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Herbal Cough, Cold, And Flu Remedies

As the weather begins to cool off, the cough, cold, and flu season is coming into view. So I want to share about some God-given herbal and natural remedies.


Coughs are caused by an irritation in the lining of the throat and lungs. This irritation causes a build up of mucus. When you aren’t feeling well, the lining of your throat and lungs become more sensitive. Many things can annoy your already irritated and tender lining, including cold air, eating and drinking, and even just breathing. When you cough, it may tickle or feel dry and hacking and may cause you to clear your throat. Some coughs are caused by mucus buildup in your throat or lungs. After a bout of coughing, you usually produce a ball of phlegm. They may cause your lungs to rattle and may sound like barking. This type of cough can become spasmodic as the body works to eliminate mucus. Taking cough drops can reduce your coughing, but won’t cure your cough; they only suppress the body’s natural healing process.

The best ways to heal your cough is to soothe irritated areas and give the mucus a way to escape your body. Some good herbal remedies for colds with coughs will include licorice, horehound, mullein, peppermint, elderflowers, sage, lemon balm, blackberry, borage, catnip (also known as catmint), fenugreek, juniper, lemons, cayenne, and yarrow.

In homeopathy there are many remedies for the different types of cough. Please, check with your health care provider to find out which one is best for your specific cough type.

Herbal Tea Cough Therapies

Aniseed Tea – good for a persistent cough and is easily made

  1. Crush one teaspoon of Aniseed between two spoons and place them in a coffee mug
  2. Pour in boiling water to nearly fill the mug
  3. Cover and allow to steep fifteen minutes.
  4. Strain and drink while still hot
  5. Repeat two or three times daily

Ginger Root Tea

  1. Place piece of ginger root an inch long and about ½ an inch in diameter into a sauce pan full of water
  2. Add half a peeled and sliced lemon, a crushed garlic clove, and one tablespoon of honey
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer for twenty minutes
  4. Strain and drink while still hot
  5. Add more honey according to your taste if necessary

Peppermint Tea – very useful for a cough that comes with a constant tickle in your throat

  1. Finely chop fresh-picked leaves
  2. Pour into a cup of boiling water and steep fifteen minutes
  3. Strain and drink while still warm to hot

Thyme Tea – known for its antiseptic properties and very useful for chest colds/coughs, even those with a related chest infection

  1. Pour boiling water over one teaspoon crushed, dry leaves
  2. Steep fifteen minutes
  3. Strain and drink

Turmeric Tea – if your cough is accompanied by a constant dry tickle in your throat, this tea and its antiseptic properties are very useful.

  1. Roast turmeric root and crush into a powder
  2. Put half a teaspoon of powder (about three grams) into a hot drink both morning and evening

Hyssop Tea – one of the best herbal cough remedies

  1. Chop a bunch of hyssop very fine
  2. Place in a coffee mug
  3. Pour in ten to twelve ounces of boiling water
  4. Steep fifteen to twenty minutes
  5. Strain and drink hot

Eucalyptus Tea – a great decongestant and inhalant

  1. Crush a bunch of leaves (either with your hands, a rolling pin, or with a mortar and pestle)
  2. Soak the leaves in a bowl of boiling water for fifteen to twenty minutes
  3. Strain and drink while still hot
  4. Repeat two to three times daily

Cold Remedies

As more people become “herb savvy,” they are ditching traditional, over-the-counter remedies and turning to more natural and herbal methods. These methods fight colds by stimulating the immune system or by reducing symptoms.

  • Increase vitamin C intake. Taking vitamin C every four hours will help to boost your immune system.
  • Increase fluid intake. A good rule of thumb is to drink as many ounces of water as half the number of pounds you weigh. Increasing your fluid intake speeds toxins out of the body through your natural elimination processes
  • Take on water in other ways. Instead of drying out mucus membranes with antihistamines, thin them out to make it easier to expel from the body. Drink warm and hot liquids, including soups, broths, and herbal teas, to put more water inside the body. Take a steam shower or sit in the bathroom breathing steam if you don’t have a steam shower. Or bring a quart of water to boil (with or without eucalyptus leaves in it) and breathe the steam. Place your face a comfortable distance from the steaming pan. Cover your head and pan with a large towel to keep steam contained. Breathe in through the nose, if stuffy, or through the mouth if congestion has settled in the chest.
  • Stay away from junk foods when you have a cold or flu. Don’t eat heavy, highly processed foods while you are sick. Though eating a bit of junk food may seem like a way to find your “happy place,” it will actually make your mood more “blue.”
  • Echinacea. This herb is best known for its ability to boost the immune system. It stimulates production of white blood cells and makes the body more capable of attacking viruses and fighting colds, coughs, flu, and other respiratory conditions.
  • Cinnamon. This herb helps to prevent infection and fight poor circulation. I recommended it as the “universal spice for the sinuses” and treatment for colds, flu, and “inner decay and slime.”
  • Ginger root. Commonly used for treating stomach ailments, it works well to clear the respiratory system of congestion, end sinus pain, clear soar throats, and reduce inflammation of mucus membranes.
  • Garlic. This herb was well thought of by both ancient Greeks and Romans and was even fed to Roman soldiers before battle. It has anti-bacterial properties that help the immune system to fight infection. It contains several healthful compounds, including allicin – one of the plant world’s most potent antibiotics. Works well with echinacea; together they are a strong force against infections.
  • Goldenseal. This herb is both antiseptic and stimulates the immune system. It also increases blood supply to your spleen –your first line of support in your immune system. Goldenseal contains berberine, which activates macrophages – special white blood cells for fighting infection. They destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even tumor cells.
  • Homemade apple and grape juice. These simple drinks contain strong antiviral agents that fight colds and flu.
  • Honey lemon tea. With the above-mentioned herbal treatments or alone, drinking hot honey lemon tea will help you feel better during your recovery.
    • Squeeze the juice of a lemon into cup of boiling water.
    • Add honey to taste and enjoy.

Both lemon and honey are soothing to sore throats. Lemons can also cause you to sweat, which will help bring a fever down.

Herbal Fever Remedy

  • 1 ounce dried elder flowers
  • 1 ounce dried peppermint leaves
  • 1 cup distilled water

Mix herbs and place them in a saucepan. Pour in distilled boiling water over the herbs. Cover and steep ten to fifteen minutes, but don’t boil. When ready, strain into another saucepan. Add honey to taste if desired.

This will drop the temperature associated with colds and flu. Some have seen the temperature drop from 104° to 99° in as little as two hours.

Children’s Herbal Antibiotic Formula

  • 2 cups water
  • ½ teaspoon echinacea powder
  • ½ licorice root powder
  • ½ teaspoon barberry bark (or Oregon grape root)

Put water and herbs in saucepan. Simmer two minutes. Remove from heat and steep and additional twenty minutes. Strain. A fifty-pound child should take one cup tea of daily.  Add ¼ cup tea for each additional ten pounds a child weighs.

Other Herbal Remedies

  • Inhalations of chamomile, eucalyptus, or thyme – helps loosen mucus and heal the throat, nasal passages, and bronchial tubes
  • Horsetail inhalations – reduces swelling of mucous membranes
  • Onion or nasturtium inhalations – disinfects the body
  • Ginkgo biloba leaf inhalations – kills bacteria and heals cell damage in mucous membranes almost immediately

Inhale steam for fifteen minutes, three times daily, while illness is in the acute stage. When the condition is improving, inhale steam in the evening before bed for a week to help heat bronchial passages.

You might try growing some of these herbs in your garden next year to add to your natural medicine chest.

Remember, as with any herbal remedy, check with your health care provider before starting new treatments, as they may not work well with current therapies.

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