Coughs and Colds herbal remedies
Few of us get through winter without a cold or sniffle of some kind. There is a huge variety of herbal antibiotics that can help you nip any cold in the bud. It is important to prevent if possible or at least treat early any cold symptoms to stop them becoming more serious.
Garlic - The king of anti-cold herbs is garlic, originating in Asia it has been used by the Greeks, Romans and Egyptians alike . One of the most medically scrutinised plants, garlic has been found to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. Combined with it close cousin in the plant world, onion, a powerful remedy can be made. Chop an onion and a clove of garlic, put in a pan with the juice of one lemon, a dessertspoon of honey and a mug of water and simmer gently in a covered pan for 45 mins. Drink the mixture as hot as you can, add some cayenne pepper if you are feeling particularly chilly and you will feel toasty to your toes!
Echinacea - One of the best immunity boosting herbs is Echinacea , which is considered one of the most effective herbs in Western medicine. Its complex chemistry has immune-stimulating effects, that inhibit viruses. Now days, Echinacea can be found in most chemists and even supermarkets. A course of tablets should be taken to gain the most benefit.
Elderflower/berry – both the flowers and berries have a mild antiviral action and taken as a tea can help stop a cold in its tracks as well as lowering fevers.
Eucalyptus – has anti-bacterial, decongestant and fever lowering actions. Add the essential oil to boiling water and use as a steam inhalation to ease the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, and sinusitis. Eucalyptus can also be added to a chest salve along with Lavender to ease such symptoms.
Horehound - If you are unlucky and succumb to bronchitis – always see a doctor for serious complaints – Horehound when mixed with marshmallow leaves in a mug of boiling water and left to infuse , will help soothe an irritating cough.
Sage – Sage known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties has long been used to treat sore throats, tonsillitis and laryngitis. A winter favourite of mine and one that can be found in most herb racks, if not in the garden, is a tea made from sage, rosemary and thyme. Put a teaspoon each of the dried herb or a small handful each of fresh herbs into a teapot, pour over boiling water and infuse for 10 minutes, strain and drink hot. Honey can be added for taste and extra anti- bacterial protection.
Thyme – relaxes spasms and controls coughing, making Thyme one of the most important respiratory herbs. Taken as an infusion often combined with Sage and Rosemary or as a gargle for sore throats .