The cold winter can be challenging, temperature-wise. If you can stay curled up in a bed all season, you would. Sometimes, you do spend days in bed but not to relax, only to nurse a flu or cold.
It is easy to catch colds in winter because of poor indoor air quality that spreads the viruses easily. But, you can also catch a cold without being exposed to viruses. The event is instantaneous and comes after an exposure to a sudden differential temperature. And when it happens, you need to chase the cold away before it weakens the immune defenses and the pathogens take over.
Cold and Flu-Busting Herbs
Turmeric: Curcuma longa is a potent spice in treating diseases and giving the body its overall wellness. It possesses antiviral and antibacterial properties that shield it against many types of pathogens. Taking turmeric also boosts the immune system to prevent infections.
The best way of taking turmeric as a cold buster is to dissolve a teaspoon in a warm glass of milk with a pinch of black pepper. You can also make a mother paste from turmeric and ghee (clarified butter) to increase its absorbability. It enables turmeric to impart its healing properties more effectively.
Ginger: Zingiber officinale is the next best rhizome that pairs well with it too. Ginger contains compounds like gingerol that warm the body from the inside. It is especially beneficial in the regions of the lungs to cure colds and coughs. It is usually taken as a tea or steam inhalation.
Echinacea: Echinacea purpurea is an excellent immune enhancer that prevents illness and speeds up the healing process. It has been used for generations in treating colds, fever and other respiratory tract problems. If you have nasal congestion because of the weather, boil 3 to 4 echinacea leaves and drink it to alleviate stuffy nose.
Elderberry: Sambucus nigra is a traditional medicine for coryza, cold and flu. It is a warming fruit that energizes the body to warm up the tissue and improve health. Elderberry is also packed with antioxidants that help boost health at the cellular level. Elderberry is used in the form of fruit syrup and is prepared by boiling the crushed berry with honey into a thick consistency.
Cayenne pepper: Capsicum annuum is a good spice for fighting colds and relieving the pain that comes with it. It soothes muscle pains, joint pains, and headaches and relieves congestion. If you are experiencing chills, the warming effect of cayenne can offer a lingering relief against it.
Garlic: Allium sativum is a natural antiviral and antibiotic spice. Taking fresh garlic builds up the immune resistance to ward off illnesses or treat a current one. Garlic’s warming nature makes it the best herb for tea in cold weather. It is also the easiest one to make when nursing a flu because it is always readily available in the kitchen.
Carrot: Carrot is a vegetable that promotes good eyesight and healthy skin. Drinking its juice may also relieve cold by cleaning the airways and treating irritations. Unknown to some, carrots are an excellent expectorant that lubricate the throat and clear away the irritation.
More Fresh Fruits: When the cold season rolls in, help your body get ready by adding more fruits rich in Vitamin C. Berries, apples, mangoes, kiwis and citrus are all excellent against the common cold. Freshly squeezed juice or smoothies prepared from fresh fruits are the best way to get the needed Vitamin C for strength, vigor and overall feeling of wellness.
Thyme: Thymus vulgaris is a helpful herb to consider when colds and coughs are prevalent. Thyme is a lung detoxifier and is effective in many types of respiratory problems. It is also an antipyretic that reduces the internal body temperature during a fever.
Oregano: Origanum vulgare is a therapeutic herb that can heal many diseases. During the cold, taking oregano is a means of protecting the body, especially the lungs, from viruses and bacteria. It is best for cough and lung irritation and is also an excellent analgesic for relieving body pain when used orally or topically.
Chamomile: Matricaria chamomilla is often used as a sleep aid for its excellent sedative properties. This herb is also a good immune booster that increases the body’s ability to ward off pathogens. If you are down with the flu, take chamomile tea to help you rest well and regain your health and balance.
Peppermint: Mentha piperita has that cooling menthol effect that relieves blocked nose to ease difficulty in breathing. Just inhaling its steam can be a relaxing therapy if you are running a cold. Peppermint also acts as a fever reducer and reduces the number of sick days.
Cold Buster Recipe Combo
If you have a cold or are simply feeling the nagging winter chill, here are two of the most potent recipes you can pair.
A good old herbal chicken broth does not only warm the stomach but also provides the much-needed nutrition to prevent or cure an illness. And, you can finish the day with a cold buster drink that dispels infection and gives a good night’s rest.
These recipes are guaranteed to boost your immunity and uplift your spirit to enjoy the season that many people dread.
Anything hot, from piping soups to warm teas is a welcome relief during winter. Teas that restore the body’s balance are one good cup to start your day or end it at night.
Cold-Fighting Herbal Broth
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch ginger root, diced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper powder
- ¼ tsp pink salt
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp honey
- Put the chicken broth in a pot.
- Add the garlic, ginger, oregano, thyme, cayenne pepper and salt.
- Boil for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the lemon juice and honey and mix well.
- Sip a bowl of this cold buster, best during breakfast for a healthy and warm start. A garlic bread on the side, grilled cheese and avocado sandwich, or spinach salad is a good addition to this healing bowl.
This recipe is good for one person. You can adjust the quantity of the ingredients if you’re cooking for a few more people.
Cold Buster Tea
- 1 tsp chamomile flowers
- 1 tsp peppermint leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 ½ tbsp honey
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- Place the chamomile and peppermint in a teabag or tea infuser. Alternatively, you can use store-bought chamomile and peppermint if you don’t have loose-leaf tea available.
- In a cup, pour the lemon juice and add the boiling water.
- Steep the chamomile and peppermint tea bags into the lemon water mixture for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags and add honey and cayenne, if using it. Cayenne gives the tea a strong kick of spiciness but is extra useful if you have blocked sinuses. If you don’t like the hotness, you can just omit it.
Take a cup of this tea any time of the day, but it works better when taken before bedtime. If you feel like catching a cold and symptoms are kicking in, concoct a cup of this tea to stop it from happening.
The overall wellness during the cold season lies in a healthy diet and proper hydration. Healthy food choices give the body the energy and warmth it needs to combat the cold temperatures and looming diseases.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and natural juices to flush away harmful toxins. Staying active is also important in improving the mood and reducing anxiety in the dreary weather.