Herbs to Get You Through Cold and Flu Season

By: Ariana Palmieri
Ho, ho, ho, here come the sniffles! We all know that winter can be a drag, but what’s worse is getting sick. Colds and flus are no fun, but they sure do spread easily this time of year. To stay on your game this season, make sure you have these five herbs stocked in your pantry. Bonus: some of them might already be in there.

Just in time for the holidays, this herb – not so much the candy – will help you ton loads. This herb is proven to help with thinning mucus and relieving stuffy noses. Try drinking peppermint tea, that’s steeped for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Since mentholated lozenges are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it couldn’t hurt to suck on a peppermint candy for a sore throat, but remember that lozenges work best when they contain 5 to 10 milligrams of peppermint.


While garlic won’t give you minty fresh breath, it certainly knows how to pack a punch. Aside from fighting colds, it regulates cholesterol levels, prevents heart disease, strengthens the immune system, and reduces high blood pressure. Pretty cool huh? At the first onset of a cold, it’s best to eat raw garlic. The reason? Some of the herb’s benefits are lost through cooking. However, if you can’t stomach that, try using garlic in your everyday cooking, like adding some garlic powder to chicken soup.


Almost everyone innately knows to buy Ginger Ale for people who have viruses. But did you know ginger can also help with coughs and colds? The compounds in ginger have been shown to eliminate many of the viruses associated with the common cold. However, the healthiest way to ingest ginger is through tea. To make fresh ginger tea, chop up a one inch slice of fresh ginger, or use a teaspoon of powdered ginger, and put it in a cup. Pour boiled water into the cup and let steep for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to strain the ginger out before drinking. For best results, drink 1-3 cups per day to get rid of a nasty cough or cold.

This pretty herb is famous for its ability to shorten the length of colds and flus, while dramatically decreasing their severity. At the first sign of illness, make sure to steep 1-2 tablespoons of the herb in a cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Echinacea essential oil is also incredibly healing: try placing a few drops of it into boiling water and inhaling to clear the sinuses.

You probably associate licorice with red or black chewy candies, but it’s much more than that. Licorice root, with it’s tissue-coating properties, can soothe sore throats, coughs, and even heartburn. No one knows who first discovered licorice, but it was revered for it’s sweetness in Egypt and made into a drink that is still enjoyed there today. Try eating a licorice infused lozenge or drinking licorice root tea that’s been steeped for 10 minutes.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


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