8 Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season

Discover some of the best herbal teas†for cold and flu season!

Cooler weather has arrived and along with the seasonís signature sweaters, thick blankets, and cozy fires, drinking tea can be a great way to eliminate the chill. And, if you choose one of the many herbs that fight off cold and flu viruses and alleviate sinus congestion, youíll doubly reap the rewards of herbal tea-totaling. Here are some of the best herbs for cold weather.

Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season

1. Echinacea

Exciting research in the medical journal Advances in Therapy found that Echinacea extracts powerfully reduce the risk of recurring respiratory infections, while also lowering the risk of pneumonia, ear infections, tonsillitis, and pharyngitis.

Even if you already have a respiratory infection, Echinacea has been shown time after time to reduce the severity of symptoms. In one study published in the journal Cell Immunology, researchers found that Echinacea significantly reduced the symptoms of upper respiratory infections. Echinacea demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory properties that are likely responsible for these effects.

2. Elderberry and Elder Flower

Elderberry has a lengthy history of use as a natural cold and flu fighter.

Research in the journal Nutrients found that it significantly reduced the duration of colds in those who contracted cold viruses compared to those using a placebo.

In its herb texts, Dominion Herbal College in British Columbia, Canada, recommends a strong peppermint and elder tea to promote perspiration and fend off oncoming colds and flus. According to the college: “To make this traditional remedy, steep one tablespoon each peppermint leaves and elder flowers in hot water. Drink a half to a full cup every 30 to 45 minutes at the first sign of a cold or flu, until you start perspiring. Then take two tablespoons every hour or two until your fever breaks or your symptoms improve.”

3. Ginger

More and more exciting research showcases gingerís potency against viruses and bacteria alike, even when antibiotic or antiviral drugs fail, according to world-renowned herbalist, Stephen Harrod Buhner in his book Herbal Antivirals.† Thatís great news as we attempt to eliminate nasty viruses this time of year.

4. Melissa/Lemon Balm

While Melissa, also known as lemon balm, is widely known for its antiviral effects, particularly against the herpes virus, newer research has begun to test the virus against other viral diseases, including the flu.

In one study researchers found that Melissa essential oil effectively inhibited the bird flu virus. More research needs to be done to confirm the study but these initial results offer promise in this regard. And, since Melissa is such a lovely-tasting and safe herb, why wait for more study results when you can start enjoying it immediately?

5. Oregano

While it may not be the best tasting tea you ever drank, oregano has long been held in regard as a potent natural anti-infectious herb, with proven effects against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. It is in the latter capacity that youíll want to include oregano tea into your daily regime to help keep cold and flu viruses at bay.

6. Peppermint

Author of The Green Pharmacy and botanist, James Duke, PhD, recommends peppermint tea to help alleviate sinus congestion. If your sinuses feel congested, drink a cup of peppermint tea two to three times daily.

7. Thyme

Thyme has been approved by the German government as a treatment for coughs, respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough. Flavonoids found in the plant have been found to relax muscles in the trachea linked to coughing and inflammation.

8. Yarrow

In the herb world, yarrow is known as one of the best herbs to induce sweating. Why would you actually want to increase sweating? It is well known among herbal practitioners that sweating helps to reduce fevers and help the body fight off infections. Sweating is one of the best ways for the body to reduce its internal temperature and eliminate toxic buildup linked to infections.

How to Make Herbal Tea for Cold and Flu Season

  • Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed fresh or dried herb (leaves, except in the case of elder in which the flowers or berries are used, or ginger in which the fresh or dried root is used) to 1 cup of boiled water.
  • Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Strain and drink.

Of course, you can mix and match herbs to get the perfect blend for your needs and taste preferences. Peppermint tends to boost the flavor of any herbal tea. Drink 3 cups daily for maximum therapeutic effect. Be sure to check with your doctor if you suffer from any health conditions or are taking and pharmaceutical drugs.

Related from Care2

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worldís Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking.

Image via Thinkstock.


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Janine F3 months ago


Paola S
Paola S3 months ago

Thank you

Aaron F
Past Member 3 months ago

I don't get colds or the flu...good thing...I hate teas...

Mark T
Mark T3 months ago


Stephanie s
Stephanie s3 months ago

Ginger tea i love.

Janis K
Janis K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Mike R
Mike R3 months ago