Best Herbs for the Common Cold: Cold Season Tea

| September/October 1998

You'll want to have this cold season tea on hand throughout fall and winter. Its aroma will entice you to curl up with a good book and a blanket while you sip. That’s just what you’ll need if you’ve been hit with a cold or flu bug: Rest is the best thing you can do for your body at this time.

This tea is easy to make. Blend equal parts of dried peppermint, lemon balm, elder flowers and yarrow. Store the blend in an airtight jar (preferably a dark one) in a dark place. When you’re ready to make a tea, steep 1 teaspoon of the blend for every cup of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes.

For variety, you may wish to try the favorite cold-fighting tea of Feather Jones, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Boulder, Colorado. Jones blends dried yarrow, mint (she uses peppermint or spearmint), and fresh ginger. Use equal parts of the yarrow and mint, and because of its strong taste, a small amount of ginger, and adjust to suit your tastes. Boil 1 cup of water, add 1 teaspoon of the mix, steep 5 minutes, and strain. If you like, add honey and lemon.

Jones says she sometimes adds a pinch of cayenne, another cold-fighting herb and one that will add a little zip to the tea. This brew is most helpful when taken during the early stages of colds and flus, she says, when you feel hot, dry and cranky. It helps break fevers, unplugs noses, and helps clear mucus out of the respiratory tract.

Linda B. White, M.D., is a freelance editor and writer with a focus on herbal healing.

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