Herbal Cold Remedies

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It’s that time of year again where we are surrounded by people coughing, sneezing and generally feeling miserable.  Here are some herbal remedies to help get you through the Cold/Flu season.



That moment when you know you are coming down with something and would love to nip it in the bud.  There are a number of excellent ways to do this.

Oil of Oregano is available at most health food stores.  You simply take 5 drops 3 times per day.  I think this one may actually scare the cold germs away!

There is some controversy as to whether you just take the drops straight on your tongue or in water.  I think it is up to the individual but for me it is just too strong to take straight so I put it in a tablespoon of warm water.

Evidence of oil of oregano’s effectiveness is available for digestive disorders but there is little available evidence for its effectiveness in preventing colds.

I have personal experience with this oil and as soon as I feel the slightest twinge I begin taking it.  So far so good!

Peppermint and Elder flowers is the first remedy I ever learned in Herbal College for staving off colds.  When you begin to feel a cold coming on you simply mix a teaspoon of peppermint with a teaspoon of elder flowers, steep for 3 minutes covered and drink.  Repeat this several times that day and it is usually enough to stop the cold from taking over.

During a Cold

Oil of Oregano will still assist with colds even after one has taken hold.  It is not as effective but it can help limit the symptoms.  After a cold has decided to hang on however there are a number of herbs that work amazingly well.

The peppermint elderflower remedy above is also excellent if the cold has already gotten a grip on you.  Drink the mix several times per day.  It is important to steep it with a cover on it since leaving the cover off allows the volatile oils to escape.

The tea causes you to sweat so make sure you wrap up warmly.  This is an important part of the remedy because it allows your skin (the largest organ) to sweat the illness away.

If you have a cough to go along with the cold try adding a teaspoon of mullein to the mixture.  Mullein is an expectorant and is generally used for bronchitis, cough and TB.  Once you add the mullein make sure that in between cups of the tea you continue to flush your kidneys with plenty of warm/hot water.


Ginger is another excellent herb for dealing with colds.  Simply grate about a teaspoon of fresh ginger into a cup of water and steep 3 minutes covered. 

Ginger causes sweating as well so you need to remain dressed warmly.

Adding honey to either of the above teas is a great way to both sweeten them and boost your immune system to fight off the virus.  Adding Manuka honey, which is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and basically anti everything, (see my blog Eating Honey for Your Health August 2013), is best of all.

Chicken Soup?  There is not a lot beyond anecdotal evidence for this age old cure but it actually makes a lot of sense.  Eating hot soup allows you to breathe in the steam.  When you breathe in the steam it clears your bronchial passages.  I once lived with a little old Chinese lady who made us eat soup for every sniffle!  It worked.  She swore by it for taking care of people who smoked!

The final thing about colds and flu that you should remember is that these illnesses are trying to tell you that you need to slow down and rest.  With rest your immune system has a chance to build and renew itself.  Do not push yourself when you are sick.