With the changing weather, the nasty viral flu has started taking its rounds, with almost everyone feeling under the weather. Although mostly quite harmless, cold and flu can be a bit of a nuisance. Symptoms such as a runny nose, itchy eyes, and a dry throat can really make one feel uncomfortable. It can also leave you feeling tired and drowsy and can sometimes worsen, causing chest infections and pneumonia.
While a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication, there is little that can be done to “treat” the flu other than waiting it out. However, there are several at-home, herbal remedies that can help reduce the severity and duration of the cold, and help you feel a tad bit better. These herbs and remedies have been used over centuries, helping you boost your immune system that can help your body fight off the virus more effectively.
Ginger: It is the perfect spice that can help with cold and flu symptoms. It is diaphoretic, meaning it can induce sweating. This makes it effective for breaking a fever. It is also a great remedy for a sore throat and can relieve chest congestion. It also boosts the immune system, helping fight off the virus and making you feel more energetic. For cold and flu, ginger can be consumed in the form of ginger tea or ginger lozenges.
Eucalyptus: This plant is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal in nature and is used for the treatment of a host of ailments like bronchitis, and pain associated with arthritis. Used in traditional medicine, its anti-inflammatory properties help with respiratory issues that often accompany cold and flu. It can also clear nasal passages of mucus, and can help break down fevers. Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to hot water and inhaling the steam should do the trick. Also, sipping on eucalyptus tea is an alternative way of fighting the virus.
Peppermint: Commonly found in cough syrups and cough drops, menthol containing peppermint is great for symptoms of flu such as a sore throat. The strong aroma can also help clear air passages, helping relieve congestion and blockage caused by mucus. It is also known to help soothe body aches that accompany a cold and can also shorten its duration due to its virucidal properties. Steam inhalation of peppermint oil or peppermint tea are some ways of making use of this herb.
Thyme: It is a great herb to clear mucus from the nose and throat which helps reduce coughing episodes. It also helps alleviate pain in the muscles, headaches, and cramping. What’s more, it has the ability to improve mood so it’s great for those suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Chamomile: The quickest way to get through a cold is to rest, rest, and rest. However, sleep is difficult to come by with a clogged nose and aching body. Chamomile has relaxing properties that can help bring about sleep. Inhaling chamomile steam can also help with respiratory issues accompanying a cold. It also has antibacterial properties and can help with infections that sometimes develop due to cold.
Hibiscus: Containing high amounts of vitamin C, antiviral and antibacterial properties, regularly consuming hibiscus tea can help strengthen the immune system and keep cold and flu at bay. It can also help keep the body hydrated which is important while suffering from a cold or flu.
Nettle: Tea brewed using nettle is a great remedy for pain. It also promotes the production of histamine helping to alleviate allergic symptoms such as a runny nose and a heaving chest. It also helps clear up airway passages, making it easier to breathe. Nettle plants are rich in many vitamins and minerals, but two of the most important are vitamin C and carotene. Both help in strengthening the immune system and fighting foreign bacteria.
Lemon: It is packed with vitamin C and antimicrobial properties, making it perfect to fight off cold and flu. However, it is important to remember to take it in hot water as cold lemon water can worsen flu symptoms. Adding a dash of honey will not only add a sweet flavor but is extremely beneficial due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Honey can also help soothe an irritated throat.
It is important to realize that these herbs are not only to be used when one catches the flu. Rather, regularly incorporating these herbs into one’s diet is the best way to improve the immune system and making it capable of fighting off potential viruses or bouncing back quickly in case of falling sick. It is also worth mentioning here that all the herbs and remedies mentioned are but a handful of the many that mother nature has bestowed us with. All the diseases that befall us are curable and these cures can be found in the many gifts of nature.