlic boosts your immune system health, and studies show those who take a daily garlic supplement are less likely to get colds than those who do not. Supplements are the best way to go, but you can also get the same benefits by chewing a clove of garlic once a day for prevention or twice a day to get over a cold or flu.
Eucalyptus can improve congestion, helping you breathe easier. Heat water in a pot until it’s almost boiling, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil, turn off the heat, drape a towel over your head and the pot, and breathe for about five minutes.
Ginger is an antiviral herb that can prevent and treat colds, as well as sore throats, inflammation and congestion. It also has a sedative effect, encouraging rest. Simmer fresh or dried ginger for 20 minutes, strain it, then add a touch of honey and lemon, if desired. Ginger is also great in a fruit smoothie.
Soothing properties make mullein a great cough treatment. Steep mullein leaves in boiling water for 20 minutes, strain, add honey and lemon to mask its bitter taste, and drink. You may want to strain it twice to remove the tiny hairs that can irritate the throat when consumed.
Licorice contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, found to have a strong antiviral effect. Benefit from its immune-strengthening and throat-soothing properties by making a tea that combines a pinch of licorice with mullein leaf.
Fresh or dried thyme has many bacterial compounds, making it a go-to for cold season. In addition to its relieving properties, it can help enhance your cough to clear out your lungs faster. Thyme is most easily consumed in soups or stews, but you can also put it into a pot of near-boiling water, drape a towel over your head and breathe it in, which will help loosen mucus in your chest.
While mint may not beat down the flu or cold, it can help ease the symptoms while you’re fighting it. Menthol, a main property in mint, helps open nasal passages, and its soothing essence can aid in cooling a sore throat. Drink an herbal mint tea or add some mint leaves to a pot of near-boiling water, drape a towel over your head and breathe it in.
Important for overall health, tulsi contains antiviral and antibacterial compounds to help prevent illness over time. It may also be effective in bringing down a high temperature. In addition it can help improve cough and lessen the symptoms of a sore throat. Make a tea, and try to drink it a couple times daily.
This helps sooth sore throats and dry up sinuses. For a sore throat, make a strong tea by pouring 4 ounces of water over 2 teaspoons of dried fresh sage. Cool to room temperature, and gargle until the mixture is gone. Repeat three times daily. For sinuses, drink a cup of regular-strength sage tea.