How to treat colds and the flu with natural healing herbs


Elderflowers for treating colds

Well, here it is, cold and flu season.  It is time to start boosting the ol’ immune system.

If you live in the real world, you are going to encounter cold and flu viruses.  There are a number of things you can do to help your body resist the virus, and if that doesn’t work, there are things you can do to make the disease far less miserable.

Today, many of us are concerned about the possible adverse effects of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, and prefer to use natural means of treating common ailments.  There are a number of effective precautions we can take without having to open the medicine cabinet.  Many of these remedies can be found in our own food cabinets or are easily accessible.

Salt water

Gargle and irrigate the nasal passages with a saline solutions helps kill and remove germs and sooth inflamed membranes


Drink lots of liquids.  Herbal teas and water help to flush and fortify the system.


Breath the vapors to clear the airways or rub Vicks (mentholated petroleum jelly) on chest.

Vitamin C

The more the merrier.  Large doses of vitamin C are very helpful in curing colds and flu.  Don’t worry about taking too much.  It isn’t possible.

Vitamin D

Should be taken regularly (get sunshine), year round to reinforce the immune system and help prevent disease.


Probiotics have been found to help against colds, but milk products tend to help build phlegm, so maybe yogurt should be avoided.


Useful herbs

There are many plants out there that are very helpful in fighting the symptoms of colds and flu.   There are a number of herbal remedies available in tincture form, or you can make your own tinctures.  However, I find the most effective way to get the goodness of plants is with infusions.  Unlike the teas that we drink for pleasure, an infusion must sit for several hours before drinking, in order to extract all the plant’s goodness.

When I make an infusion I use about an ounce of dried herbs to about 6 cups of water.  I pour the boiling water over the herb and let it sit for three to four hours.  When it is still warm I add about 2 tablespoons local raw honey to sweeten and to add more healing properties.  I also add half a lemon (sliced).

The resultant tea is quite delicious and if taken early enough, very effective.


Whenever I feel any symptoms coming on I go down into my “Hobbit Hole” where I keep all my dried herbs, oils and tinctures.  There, I consider what my main symptoms are and reach for the jars with the appropriate ingredients to make a remedial tea. 

My favorite tea mixture for treating colds:


1/2 ounce Elderflowers

1/2 ounce mint (almost any kind will do, but I prefer spearmint, peppermint or lemon balm)

1/2 ounce Coltsfoot leaf

1/2 ounce Mullein leaf


A tea of mullein leaves relieve coughs


Other useful and effective herbs include: echinacea, heal-all, sage, boneset, oregano, stinging nettle and ground ivy.  Of course there are many others available depending on where you live.


Mountain mint and mullein are good for clearing congestion.  Just place either (or both) into hot water and breath the vapors (with a towel over the head to create a kind of tent to contain the steam).  After about ten to fifteen minutes, you should notice a big difference.


Don’t think for a minute that herbs are too mild to have any noticeable effects.  Plants can be very powerful, both as healers and as harmers.  If you have trouble believing that, just look at three common herbs that effect the lives of many of us – coffee, tobacco and marijuana.


Of course, I can’t write an article about colds and flu without a mention of zinc.  Research has proven that taking zinc will reduce your suffering by half.  Although it is not strictly a natural cure, it is highly effective.  Zinc lozenges are generally available without a prescription.


Antibiotics are no use with viruses, and kill off useful flora in the intestines, so don’t waste your time trying to cure a cold that way.  Rather, you should use probiotics to help build up your immunity.


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