by Brittany Shutts
They say that the cold won’t give you a cold, yet at some point during the winter everyone seems to get sick at once. Old wives tale or not, some symptom relief is in order. Before you turn to the Dayquil, Nyquil, or any other “-quil,” try a relaxing cup of tea. Are you suffering from a runny nose, sore throat, fever, chills, or cough? There’s a tasty tea for every symptom.
When the people around you are sneezing and red of nose, boost your immune system. A daily dose of green tea is a great place to start. A study from Japan shows that this powerful plant not only prevents cancer but other viruses, such as colds and the flu. A mere five seconds of contact with the flu virus is enough to make it non-infectious. Japan is onto something. If that’s not your cup of tea, try it in capsule form.
Echinacea and goldenseal fortify the immune system. These herbs come in the form of teas and capsules. Goldenseal also breaks up mucous and prevents bacterial infections. It increases blood flow to the spleen, a center for the immune system, and contains berberine to stimulate white blood cells to destroy bacteria and viruses. For a healthy dose of Vitamin C, blackberry, sometimes called bramble, or a deep red rosehip tea will do the trick. Lemon prevents and treats cold symptoms, so a liberal dose of this sweet citrus is highly recommended.
For a sore throat, marshmallow root tea has the ability to decrease inflammation. The stuff that holds your s’mores together is unfortunately not made of the same thing. Another deceptively named herb is licorice root. Don’t be put off by the image of sticky black Twizzlers that it is certain to bring to mind. Licorice is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and entirely delicious. Slippery elm is an antiseptic herb that truly lives up to its name, and brewed together with marshmallow root and licorice root, you’re sore throat won’t stand a chance.
Peppermint is an antiseptic herb that also is good for the nausea that often accompanies the flu. Yogi makes a marvelous licorice peppermint tea that soothes the throat, clears the sinuses, and even settles the stomach. Another tea that combats nausea as well as other flu symptoms is ginger. It dissipates chills and achy muscles and even helps to prevent the virus. Cinnamon alleviates nausea and vomiting and tastes great.
Herbal teas are very soothing for respiratory conditions. Anise, or aniseed, a well-known treatment for colicky babies, is also a remedy for the coughing, bronchitis, and asthma. Oolong contains expectorants that expel mucous from the lungs. The caffeine dilates the bronchial tubes to ease breathing, making this tea another good choice for sufferers of asthma. You can counteract the jittery effects of the caffeine with the addition of chamomile.
A blend of thyme, eucalyptus, and rosemary makes a spicy tea for your respiratory ailments. Thyme is an anti-septic that often appears on the ingredients list for herbal mouthwashes. You may recognize eucalyptus as the active ingredient of cough drops, as it reduces inflammation and congestion. Certain compounds in rosemary fight diseases. Inhale deeply as you sip.
To quickly cool down a fever, brew a tea with equal parts elder flowers and peppermint. Boneset is also an effective herb for fevers. Brew a tea with two teaspoons of boneset and a cup of boiling water. Lemon balm causes sweating and helps to expel toxins. Yarrow is another herb that causes sweating. Sage tea cools fevers and treats many other symptoms with its anti-bacterial properties. This herb will help when you lose your voice and it is also effective when gargled.
Traditional Medicinals is an organic brand that makes a potent peppermint tea for sore throats and stomach ailments. Yogi also has a number of organic blends for a variety of symptoms, such as Cold Season, Throat Comfort, and Breathe Deep. You can find these teas at many supermarkets and especially health food stores. For a local cup of tea, try the Simpson and Vail teashop in Brookfield, Connecticut. You can find their website here.
Sweet tea is always a pleasure to sip, but white sugar suppresses the immune system. Try one of these alternatives. Honey is a natural choice that soothes the throat while bolstering your body with vitamins and minerals. Blackstrap molasses also contains many minerals like iron, calcium, and phosphorus. Agave syrup is twice as sweet as white sugar, yet has fewer calories and has a lower glycemic level. A little bit of stevia, a calorie-free herb, goes a long way as a sweetener.
Image courtesy of www.teapotnirvana.com.