Examples of Herbal Remedies for the Common Cold

By: Ellen Douglas


Before the advent of commercial cough syrups and cold tablets, botanicals came to the rescue of cold sufferers. Some herbs relieve congestion or enable you to “sweat out the cold.” Additional herbal remedies offer antibacterial properties or warm chilled muscles. Many herbs are effective whether used in recipes, teas, baths or massage oils, but always check with a physician before using any unfamiliar herbs, particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


Herbal Massage

Aromatherapist Jeanne Rose's cold-fighting massage oil uses 20 to 25 drops of essential oil to 2 ounces of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, olive or jojoba. Rose suggests using equal parts basil, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary essential oils. If the cold is accompanied by chills, add cinnamon oil. Rub this oil on your arms, leg and chest. Of course, if you're lucky enough to have a dedicated partner or massage therapist to apply the blend to your back, by all means take advantage of this comforting herbal pampering.


Herbal Tea and Herbal Supplements

To lessen the length and severity of a cold, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) recommends drinking specific herbal teas two or three times a day. UMMC’s recommended teas include echinacea root, linden flower, chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus leaf and goldenseal. Herbalist Barbara Griggs' book, “The Green Witch Herbal” additionally suggests catnip, elderflower, yarrow, hyssop, white horehound or ginger root. Take these herbs in capsules, rather than tea form, if you prefer, although warm drinks provide mucus-loosening benefits as well as the specific properties of the herbs. 

The traditional remedy of hot water with lemon juice and honey works because it prevents dehydration while also loosening congestion, according to the Mayo Clinic. Jeanne Rose’s recipe involves squeezing the juice of one lemon into a mug, to which grated lemon peel, one drop of lemon essential oil, hot water and a dash of whiskey or brandy is added. Omit the alcohol to make the brew “virgin,” if you prefer.


Herbal Baths

Add essential oils or herbal infusions to a warm bath to ward off an oncoming cold or lessen the severity of an existing one. Use one or more of the essential oils mentioned in the herbal massage section--basil, eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary--along with Scotch pine or ginger essential oils. Do not add more than 5 drops total of essential oil to the bathwater. If you’re nervous about skin allergies, blend the essential oils in a cup of milk or olive oil first rather than adding the essential oils directly to the bath. To infuse your own dried herbs or store-bought botanicals, make a large batch of infused herbs just as you would for a double or triple batch of herbal tea. Readily available herbs that soothe colds include basil, chamomile, lavender, catnip, peppermint and eucalyptus. Add one to two handfuls of dried herbs, or several tea bags, to a large pot of water. Bring the water to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Strain the herbs, then add the herb-infused water to the bath once it cools slightly. For extra cold-fighting impact, strain the herbs into cheesecloth or muslin, secure the cloth with a rubber band, and add this “teabag” to the bathtub along with the herb-infused water.

Wild Foods

Many people fail to understand that “starve a cold, feed a fever” is a warning--not an instruction. In other words, if you fail to nourish yourself properly while suffering from a cold, you may end up with a more severe illness. “The Green Witch Herbal” suggests boosting your immune system with wild-harvested herbs such as chickweed, nettles and dandelions. In addition, some foods induce perspiration, which is helpful for flushing out the cold before it becomes more serious. Combine cooked or raw onions and garlic with black pepper or cayenne pepper.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/119713-examples-herbal-remedies-common-cold/#ixzz2U8ivqRGL


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