10 Best Traditional Herbs That Help Treat Cold

In this Article

Herbs For Cold & Flu

How to Stay Healthy

How to Use Herbs


It is only natural for everyone to get sick as the body is bound to collapse due to stress, work conditions, or even just the weather. Especially during cold seasons, flu is unavoidable and it is not always healthy to consume numerous pills. This is why there are home remedies that can help the immune system fight off the bacteria and toxins.

This is not to say, however, that you should not take your prescribed medications because those are necessary for you to get better. But taking numerous pills can also be bad for your liver, and you should be wary of the active ingredients in your medications because it is not a smart choice to take some pills at the same time.

For instance, if both your cough syrup and pain reliever contain acetaminophen, then it is not advisable for you to take both because consuming too much of the same active ingredient can seriously damage your liver or worse, lead to other serious health problems. Besides, it does not hurt to also make wise lifestyle choices that can help you fight the cold better.

Since time immemorial, herbs are proven to be helpful when it comes to improving the health and well-being of people. Back when modern medicine and technology still did not exist, humans relied much on nature in order to heal themselves from diseases and pain.

The use of plants for medicinal purposes is not a strange concept, especially by the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Indians, Native Americans, among many others. Thankfully, herbal traditions had been passed down from one generation to the next, though some have been lost due to oral tradition, still there are a lot that were preserved until today.

Herbal medicine has even evolved in order to better fit into the needs of the different cultures of the world today.

Most of the population might depend now on modern medicine, but there are still a majority who believe in traditional medicine, and this is especially true for Indigenous people.

Additionally, herbs are a more accessible form of medical care and they are a whole lot cheaper too as compared to over-the-counter prescriptions.

10 Traditional Herbs For Treating Common Cold and Flu

Treating yourself with herbs is a natural form of care and it is in no way hazardous to your health just as long as you check your allergies and specific needs. 

Different herbs cater to different diseases, but there are quite a few that help defeat the common cold. The common cold occurs from time to time, and when it does, at times all you can do is simply to ride it out.

Here are the top 10 herbs that are the best when it comes to fighting the common cold:

1. Catnip


This herb has a strong smell and it is mostly because it belongs in the mint family. Catnip’s dried leaves and white flowers had long been used for medicinal properties. Both of these can be used to make tea, and it may be a cure for different conditions such as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety. 

You may consume this herb directly as a form of tea, but you may also apply or inhale different products with this herb as the key ingredient. Its biggest benefit is its calming effect on the body and this is because it contains nepetalactone. This component may be used as a herbal sedative, and it is proven that it can reduce restlessness and nervousness.

If you are sick and cannot sleep because of the pain, then this may be the solution for you. It is known to cause mild drowsiness because of its calming effect, and so it is better to drink catnip tea at night before bed. More than this, another side effect is it can cause you to frequently urinate. 

When you are sick, it is best to urinate more often because this means you are flushing out all the bacteria in your body. Another fair warning, catnip may only be consumed by adults as it can be dangerous for infants and children.

2. Sage


Sage is a popular remedy for the common cold as there is even an old saying that goes, “Why should a man die while sage grows in his garden?” This is because sage has anti-microbial and anti-viral elements that make it beneficial for people when they are sick.

While it may not help you live forever, still it can help you prevent any illnesses before they can become serious. It can not only help you when you have the cold, but it can also treat different conditions such as cancer, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease.

You may consume sage by cutting it into pieces and mixing it onto your soup, or by turning it into tea. There is also an essential oil that you may apply onto your head when you do not feel like consuming anything.

This dried herb is mostly available in all local stores, so accessibility should not be a problem. If you are dealing with the common cold alongside a clogged nose and/or coughing, then sage is a great option because it is drying and slightly heating.

However, to those with very high fevers or who have been dealing with dry coughs for too long should consult a doctor because sage will no longer be effective for them.

3. Elderberry


If this does not sound familiar, then you may have come across this with a different name, which is sambucus. This deep-purple berry has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, and antifungal properties, which is great for dealing against the common cold. 

It is commonly used to make syrup, which is how you may have known about this herb. Elderberries are actually also known to prevent the duration of herpes outbreaks.

The reason why it works so well as a treatment for the common cold is because of its strong antiviral properties. This is because elderberries contain hemagglutinin protein, and this protein blocks the virus’ capability to replicate and to penetrate the cell wall. 

When you consume this before getting sick, then it acts as a great prevention, but when you are already sick, then it helps the virus from spreading even further. As a precaution, you should not consume too much of the elderberries’ raw seed as this can cause nausea and vomiting. 

You may make a bottle of elderberry syrup because this can last up until 3 months if you are going to place it in the refrigerator. There are numerous instructions online that can help you make your syrup.

4. Echinacea


This herb is actually quite well-known as a treatment for influenza because of its strong antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. There had even been a research study about echinacea’s ability to reduce the severity of the influenza vaccine’s respiratory symptoms. 

This flowering plant has nine species, and its leaves, roots, flower, and steams are employed to make teas, supplements, and liquid extracts. How it helps you fight your cold is by increasing the number of your white blood cells, which is what the body is depending on to combat diseases.

When you have sinus pressure and stuffiness, then this natural remedy can come in handy. When you are already sick, then it becomes easier for you to contract other diseases, and it has been proven that echinacea helps reduce the risk of respiratory tract infections. You may also avoid getting pneumonia, ear infections, and tonsillitis. 

Again, there are precautions when taking this, such as stomach pain or nausea. If you have any allergies, then it is best to consult your doctor first because one of its side-effects is also developing a rash or swelling of the skin. This is especially true for children.

5. Pelargonium


Pelargonium takes roots from South Africa, and it is sometimes referred to as the black geranium or Cape pelargonium. 

This herb has long been employed in South Africa and is a part of their traditional medicine. It is known to reduce the duration of the common cold and to alleviate the symptoms. It helps your body fight off the disease by neutralizing certain bacteria and viruses.

Of course, because everyone’s bodies are built different, pelargonium does have possible side effects for some, such as nausea, heartburn, or an upset stomach. 

Moreover, it contains coumarin, which is a substance that acts as an anticoagulant that is a type of blood thinner. It is not advised by health experts to take this herb two weeks before getting a surgery or dental procedure as it may lead to excessive bleeding. 

The safe dosage of this herb actually varies depending on a person’s age, weight, sex, and current medications. You may take this as a form of drink or supplement, and it is not supposed to be of long-term use. 

This herb is available for immediate relief for the present, but when all is well again, it is best not to use it often.

6. Andrographis


This is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that is being employed to treat infections and inflammation. Its leaves and underground stem are the ones that are used to make medicinal properties. 

There are some studies that claim Andrographis eventually stopped the 1919 flu epidemic in India, and while there is no concrete proof of this, this herb is still known to combat the common cold and flu. 

Other than this, Andrographis is also beneficial to those who are suffering from diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain, liver conditions, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and several skin conditions like wounds and itchiness.

When you are dealing with a sore throat at the same time as your cold, then you should take this herb. You may consume this extract at the same time with Siberian ginseng and you may feel its effect on your body immediately. 

Even pharmacists are recommending this herb, much especially in Sweden and Scandinavia. Andrographis is known to be a cooling and detoxifying herb, and it is generally safer for long-term use. It is best to consume this in low to moderate doses.  

This may be difficult for American consumers to purchase because it is mostly available in Europe and Asia, but there are still places where they may find this herb like local markets.

7. Berberine


This is deemed to be one of the most effective natural supplements today. Some of its benefits include lowering your blood sugar, helping you lose weight, and improving your overall health. You may be able to spot this herb right away as it has a yellow color. 

This bioactive compound belongs to alkaloids, which is a class of compounds. It is mostly known as a traditional Chinese medicine.

It helps your body fight off the cold by binding itself to several different “molecular targets” in order for it to change their function. 

As soon as you consume berberine, the body transports it into the bloodstream, and it will eventually travel to your body’s cells. That is where it does its job of protecting your body from bacteria and toxins. 

One of its main activities inside the body’s cell is to activate an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). That is how it is able to change the function of the different molecular targets it chooses. 

As a precaution, this is not deemed as safe for children and pregnant women to consume. The correct dosage varies for different people, especially if you have diabetes, have a high cholesterol or blood pressure, and have a hormonal disorder.

8. Hyssop


This herb thrives in desolate soils and takes roots from central Asia. Hyssop is actually also safe for children to consume, which is a bonus because there are a lot of herbs that do not go well for children. This herb is known to treat the different symptoms of a cold. 

Because it is a stimulating diaphoretic, it helps your body by warming it up, pushing out the cold, and opening the pores. So, if you tend to feel cold when you are sick, then this is the perfect option for you. 

Also, if you have a cough with congested mucus, then this is great because it gets rid of mucus by stimulating and expectorating it which will then enable the lungs and coughing mechanisms to function as they should.

Even though this is generally safe for everyone to consume, it is unadvisable to take this in large doses as that can cause convulsions. The plant has anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, antiviral, carminative, and expectorant properties. It is best for you to cultivate your own in your own garden. You may consume this either as a form of tea or you may apply this onto your body as an essential oil.

9. Holy Basil (Tulsi)


No, this is not the same as the basil you may find in your kitchen. This is a popular herb in India as it is part of their traditional medicine. 

It is known to improve your immunity and to fight off cough and cold. Other than being a medicinal plant, the holy basil or Tulsi also serves as an important symbol in the Hindu religious tradition. 

When you are dealing with an acute fever, you may take an extraction of its leaves and boil it with powdered cardamom in half a liter of water. Afterwards, you may mix the drink with sugar and milk in order to bring down your temperature. This is also effective for young children.

Other than treating your cold, it is also helpful for your sore throat and/or cough. For some, when they get sick, they also develop other illnesses. You may consume Tulsi leaves as a form of tea, or you may even chew on them to improve your immune system. Holy basil has a lot of key benefits and these include improving your memory, preventing kidney stones and stress, and treating mouth infections and skin disorders.

10. Fire Cider


This may sound like a strange name to you, but this has been a natural remedy for years. You may have come across apple cider, or other types of cider, and this is actually made from raw apple cider vinegar as well. 

It is a combination of roots, peels, and immune boosting herbs which are all steeped in vinegar. Fire cider contains antiviral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. 

You may consume this as hot or cold, and as a form of drink or mixed with a dish. You may also add other herbs so it will be extra effective, like ginger, turmeric, rosemary, mint, or lemon grass.

It is easy for you to make this at home because there are numerous recipes available online, and what makes it even greater is that it is entirely customizable. If you have certain allergies or food preferences, then you may cater this drink according to your own liking. As a precaution, try not to take this on a daily basis because fire cider is very acidic. Make sure to drink water afterwards in order for you to mitigate the risk.

How to Stay Healthy during Flu Season

No one likes to get sick, and this is a fact because of various reasons, such as it is uncomfortable and brings a lot of stress and worry. This is not to mention that getting treatment costs a lot of money. Although it is unavoidable, there are still ways to prevent the common cold. 

It is best to get an adequate amount of sleep, because this is an important time for your body to heal and to stay healthy. Doctors would advise around eight hours of sleep every night. 

When you are asleep, make sure that your gadgets are far away from you because the blue light from your electronic devices can actually cause harm to your melatonin production.

Of course, it goes without saying that you should eat healthy. This means you should eat less of sugar and processed dishes. While it is not wrong for you to treat yourself from time to time, you should include fruits and vegetables as a part of your diet on a daily basis. 

There are also a lot of common herbs that you can include in your diet because they are safe to consume on a daily basis and can be found in most markets. And of course, a healthy diet means being hydrated at all times. 

This means you should drink at least eight glasses of water on the daily because this will help you flush out toxins in your body. Plus, would it not be more satisfying to see your pee not be a faint or light shade of yellow?

How to Make Herbs Work Better

For some, herbal medications do not work because they are not using the ingredients properly. For instance, drinking a cup of store-bought cold-fighting tea is not enough to fight off any bacteria. 

In order to really get the benefits from a tea, you have to place two or three tea bags in a cup while letting that brew for more than 30 minutes. This is so you will allow the ingredients to really sit in well and mix properly.

When you are doubting the correct dosage you should take, it is best for you to consult a doctor or expert. You should not rely merely on your own instincts and judgment because there are certain precautions you should take before consuming the necessary herbs. 

And if you plan on mixing your herbs with your prescribed medications, then you really must consult your physician because there are active ingredients that do not go well together.

Lastly, check your symptoms and allergies properly before searching for the proper herb to take. Not every herb caters to treat the same conditions, and so you must be sure about what you are aiming to cure.


Herbal medicine has long been used since time immemorial by ancient people and traditions because it proves to be helpful when it comes to combatting certain conditions. 

However, not all herbs are suitable for every sickness, and not everyone can simply consume whatever herbs they prefer. 

There are herbs that are specifically catered to help prevent or treat the common cold, but it is also best to have a healthy lifestyle in the first place. For further complications, make sure to consult a doctor or physician.

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