The 12 Herbs You Need For a Cold-Free Season
In today’s day and age, the second we see signs of a cold, we are told to hit the pharmacy, pop some pills, or slap a band-aid on it. We are told to mask our symptoms, without ever investigating to the root of the problem – why are our bodies exhibiting these signs? What are they trying to tell us?
Many Rx remedies set the balance of our systems out of wack, and can result in unwanted, unpleasant and unnecessary side effects. The good news is that you don’t have to resort to Tylenol or Nyquil – because the remedies to your nasty cold and flu are right there in your herb garden, just waiting for you to take advantage of their amazing healing powers. We already know what foods help ward off sickness during the winter, now let’s talk herbs!
Here are 12 herbs you need to know about right now:
Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is an adaptogen which means that it helps your body to adapt to changes. This lowers your stress levels which is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system. Additionally, Ashwagandha increases white blood cell production, helping to boost immunity and fight off germs.
Amla – Amla is a powerful immunomodulator as just one teaspoon contains 720% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C – a serious immune booster! Amla also stimulates blood circulation and improves liver function, so you can get those toxins moving and kindly escort them out of the body.
Thyme – Thyme is known as an expectorant, which induces coughing (in a good way) when you need to expel toxins and germs so that you can recover faster. You can brew a tea from thyme sprigs or you can drop some thyme essential oil in a hot bath to loosen mucus in the chest.
Licorice root – Licorice contains glycyrrhizin – a compound with extremely effective antiviral prperties, which has been proven to fight off influenza, as well as strains of the avian flu virus. Licorice is an expectorant and a demulcent which soothes mucous membranes and relieves symptoms of sore throat and cough. And fyi we’re talking licorice tea – not twizzlers!
Garlic – Garlic is a well known immune booster due to its antibacterial properties and can ward off not only vampires, but the cold and flu as well. If you can’t stand the taste, or just want to spare anyone who has to talk to you post-garlic ingestion, you should opt for a garlic supplement.
Cayenne pepper – This natural antihistamine brings the heat, and with it its natural cold-relieving powers. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper helps to stimulate circulation, sweating, as well as thin built up mucous in the nasal passages. Add a dash of cayenne pepper to warm water with lemon and maple syrup, sprinkle it in soups, or add it to your green juice for a serious detoxing, natural healer!
Elderberry – Elderberry extract has been consistently tested and proven to shorten the duration of cold/flu symptoms by as much as 4 days due to its potent anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Check out our ginger elderberry tonic recipe to kick that flu in the behind.
Basil – Basil helps reduce fevers and symptoms of cold and flu. Chewing on a few leaves of holy basil can relieve sore throat symptoms and a tea made of the boiled leaves will produce the same effect.
Cinnamon – cinnamon warms the body from the inside out and and works to decongest by clearing mucous from the cold and flu. It also has anti-inflammatory. Boil some cinnamon sticks for a soothing tea, or add some organic cinnamon powder to any beverage.
Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is often the key ingredient in over-the-counter vapor rubs – skip the fillers and purchase some pure eucalyptus essential oil. Inhaling the vapor of eucalyptus oil placed in boiling water can help clear respiratory passageways and sinuses.
Ginger – Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, painkiller, and diaphoretic (compound that induces sweating). It can be used to reduce fever, cold and flu symptoms, as well as indigestion, stomach ache, headache, and sore throat. Using a garlic press, squeeze a piece of ginger into boiling water and simmer for a healing, pain-relieving tea.
Valerian root – Valerian is nature’s sedative that has been used for hundreds of years to soothe the nervous system and relieve pain. A cup of valerian tea will also serve as a natural, non-addictive sleep aid.