My Two Favorite Herbs for Cold and Flu Season
We’re in the midst of a really bad flu season right now so I’m going to talk a bit about my two favorite herbs for the flu – actual influenza. These also work for the cold virus, too. That would be the rhino virus.
I use these as preventatives as well as during the illness itself. This influenza season is really bad so these two herbs are ones I always keep on hand.
Elderberries – Sambucus nigra and Sambucus canandensis
Elderberries inhibit viral replication.
It works best if taken as a preventative or in the early stages of a cold, flu or other respiratory virus.
Elderberries are also high in antioxidants and are moderately stimulating to the immune system, again, making elderberries a really good preventative.
These do need to be bought through an herb supplier of some sort.
A syrup or decoction (long, slower cooking method) are the best methods to extract the constituents. Don’t skimp on this.It’s basically a food, so you can drink a lot.
One of my syrup mixes or my Berry & Spice Immune Tea does the trick!
Fresh Ginger – Zingiber officinale
Right from the grocery store!
Ginger inhibits the attachment of viruses to cell walls, kills viruses and stimulates anti-viral macrophage (white blood cell) activity.
It is also diaphoretic, meaning that it makes you sweat.This often helps to lower fevers.
Ginger also reduces stomach cramping and inflammation, especially in bronchial pathways. It’s also analgesic, and may reduce the aches and pain associated with influenza.
Again, ginger is a food, so you can use it to tolerance.It makes some people hotter than others, so keep that in mind.If you’re already hot, it’s going to make you hotter.
I use ginger in one of several ways.
One is to slice about a thumb’s length of root and put it in with elderberries, about ½ cups, or my elderberry slow cooker tea, in a slow cooker.I let that cook on high for two hours or on low for overnight or all day. I drink copious amounts of this.
Ginger slice tea.Slice and simmer about a thumb’s length of ginger in about 3 cups of water for about 15 minutes or so. It’ll be really gingery!Drink this hot with honey, lemon juice to taste and a pinch of cayenne if you want extra hotness.
Ginger chicken (or vegetable) broth.Take about 3 cups of broth and simmer a thumb’s worth of sliced ginger in the broth.You can add fresh garlic and cayenne to this if you’d like as well.The garlic is antibacterial and helps the lungs repel infection.You can also add thyme and/or sage for more antibacterial action. Let those two herbs steep for a while in the broth and drink.
I hope this helps you survive the flu season in better health!