Best Herbs for the Common Cold

Runny Nose Herbal Tea

Herbalist Sunny Mavor, owner of Herbs for Kids, a manufacturer of herbal extracts, has a favorite recipe for treating colds and flus. She says this tea opens bronchial passages, helps fight viruses, and reduces watery secretions from the eyes and nose.

2 tablespoons dried echinacea root

1 teaspoon dried eyebright leaf and flowers

½ teaspoon dried boneset leaf and flowers

1 teaspoon dried lemongrass

1 teaspoon dried lemon balm leaves

½ teaspoon dried sage leaves

1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves

In a covered saucepan, gently simmer the echinacea root in 4 cups of pure water to create a decoction. Keep an eye on your pot; you want to reduce the tea down to approximately 3 cups.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the remaining herbs, and cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain into mugs.


Aromatherapy Inhaler

Making your own aromatherapy inhaler is easy; this recipe draws upon the menthol properties of eucalyptus, rosemary and peppermint, which help open stuffed nasal passages.

1 tablespoon rock salt

2 drops eucalyptus oil

2 drops rosemary oil

1 drop peppermint oil

Put the rock salt in a vial (or recycle a tincture bottle; make sure it’s been washed and sterilized).  Add the oils and smell.

Cold Season Tea

You’ll want to have this cold season tea on hand throughout fall and winter. Its aroma will entice you to curl up with a good book and a blanket while you sip. That’s just what you’ll need if you’ve been hit with a cold or flu bug: Rest is the best thing you can do for your body at this time.

This tea is easy to make. Blend equal parts of dried peppermint, lemon balm, elder flowers and yarrow. Store the blend in an airtight jar (preferably a dark one) in a dark place. When you’re ready to make a tea, steep 1 teaspoon of the blend for every cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.

For variety, you may wish to try the favorite cold-fighting tea of Feather Jones, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Boulder, Colorado. Jones blends dried yarrow, mint (she uses peppermint or spearmint), and fresh ginger. Use equal parts of the yarrow and mint, and because of its strong taste, a small amount of ginger, and adjust to suit your tastes. Boil 1 cup of water, add 1 teaspoon of the mix, steep 5 minutes, and strain. If you like, add honey and lemon.

Jones says she sometimes adds a pinch of cayenne, another cold-fighting herb and one that will add a little zip to the tea. This brew is most helpful when taken during the early stages of colds and flus, she says, when you feel hot, dry and cranky. It helps break fevers, unplugs noses, and helps clear mucus out of the respiratory tract.

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