Herbs for Coughs, Colds and Flu

Flu, coughs and colds seem to be an inevitable part of Winter and Spring.  We are social beings and all it takes is one person to be sick, and so many others are infected.  In Johannesburg we have the added aggravation of dry air and winter dust contributing to coughs and sinus problems, not to mention pollution.

cold flu Barefoot LifeA good idea is to take echinacea to build up your immune system, and make sure your diet includes plenty of garlic, ginger and turmeric which all have antiviral properties.

Flu and cold medicines treat the symptoms such as coughs, congestion, head and body aches. There are several herbs that will do exactly the same, and you probably have some of them in your garden. If not, the dried herbs are easily available at health shops or Dischem. ‘Natural Products’ has a large range of reasonably priced, organic herbs.  It’s a good idea to buy the Natural Products herbs for culinary use too. They are far cheaper than the glass jars you buy at supermarkets which are also radiated to extend shelf life.

Most of the following herbs can be taken as an infusion (tea or tisane).
Use 1 Tbsp fresh herb, or 1 tsp dried herb in 1 cup boiling water. Leave for 5-10 minutes and drink. Use honey to sweeten, which is antibacterial and soothes sore throats.  Lemons are excellent for flu symptoms, so add a slice if possible.
An infusion can also be used for steaming.

Sage (Salvia officinalis) – Coughs, mouth sores, sore throats – use as a gargle
Ground Ivy (Glechoma bederacea) – Anti catarrhal. Excellent for coughs, sinus and bronchial congestion

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Expectorant for deep chesty coughs with thick phlegm.
Elderberries (Sambucus nigra) – Expectorant and anti-inflammatory
Plantain (Plantago major or lanceolata) – Eases dry coughs, anti catarrhal
Peppermint or Wild Mint – Mentha piperata or longifolia) – Fevers, coughs, congestion
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) – Expectorant, promotes sweating, aches and pains (Best left to  infuse for 15 minutes)
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) – Coughs, increases sweating
Fever Tea (Lippia javanica) – Coughs, fever, headaches
Wilde Als (Artemisia afra) – Coughs, congestion, headache, fever. Leaves can be inserted into the nostrils. Steaming with WIlde Als is very effective.

Safe for children
Catnip (Nepeta cataria) -Cools fevers, reduces catarrh, soothing
Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) – Relaxing, for dry coughs and bronchial infections

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) – Calming, sore throats, catarrh

Sweet Violet – Coughs


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