Do you need relief for a child who coughs in the middle of the night? Tired of your own runny nose and stuffy head? You can make homemade herbal teas and teas to help ease the unpleasant symptoms of coughs, colds, and flu. This article includes a list of cold and flu fighting herbs, their healing properties, and clear instructions on how to use them.
Natural healing herbs to treat coughs, colds and flu.
Many herbs lend themselves well as main ingredients in medicinal teas to fight coughs, colds, and flu. The herbs listed below are used in herbal tea recipes intended to enhance the healing process.
- Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia) – An immunity enhancer with strong anti-flu properties, take it only for three weeks and then stop taking it for two weeks. Do not give it to children under the age of twelve or to people with asthma.
- Evening Primrose (Oenothera biennis): Its leaves have anti-inflammatory, anti-flu, and many other health-enhancing properties.
- French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus): helps calm coughs and has anti-flu, antibacterial and anti-allergy properties.
- Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum): It has many anti-flu and antibacterial properties. It can be used to calm allergy symptoms, such as hay fever and environmental allergies. Marjoram can be used for similar purposes.
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): A sedative that helps calm and induce sleep, and it also has cold and flu-fighting properties.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita): relieves stomach problems, helps with pain, and also has anti-flu and antibacterial properties. Do not give to children under twelve years of age.
- Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris): It has many health benefits, one of them is the fight against the flu. It can be used as a tonic.
- Spearmint (Mentha spicata): same as mint. Do not give to children under twelve years of age.
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): has properties against cough and flu. It is also an anti-inflammatory that helps with pain, digestion, and stomach problems.
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – Same as Greek oregano, but also aids memory. However, take it only for three weeks, then stop taking it for two weeks.
How to make homemade herbal teas
For the herbs mentioned in the list above to fight cold and flu, use the leaves of the plants to make homemade herbal teas. You can make a tea using the herb alone or add herbs to a base tea such as green tea or chamomile tea.
If you like, you can add lemon juice, honey, or another sweetener to taste. However, most herbal teas taste quite pleasant. A little added honey will make most teas more palatable to children, but keep in mind that honey is not recommended for children under the age of two.
If you are treating a cough, a cold, or the flu, it is best to drink the liquid while it is still warm. Obviously, teas made for children will need to be cooled to a safe temperature before they can drink them.
- clean boiled water, preferably spring water, fresh water or rain water
- teapot and / or teacups or cups, ideally porcelain, glass, ceramic, or enamel
- tea strainer (optional)
- lemon juice, honey, or maple syrup (optional)
- a tea base such as green tea or chamomile tea (optional)
You can use fresh or dried herbs for your homemade herbal tea. For every cup of tea you need, use a small handful of large-leaved herbs or 2-3 sprigs of small-leaved herbs. This is one tablespoon of herbs per cup. Gently tear large-leaved herbs to help the phytochemicals dissipate more easily into the water.
Put the herbs in your kettle or teacup and pour boiled water over them. Put the lid on the kettle or cover the cup with a saucer to contain the volatile oils inside. Let stand for at least five minutes. If you use a kettle, you can strain the herbs while pouring the tea into a teacup. If you’ve brewed your tea in a teacup, just let the herbs sit all the way through. Sweeten to taste if desired.
Making herbal teas is very similar to making tea. The only difference is that the leaves are allowed to steep longer than herbal teas, usually a minimum of twenty minutes. Soaking herbs for a longer time brings out their chemicals in a much higher concentration. Alternatively, you can leave the herbs in the kettle to steep indefinitely and pour in the fortifying liquid as needed throughout the day.
If you are pregnant, have asthma or allergies, have a thyroid problem, or are considering giving herbal teas or infusions to a child, check to make sure you are using herbs that are safe for these conditions.