There is no cure for the common cold, but prevention and speedy recovery can be ours with simple herbal remedies. While over-the-counter medicines can suppress cold symptoms, they don’t necessarily help us heal. In fact, many contain artificial colorants and chemicals that are irritants or toxins to our system. Herbs not only ease cold symptoms, but synergize with the body to help battle the virus while boosting the immune system. This is nature’s way!
When our immune system is in tip-top shape, we simply don’t get sick. Of course, prevention is the preferred way to treat any illness. Boosting your system with the help of herbs reduces your risk of catching a cold to begin with. These same herbs also shorten recovery time. Echinacea, an immune system tonic, is well-known for this purpose. Its anti-inflammatory properties ease the symptoms of a cold. Meanwhile, it cleanses the lymphatic system and blood to promote prompt healing.
Because of its fruity taste, Elderberry is a nice children’s remedy and a common ingredient in natural cough syrups. The berries contain antioxidants that help our cells battle foreign substances in the body. Elderberry also promotes sweating to break a fever naturally. Conventional fever-reducers often prolong the cold, because a raised body temperature is one way we naturally fight off illness. Unless the fever is severe, it is better to let it run its course while using herbs to encourage sweating.
Another way the body gets rid of the cold virus is by sending it out through mucous. This unpleasant process causes the all-too-familiar symptoms of congestion, coughing, and runny nose. The best thing to do is to get this stuff out of your body—and fast!
Ginger is a nice tea to sip throughout cold season. Stimulating and warming, it helps with the general malaise and chills that can accompany colds. Ginger root also acts as a decongestant for the head and chest.
Hyssop and Thyme are like a one-two punch to the cold virus. They both have expectorant properties, helping you cough up all the funky stuff lingering in your lungs. They are also antiviral and antibacterial, so they clear out infection at the same time.
For deep or nagging coughs, try Coltsfoot tincture to open up the lungs. It will suppress unproductive coughs, so you can breathe easier while the medicine thins out the mucous to be expelled more easily.
What’s the best way to take these herbs? In general, a tea or tincture will be more effective than capsules. Liquid extracts gather the medicine from the plants so our bodies can absorb it better. Teas also hydrate and warm us up, providing comfort and helping the body do its job during an illness. You can also gargle warm tea to ease a sore throat.
Natural remedies work with the body—not against it. Tapping into the healing power of nature is just what the doctor ordered.