Cold season is coming!

Herbs for Cold Symptoms

Herbs for Cold Symptoms
Cold symptoms such as sore throat, congestion and coughing are treatable at home with simple herbal preparations. Many times, the common cold can be chased away with nothing more than hot tea and an herbal steam treatment. However, before taking any herbs medicinally, consult a qualified medical practitioner so you can be sure they are safe for you. This is especially important if you are taking prescription medication, or are pregnant or nursing.

    Boosting Your Immune System

  1. Try echinacea. It is widely considered effective in fighting cold symptoms. Echinacea works by increasing the number of white blood cells in the body to fight infection, and reduces the amount of time the illness is present in the body. A study published in Clinical Therapeutics in 2006 found that echinacea is effective in the prevention of symptoms of the common cold when compared with placebos. Take 10 to 20 drops of echinacea extract every half hour once cold symptoms have started, or 30 to 90 drops four to six times per day if your cold is already established.
  2. Fighting a Sore Throat

  3. Gargle with ginger or drink a hot ginger tea. Ginger is a warming herb and contains anti-inflammatory agents that help soothe and heal a dry, sore throat. Peel a two-inch piece of ginger root and cut it into small strips. Bring four cups of water to a rolling boil in a saucepan, remove from the heat and add the ginger. Cover and allow the mixture to steep for 15 minutes. Strain the liquid into a heat safe container, add honey and lemon juice to taste, and drink for instant relief or let it cool a bit and use as a gargle.
  4. Combatting Congestion

  5. Treat chest congestion with thyme. It is a natural expectorant and decongestant, and can be used to effectively treat chest congestion caused by the common cold. Bring four cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, remove it from the heat and add two tablespoons fresh or one tablespoon dried thyme. Inhale the steam deeply for instant congestion relief. For stubborn cases, use a towel to make a tent over your head and the pan while inhaling the steam. Do not use this remedy if you are pregnant or nursing.
  6. Decrease Coughing

  7. Fight coughs with elderberries, which often are used in natural and homemade cough syrups. Rosemary Gladstar, American herbalist and author of Family Herbal, recommends making your own elderberry syrup for fighting coughs associated with the common cold. Place one cup of fresh or ½ cup dried elderberries into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Mash the berries with a potato masher, and then strain through a fine mesh strainer. Add one cup of honey or more to taste, transfer the syrup to a dark-colored bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to three months.
  8. Combatting General Cold Symptoms

  9. Fight cold and flu symptoms with catnip, an herbal panacea that calms and promotes rest while soothing fevers, congestion, coughing and sore throat. Take a cup of catnip tea before bed to promote healing sleep. Bring one cup of water to a boil, and then remove from the heat. Add one to two teaspoons of dried catnip, cover and allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the mixture into a coffee mug, sweeten with honey if desired, and drink immediately.
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