Herbs for cold and flu
Many a person has been handed down a family recipe of herbs for cold and flu.
One such recipe we make once a year, when not sick to have on hand when you are, is a good old fashioned Fire cider!
Learn how to make your own fire cider here for when the cold or flu comes knocking on your door.
Being sick, even when you’re home in bed, isn’t fun. The combination of body aches, fever, chills, and nasal congestion can be enough to make anyone miserable.
There are plenty of home remedies that can alleviate your symptoms and get you back to normal. If you still feel sick after a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have trouble breathing, have a rapid heartbeat, feel faint, or experience other severe symptoms, get medical help sooner.
Before cures came in a bottle, people often used herbs to treat common ailments. And these medicinal plants are just as useful now for fighting congestion, coughing, and other cold symptoms as they were before the advent of modern medications.
Keep reading to see what cold and flu remedies you can conjure up at home.
How to treat cold symptoms with herbs
To help you decide what to herbs to buy, here’s a quick look at what you can expect from each of the herbs featured below.
Soothe your sore throat with:
Clear your congestion with:
Quiet your cough with:
Rest and recover with:
- Lemon balm
Just generally feel better with:
How to make a healing infusion in 5 simple steps
The easiest way to reap the benefits of the herbs above is to make a strong tea known as an infusion:
- Bring water to a boil.
- Pour hot water over plant leaves and/or flowers.
- Allow the concoction to steep for 10–15 minutes.
- Sip the infusion from your favorite mug.
- Take deep breaths of the steam, too, for even more health-fortifying effects.
Other steps to take to make you feel better and recover sooner:
- Drink water and fluids – Drinking water and other fluids is even more important when you have the flu. This is true whether you have a respiratory flu or a stomach flu. Water helps to keep your nose, mouth, and throat moist. This helps your body get rid of built-up mucous and phlegm.
- Get plenty of rest – It’s important to rest and get more sleep when you have the flu. Sleeping can help boost your immune system.
- Drink warm broth (clear soups) – Drinking warm chicken or beef bone broth is a good way to help you stay hydrated. It helps to loosen and break up nose and sinus congestion. Bone broth is also naturally high in protein and minerals like sodium and potassium. Drinking broth is a good way to replenish these nutrients while you have the flu. Plus, protein is important for rebuilding immune cells.
- Increase your Vit c intake – Some studies show that vitamin C can reduce the duration of a cold by as much as 24 to 36 hours.
- Up your zinc intake – The mineral zinc is important for your immune system. This nutrient helps your body make germ-fighting white blood cells. Research shows that zinc might help ease cold and flu symptoms. Zinc helps your body fight the flu virus and may slow down how fast it multiplies.
- Rinse with Salt water – A warm water and salt rinse (sometimes called a salt water gargle) can soothe a sore throat. It can also help to clear mucous.
- Drink herbal teas – There are many herbs for cold and flu which have natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, besides the ones mentioned above consider having a look at Wormwood Artemisia Annua.
- Apply essential oils – Some types of essential oils may help protect you against certain viruses and bacteria. Other plant and herbal essential oils may also work as natural antibiotics and antivirals. These include:
- cinnamon oil
- peppermint oil
- eucalyptus oil
- geranium oil
- lemon oil
- thyme oil
- oregano oil
Use essential oils only as directed. Do not ingest essential oils, many are toxic. Most essential oils can be used on the skin after they’re mixed with oils like almond or olive oil. You can add fresh and dried herbs and spices to food to get similar benefits. Diffusing essential oils into the air with a diffuser may also help against some kinds of viruses and bacteria. Be aware that aromatherapy has an influence on children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and pets.
- Use a humidifier – The flu virus survives longer in dry indoor air. This may make the virus spread more easily. Colder, outdoor temperatures generally lower humidity in the air. Indoor air can get dry from heating and air conditioning use. Using a humidifier to add humidity in your home and workplace might help reduce flu viruses in the air.
- Inhale steam – Breathing in steam from a warm pot of water can help soothe your nose, sinuses, throat, and lungs. Steam inhalation or steam therapy uses water vapor to help loosen mucous congestion. The warm moist air may also relieve swelling in the nose and lungs. Steam inhalation might help to soothe a dry cough, irritated nose, and chest tightness.
A cold or flu virus can last for up to 2 weeks, with symptoms usually at their worst for about 2 or 3 days.
People who may have a higher risk of complications from the flu should contact their doctor when they initially have flu symptoms, as they may need antiviral treatment.
These people include young children and those who are:
- aged 65 years or older
- at risk due to other medical conditions
If an infant less than 3 months of age has a fever, a parent or caregiver should contact a doctor straight away.
People who notice that their symptoms are not improving after 10 days or have any unusual or severe symptoms should see their doctor.
Check out the video below on how to make your own cough drops. You could also experiment a bit and add a few of the herbs mentioned above for extra immune boosting and preventative properties. Just remember if adding more dry material etc. you will want to add slightly more of the starting ingredients like water and sugar.