With cold and flu season officially upon us, many have started stocking the medicine cabinet with various OTC pills in preparation for when illness inevitably strikes – but believe it or not, sometimes the best remedies can be found in our kitchen! Rather than purchasing expensive pills from your local pharmacy, go with herbal remedies – the natural, effective, and cheaper alternative to traditional medicine.
5 Must-Have Herbs for Winter Illness
- Chamomile – Traditionally revered for easing digestive woes, this herb also soothes muscle cramps, headaches, body aches, and pains associated with the flu. The key to success is to use the freshest herb possible, whether fresh or in dried form.
o Suggestion: Make 1 quart of the infusion at a time by adding freshly boiled water to 2 to 4 ounces of the dried flowering tops. Drink 1 cup at a time, three to five times daily.
- Echinacea – This powerful herb triggers your immune response and helps reduce the severity and duration of unpleasant cold and flu symptoms
o Suggestion: Make a team from the fresh, or recently dried, chopped root, flowers and/or leaves and drink 1 cup two to five times daily.
- Elder – Historically known for prevention and treatment of the cold and flu, this herb also has potent antiviral properties which make it effective in easing and reducing duration of fevers
o Suggestion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tbsp. of fresh or dried elder blossoms, infuse for 10 minutes, and strain. Take 1 to 2 cups of the infusion two or three times daily, or as needed, to induce sweating, promote cleansing, and reduce heat.
- Fennel – This herb is used worldwide to help ease the symptoms of bronchitis, coughs, and muscular pains
o Suggestion: Make the tea by simmering 1 tsp. of the seeds for each cup of water for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for another 20 minutes before straining the seeds. Drink 1 cup before meals as needed.
- Honeysuckle – An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for relief of upper respiratory tract infections, fevers, bronchitis, and sore throat
o Suggestion: Make a strong infusion by steeping the flowers for up to 30 minutes, and drink ½ to 1 cup twice daily, or as often as desired.
Tips from Dr. Christopher Hobbs of Rainbow Light