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Medicinal Teas for Colds and Flu

My Doctor’s Dilemma

“Patients come to me for colds and flu and they want me to prescribe something like an antibiotic. They don’t realize that with most colds and flu the body will heal itself in about the same amount of time. But if I don’t prescribe something they feel like I’m not doing my job… like I haven’t helped them.”

My doctor friend was bemoaning how he could not practice medicine as he felt best, such as sending patients home with a list of home remedies to apply. It’s really interesting to consider the dilemma of such astute doctors. They know it’s not good for our bodies to use antibiotics for the common cold or influenza… they know that these things just have to run their course and that there are home remedies that can help to alleviate symptoms and possibly even expedite healing by a little. But…

Doctors tend to be bound by their profession and the expectations of patients to prescribe things we don’t need.

Growing and cultivating herbs good for colds and flu, then turning them into teas, offers powerful restorative benefit from garden—or windowsill—to the pantry, to a cup full of steaming nutrition from our own garden medicine “cabinet”. We should call our medicinal herb beds, Medicine Beds!

When my son got the NASTY flu going around in January, 2018, I started increasing my doses of immune boosting tinctures and teas. I did finally succumb to catching it, however, while my son was bedridden for 5 days and vomiting and then diarrhea, I only had low grade fever and mild aches for two days. I lost my appetite but no vomiting, (best of all worlds for losing weight ;-)).

I’m certain that my heavy doses of echinacea, goldenseal, citrus fruits and lemon and lime water, plus manuka honey, made a huge difference in how the bug hit me. It was the mildest flu I’ve ever had, whereas for my son, it was the worst. And my husband and daughter, also dosed up on natural remedies and managed to only feel chilly and low energy and less appetite for a couple days but nothing more.

Treat Your Cold with Immune Boosting Herbs

We know there’s no “cure” for colds and flu. They need to run their course.  However, we can certainly—daily—in health and in sickness, boost our immune system with gifts form the garden.

Herbal remedies reinforce our immunity troops and get them ready for battle.

There are endless combinations of delightful garden herbs we can use to create and enjoy our own wonderful restorative herbal tea concoctions that can provide daily doses of nutrients.


If you don’t yet have your own storehouse of healing garden herbs, our favorite go-to medicinal herbal teas are: Traditional Medicinals Teas.

If you’re not sure which herbs to add to your garden or windowsill, read on for the cold care recipes to get an idea of which herbs you’ll want regular access to. Or, you can read the labels of teas like Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care Tea, and make your own home remedies. We recommend you buy several varieties, see which ones you enjoy most, or that seem most beneficial for you, then note those herbal ingredients and add those herbs to your “to grow” list.

TIP: Use the ingredients list of popular cold and flu care teas as a recipe for creating your own herbal medicine garden.

Gardeners know there’s nothing that tastes better than fresh vegetables from the garden. When our palettes become accustomed to appreciating foods so flavorful in its freshest natural state, we rarely need to doctor them up with so much seasoning.

When we wean ourselves from all the processed foods high in salt, sugar and additives so rampant in the typical American diet, we come to recognize the more subtle sweet and savory flavors direct from mother nature. I’m thinking of the sweetness of pecans, or bell peppers… the savory “salty” flavor of celery… the sweetness of butternut squash and the savoriness of turnips greens.


Similarly, herbs impart a wonderful array of subtle flavors in teas. If you’re weaning your palette from a high sugar and processed foods diet, you may feel like you need some sweetener at first. If so, we recommend growing stevia and adding some of it to your teas.

As I’ve gotten over my addiction to sugar (I might have my favorite sweetened Tazo chai only once in awhile now), I relish tasting the herbs and identifying the unique and delicate flavors. But for cold and flu care teas we add a strong round of lemon juice and manuka honey.

Editor’s Note: Manuka honey is expensive, so we only use ours as medicine for when someone in our family is sick. It’s powerful and amazingly delicious.
Manuka Health MGO 400+ Manuka Honey (20+), 250gm – 100% Pure New Zealand Honey

For more natural cold care remedies plus information on Manuka honey, you may enjoy this article.

The addition of raw unfiltered honey to your tea has been found to be beneficial health and healing and more effective than Sudafed in helping soothe a cough.


Dr. Lawrence Rosen in Treatment Alternatives for Children, cites a comparison study conducted on the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents. After studying 139 children, ages 24 to 60 months, researchers found honey to be more effective in controlling cough symptoms compared to conventional treatments. Additionally, honey-treated children slept more soundly through the night (Rosen, 2012).”


4 Herbal Teas for Cold and Flu Season

By Christina Anthis on

These recipes are not set in stone. You can substitute or add many of the herbs that you might have on hand to make your own cold and flu blend. I love to use peppermint, cinnamon, and ginger religiously in most of my own tea blends, regardless of what ailment I am focusing on. Not only are they antiviral and antiseptic but they also add a good deal of delicious flavor to the beverage. Some healing herbs don’t have the best taste and are easier to get down when their flavors are covered with these tastier herbs.

Hippy Cold Care Tea

This tea not only helps to boost immunities but has also been based upon an old Gypsy remedy that also was used to help reduce fevers.

  • 1 part elderflower (You can use the flower and the berries of the elderberry bush)
  • 1 part peppermint leaf
  • 1 part yarrow flowers and leaf

For more on the potent elderberry, you may enjoy this article.

Available on Amazon:
Yogi Teas, 16 Tea Bags (Pack of 6), Cold Season
Adams’ Elderberry Perennial Shrub – Sambucus – 4″ Pot – Hirts: Trees & Shrubs

Medicinal Herb – Siberian Yarrow is a perennial best for planting in hot, dry and sunny locations in USDA zones 3-9

Immune Boosting Tea

Elderberries and rosehips are well known immune boosters. Rich in Vitamin C, rosehips contain 40 times more vitamin C than lemons!

  • 1 part dried elderberries
  • 1 part rosehips
  • ¼ part cinnamon chips
  • ¼ part ginger root

We’re growing our own rosehips—they’re very easy to grow, in fact they like to take over! Or you can buy them dried.

Available on Amazon: Dried Whole Organic Elder Berries – 1 lb – Frontier Herbs

The Elderberry or Elderflower bush produces both berries and flowers with medicinal benefit.

High-C Immune Boosting Tea

This tea is great year around and even tasty over ice! Hibiscus with its lovely tart flavor and pretty red coloring, is rich in vitamin C, helping to boost your immunities. I really love to make this tea and serve it as a tea-lemonade!

  • 1 part hibiscus
  • 1 part rosehips
  • ½ part lemongrass
  • ½ part lemon peel
  • ¼ part cinnamon chips

Available on Amazon: 50+ Seeds of White Rose Rugosa – Fat Juicy Rosehips

Rosehips on bush
Rosehip berries

Sore Throat Tea

Sore throats really benefit from an addition of honey and lemon juice to the tea! If you can stand it, the addition of a dash of cayenne pepper is also extremely beneficial at soothing a sore throat and helping to open up the sinuses.

  • 1 part sage leaf
  • ½ part licorice root or slippery elm
  • ¼ part cinnamon chips
  • ¼ part ginger root

Or, you can get some ready made on Amazon: Traditional Medicinals Organic Throat Coat Lemon Echinacea Tea

Licorice Root is hardy in zones 7-10 in a dry, stony soil in full sun.
Licorice Root is hardy in zones 7-10 in a dry, stony soil in full sun.

For 6 more of these wonderful teas great for the cold and flu season make sure to go to the Source of this Article: TheHerbalAcademy.com1)

And if you’re not yet growing your own herbs but are ready to start, you may enjoy this article on herb gardening for beginners:

Photo Source via Flickr – Evelien Berger2)

And… recommended remedies from the GardensAll community include… WARM SOCKS!! ? We love that one! Thank you, Jenny Eshed! To that we add my FAVORITE cozy moccasin style winter boots. (I wear these indoors and out about as soon as it turns cold)!

I’m LeAura Alderson, entrepreneur, ideator, media publisher, writer and editor of Pursuits in recent years have been more planting seeds of ideas for business growth more than gardening. However, I’ve always been interested in medicinal herbs and getting nutrition and healing from food over pharmacy. As a family we’re eager to dig more deeply into gardening and edible landscape for the love of fresh organic foods and self sustainability. We thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the creative ingenuity of the GardensAll community.

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