Herbs to Harvest for the Cold and Flu Season

Dry chamomile with a tea strainer for the preparation of chamomile tea.

Dry chamomile with a tea strainer for the preparation of chamomile tea. (Image: Deymos via Dreamstime)

People susceptible to cold and flu dread the onset of the winter. While keeping OTC medications for preventing and combating cold and cough is easy, these may not be enough. After a period, your body may develop resistance against such medicines, rendering them less effective. It is better to use homegrown herbs and plants to combat pathogens and viruses causing the flu and related ailments.

Why homegrown herbs to fight a cold or flu?

Using herbs grown from the home garden to take on the viruses and pathogens causing a cold or flu makes sense. These herbs are not expensive, and you can grow them quickly in the backyard garden or balcony planter. However, you may have to check the web for harvesting these herbs.

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Another notable advantage of using these herbs is the minimal risk of side effects. Besides, growing these plants and herbs, including Bromelain, attracts butterflies and birds in the garden or balcony.

Lemon balm is one of the easy herbs to grow.
A small planter of fresh lemon balm. (Image: Julia Tsokur via Dreamstime)

Here is a list of proven effective herbs for treating cold or flu symptoms.

  • Chamomile – This herb looks quite pretty as the flowers resemble daisies. It is used to make herbal tea to relax and soothe the nerves. The tea has a mild flavor and helps people cope with congestion issues. It is also effective in inducing sleep. Try this herbal tea if a clogged nose is making a good night’s sleep difficult.
  • Lavender – This herb is used to calm people; lavender is also helpful in fighting the onset of a cold. The flowers have antiseptic and antibacterial properties. You can use its flowers to make soothing herbal tea. You can also add the flower extract to carrier oil and apply it topically.
  • Yarrow – Some people categorize this as a weed. However, yarrow is ideal for cough and cold. It has anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties. You can also dry the leaves for use later.
  • Lemon balm is helpful when a cold or flu clogs your nostrils. Lemon balm is zesty and has a pleasant lemony scent that makes you feel good. It can be used to prepare herbal tea with a mild aroma. It also soothes the nerves and helps you to breathe better. 
  • Horehound – Native to European countries, this plant is a type of mint that proliferates well. You can mix its leaves with honey to combat a cold. The flowers are also antiseptic. Its use makes a cough go away gradually.
  • Mullein – This herb works as a nice expectorant. It helps clear clogged mucus from the lungs. It also prevents the accumulation of mucus. It is a herb that has been used to treat conditions such as bronchitis. The flowers and leaves are antiseptic and astringent.
  • Sage – This herb helps clear sore throats, and it has also been used extensively as a memory booster. In addition, sage has proven antiseptic and antibacterial properties and is rich in vitamin A, and K. Try sage tea for a sore and clogged throat. 
  • Thyme – A herb found aplenty in most kitchens, is also helpful for fighting a cold. The leaves can be added to make many dishes, and you can also use them to prepare herbal tea. It serves as a powerful antiseptic and expectorant. It also helps with pain relief and digestion. In addition, it has been found to reduce flu-related symptoms such as headaches and cramps. 
  • Peppermint – People coping with the flu and fever find the taste of most foods bland and develop a reduced appetite; in such situations, drinking peppermint tea rejuvenates the taste buds. It also helps in lowering the body temperature.
Peppermint sprigs and bottles of peppermint oil.
Peppermint essential oil and fresh peppermint flowers. (Image: Colourdream via Dreamstime)

While using these herbs can be good for fighting a cold or flu, you should always check for allergic reactions. Try the herbs in moderation to see which one works the best for your situation. If necessary, you can seek medical advice about using these herbs to treat the symptoms of a cold or flu.

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