The cold weather and busy holiday season brings with it its share of colds and sore throats. But before reaching for the pain meds and cough syrup, why not give our favorite herbal remedies a try? They're more effective than you might think!
Colds + Nasal Congestion
Herbal Steam: Steaming is one of my favorite remedies, especially for congestion, because it's quick, easy to do, and extremely effective! For winter colds and congestion:
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil
- Remove from stove and add:
- 2 tbsp of organic dried chamomile flowers (an organic tea bag works too)
- 2-3 drops of organic eucalyptus oil (not recommended for children under 6)
- Sit in a chair with your face over the pot and place a large bath towel over your head to keep the steam in. Inhale deeply through your nose with your eyes closed for 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to get too close to the pot as the steam can be quite hot initially! This will break up any congestion so be sure to keep a box of tissues beside you to blow your nose as needed.
- Tip: For long-lasting relief, I recommend steaming 3x/day initially, and twice a day until your cold subsides.
Garlic Tea: The only time you'll find me cooking with garlic is when I need an immunity boost! Though this may not leave your breath smelling the greatest, garlic has natural antibacterial properties that make it a great herbal remedy for colds. Simply:
Crush 1-2 large cloves of garlic and let rest for 10 minutes
Place the crushed garlic in a cup and add boiling water
Add 1 tsp of organic raw honey and a squeeze (or two) of fresh lemon
Tip: For increased effectiveness, chew the garlic well before swallowing once you've finished your tea.
Samahan: A friend recently introduced me to this Ayurvedic remedy and I am hooked! Made with 14 natural herbs, it's safe for all ages and easy to use. Simply add a packet to hot water and drink once daily to stave off minor colds, and 3x/day for acute colds. For children under 15, use a half packet. I buy mine off Amazon.
Golden Milk: Probably my favorite immunity booster, golden milk has been a go-to remedy in our house since I was a kid. It's also a great sleep aid so I recommend drinking this at night. Get our recipe here.
Coughs + Dry Throat + Chest Congestion
Thyme Cough Syrup: Not only does thyme have antibacterial, antiviral, and expectorant properties, it's also a great astringent making it perfect for wet coughs. To make:
- Wash a handful of fresh organic thyme and place in a saucepan
- Add two cups of water and bring to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes (this should leave you with about 1 cup of water in the end)
- Slice a 1/2 lemon and place in a glass jar
- Add about 1/2 cup of organic raw honey
- Once cooled, strain thyme leaves and add water to the jar, mixing well
- Take 1-2 spoonfuls as needed
- Can refrigerate for up to 1 month
- Tip: Add two spoonfuls to a cup of warm water and drink as a tea for extra relaxation
Licorice Root Tea: Licorice root helps loosen phlegm, reduces inflammation and soothes dry, sore throats. You'll need 1/3 cup of licorice root slivers, 2 tsp of freshly grated ginger and 2 cups of water. To make:
- Place all ingredients in a small pot and bring to a boil
- Reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes
- Strain and drink warm no more than twice a day
- Note: Licorice root is not recommended during pregnancy
Herbal Steam: Steaming is a great remedy for coughs as well. See recipe above! Tip: Replace the chamomile flowers with fresh organic licorice root, thyme, sage, or peppermint
No-Heat DIY Chest Rub: For a quick and easy chest rub, simply mix:
- 5 drops of organic eucalyptus essential oil
- 5 drops of organic peppermint oil
- 2 oz of organic coconut oil
- Massage onto chest, throat, and forehead as needed.
- Note: Not recommended for children under 6.
Do you have an herbal remedy you love? I'd love to hear them! Share your recipes in the comments below.
Love + Light,