Flu season is here. There are plenty of items in your pantry and kitchen cabinets (herbs and spices) to help boost your immune system. These herbs and spices will help to reduce fever, chills, aches and coughs. Some of the herbs may be new to you, so visit your local health food store and stock up. Most of the herbs mentioned can be taken in the form of a a capsule, tincture or a tea. Don’t forget to wash your hands often to prevent the spreading of germs.
Astragalus – strengthens the immune system
Cinnamon sticks – stimulates and warms the body when chilled. Steep in hot water for 15 minutes and add honey.
Echinacea – use at the first sign of symptoms; stimulates the immune system, is antiviral and anti-inflammatory
Elderberry – taken as a cough syrup (Sambucal) is good for viral respiratory disorders, helps to reduce severity of symptoms
Garlic – is antiviral, reduces nasal congestion and eases respiratory symptoms (add plenty to all foods you consume, especially soups)
Ginger – useful for chills to warm the body, fever and headaches that accompany the flu. Steep the root for 15-20 minutes and add honey (Bertaut, 2012)
Goldenseal – good for inflammation, congestion of the mucus lining of the lungs and throat
Ginseng – stimulates the immune system and helps to reduce fever
Honey – effective for treating respiratory symptoms and scratchy throats. In a cup of hot water with lemon eases coughs and fever (Ambrose, 2012).
Lemon – Rich in Vitamins B and C, has antiviral properties, helps to reduce mucus
Lobelia – an antispasmodic, expectorant; relaxes bronchial tubes to open airways, stimulates breathing and promotes the coughing up of phlegm
Mullein – because of its antispasmodic properties, mullein is useful in calming coughs due to colds and is a good expectorant
Olive Leaf – good antiviral properties and helpful as an expectorant to pull mucus from the body
Peppermint – good for soothing the body if experiencing coughing spasms
Rosehips – high in Vitamin C, A and B
Slippery Elm – a tonic herb, demulcent; good for soothing the throat due to continuous coughing
Tea Tree – when used as an aromatic spray helps to kill airborne bacteria and stimulates the immune system
Wild Cherry Bark – increases respiration and suppresses coughs, used for asthma and bronchitis
Ambrose, E. (2012, October). Taste For Life. “The flue blues: Botanicals ease misery and boost immunity”, p. 36
Bertaut, L. (2012, November/December). ASCP Skin Deep. “Wonderful winter herbs and spices”, p. 15-17