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Fight off Seasonal Flu with These 30 Natural Herbs

 The winter season certainly brings lots of magic with it, but there are one or two drawbacks, namely colds, sore, congested throats, and the flu. But, as you know, nature takes with one hand and gives with the other. So, you need not rely on expensive and risky medication to fight your fevers, instead, open nature’s medicine cabinet by exploring the herbal remedies thousands of years of discoveries have revealed to us. According to Dr. Michael J. Balick, PhD, the following herbs are the best in the cold remedy business by a long shot.

 

Here are 30 herbs that are fantastic for colds and flu.

1. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)

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This perennial root will boost your immune system and white blood cell production and promote antibodies and T cells. Slice up the root and add to stews and soups, then take them out when serving.
Note: Avoid astragalus while pregnant or nursing.

2. Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

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Basil can help limit fevers and lessen the symptoms of coughs, colds, and the flu. To keep it for winter, chop up and freeze in an ice tray.

3. Black pepper (Piper nigrum)

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Black pepper is used in China for alleviating phlegm. Add plenty of this to your broth or soup to reap the benefits.

4. Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

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Catnip provokes perspiration, which makes it good for treating fevers. Serve it over a salad or drink as a tea.
Note: Don’t consume catnip if pregnant.

5. Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)

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Cinnamon is great for keeping your insides warm and clearing mucus congestion.
Note: Don’t use cinnamon medicinally if pregnant.

6. Cowslip (Primula veris)

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Cowslip roots contain triterpenoid saponins, which have powerful expectorant properties. Thus, you can use cowslip as a decoction to free up trapped phlegm. Make a drink with 1 cup of water per ounce of root. Place in a pot, bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
Note: Avoid cowslip if pregnant or if you’re on aspirin or prescription anticoagulant drugs, like warfarin.

7. Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)

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Echinacea is renowned as a healing herb. Yet, it’s most effective when taken at the beginning of an infection. Drink in a tea, by simmering its root in water for 10 minutes.
Note: Exercise caution if you have allergies to aster family plants (such as ragweed).

8. Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Elderberry is a very therapeutic herb, and has been called 'the medicine chest of the people.' Studies have found that its syrup and extracts can soothe the symptoms of flu and limit its duration. You can also make a tea from Elderberry flowers.

9. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)

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Vapor rub is mainly made from eucalyptus, so why not skip the rub and use the ingredient itself? Place a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil in boiled water and inhale. This will help defend you from bronchial infections and clear your sinuses.

10. Garlic (Allium sativum)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Garlic has been used for more than five millennia thanks to its antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral benefits. Garlic supplements can also prevent you from getting a cold.

11. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

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Ginger is effective at relieving flu or cold symptoms because, as a natural diaphoretic, it induces sweating. Try this delicious and healthy ginger tea.
Note: Don’t consume ginger medicinally if pregnant or if you have gallstones.

12. Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

Make your own natural cough syrup like so: Boil an ounce of dried or fresh horehound leaves with 2 cups of water, for 10 minutes. Strain and measure the liquid. Add double the amount of honey as liquid to the mix. Keep in a sealed bottle for 2 months. Dosage: 1 tsp. 4 times a day.
Note: Don’t consume horehound if pregnant or nursing. Avoid confusion with black horehound (Ballota nigra).

13. Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Horseradish is rich in vitamin C and contains two compounds which clear congestion, namely, sulforphane and isothiocyanates. Make your own horseradish sauce by grating the root and adding as much vinegar as you please.
Note: Limit horseradish use if pregnant, nursing, or if you suffer a gastrointestinal or kidney disorder.

14. Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)

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Hyssop can relieve the following symptoms: respiratory infections, flues, and colds. Use this to flavor meat dishes and soups (it tastes a little like mint and sage).
Note: Avoid hyssop if pregnant.

15. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

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Lemon balm is full of vitamin C, which should help fight your cold, make you feel relaxed, and ease your upset belly. Make into a tea by pouring 1 cup boiling water over 5/6 fresh leaves (or 1 tsp. dried leaves). Steep this for 5 minutes.
Note: If you have a thyroid problem, check with a doctor or herbalist about using lemon balm.

16. Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Make the leaves of lemongrass into a tea to treat colds, coughs, fevers, by pouring 1 cup boiling water over 5/6 fresh leaves (or 1 tsp. dried leaves). Or add a mesh bag with chopped leaves under the hot water tap as you make a nice herbal bath for yourself.

17. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Licorice root is both a demulcent and an expectorant that can be used for a homemade cough syrup. Simmer 1 tsp. dried and sliced root in 1 cup water for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 2 or 3 cups for up to one week.
Note: Don’t consume licorice if pregnant, you have heart disease, liver disease, or hypertension.

18. Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
If you inhale marjoram through steam, it can unblock your sinuses and provide laryngitis relief. Add its essential oil to your bath.

19. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis)

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A marshmallow root tea will soothe your sore throat and reduce your cough. Simmer a cup of water for every ounce for 20 minutes. Strain and drink.
Note: Marshmallow can delay other medications’ absorption.

20. Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Mullein is traditionally used to treat respiratory problems and ear infections. A tea of it will also ease your sore throat. Pour a cup of boiled water over ½ tsps. fresh leaves, steeping for 10 minutes. Run through a coffee filter or a cheesecloth to filter the plant’s hairs.

21. Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Oregano is an excellent cough remedy when taken as a tea or inhaled as steam. It’s also an anti-inflammatory herb recommended for good prostate health.

22. Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
This herb is traditionally taken to treat chest congestion, bronchitis, and coughs. Steep some dried flowers in hot water for 10 minutes and drink.

23. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Chamomile tea can relax you and help you sleep when a cough is keeping you up at night. It will also help you lose that nasty cold.
Note: Exercise caution if you have allergies to aster family plants (such as ragweed).

24. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Try steam inhaling rosemary essential oil to provide nasal chest congestion relief. The smell is simply wonderful. It’s also a very healthy plant to eat.

25. Sage (Salvia officinalis)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
Sage can be used for treating excess sweating, sore throats, and coughs. Make sage tea with 1 cup water, 1 tsp. dried sage leaves (or 2 tsps. fresh leaves). Steep for 10 minutes and then strain. 
Note: Avoid sage medicinally if pregnant or nursing.

26. Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
The FDA approved of slippery elm for a sore-throat and cough remedy. Pour 1 cup boiling water over ½ tsps. powdered bark. Sweeten with honey, stevia, or molasses. Add spices like ginger or cinnamon for extra flavor. Drink 2 or 3 times a day.
Note: Slippery elm could delay other medications’ absorption.

27. Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

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Spearmint is the best mint variety for treating respiratory conditions like cold, coughs, and bronchitis.

28. Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

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Thyme tea is rich in antioxidants that fight diseases. It also eases coughs, spasms and can clear mucus congestion.
Note: Avoid thyme medicinally if pregnant or nursing.

29. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal
This sleep remedy is not addictive and has been used since Roman times. Make valerian root tea with 1 cup hot water and 1 tsp. dried root. Steep for 10 minutes.
Note: Avoid valerian if pregnant.

30. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

herbs, cold, flu, remedy, natural, tea, herbal

Yarrow, which is high in flavonoids, is a famous British remedy for fending off coughs, colds, and the flu thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. 
Note: Exercise caution if you have allergies to aster family plants (such as ragweed).

 

Cover image courtesy of Depositphotos

 

Related Articles:

1. 8 Crucial Things to Keep In Mind This Flu Season​

2. Flu-Fighting Tips for Every Room in Your Home

3. 10 Habits That Increase Your Flu Risk

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