Winter is cold and flu season. Sore throats, bronchitis, and an array of upper respiratory tract infections are common. This year, experts acknowledge that the most common strains of flu are posing health issues for children and middle aged adults more frequently than other influenza strains generally create health risks to the elderly.
Of course, everyone is at risk for contracting respiratory ills during the winter months. Flu outbreaks are at extremely high levels in several regions right now. Many cases are being detected in people who have received the current year’s influenza vaccine. Fortunately, many herbs offer protection against flu and other respiratory infections. Herbs are used to relieve coughs, fever, sore throats, and congestion, too.
Kitchen Herbs Prevent Viral and Bacterial Infections — including Colds and Flu
Oregano possesses strong antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal compounds. It improves the health of the immune system. Oregano soothes and promotes healing of inflamed and irritated mucus membranes. The herb helps to prevent and heal many ills; however, it is exceptionally well-suited for restoring the health of the respiratory tract.
Make syrup of oregano, or simply brew a tea by covering four teaspoons of dried or four tablespoons of fresh oregano leaf with one quart of boiling water. Cover the container. Let the herb steep for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, strain out the herb and compost it. Drink the tea as desired throughout the day. Teas for respiratory ills are best consumed hot.
You may even use oregano to make an herbal steam. Simply sprinkle some oregano in a bowl. Cover with steaming hot water. Place a towel over your head and the bowl. Breathe normally, while in the herbal steam tent. Herbal steams rapidly reduce congestion and unclog stuffy sinuses. Steams are an excellent method of delivering the healing, germ-reducing compounds in oregano directly to the passages within your respiratory tract.
If you do not have oregano, then thyme, marjoram, sage or basil may be used instead. Use oregano and these other herbs liberally the next time that you suffer from or are exposed to colds, flu, sore throats or bronchitis. Thyme is a powerful herb which prevents secondary bacterial infections from developing when the system is weakened due to viral illness. Sage is particularly soothing if a sore throat is present.
Use natural remedies to treat viral illnesses. Always consult with your health care provider if your illness is serious or prolonged. Consult with your health care provider if the sick individual is a child, elderly or has other health issues. For most viral conditions, and many bacterial ills, natural remedies provide valuable protection and effective treatment options for upper respiratory infections. .
Herbal Alternative to Steroids
Conventional medical practitioners sometimes prescribe steroids to reduce inflammation and open up the airways when infection is present. Unfortunately steroids possess many undesirable side effects. Sometimes these medications are needed — such as when breathing is labored. However, if symptoms are less severe, you may opt to use herbs to promote similar, yet gentler effects.
Chamomile enhances the body’s production of a human steroid, cortisone. Simply drink chamomile tea. It is readily available in grocery stores. Chamomile is easy to grow in your own garden, too. This tasty herb is gentle enough for children, yet possesses powerful healing effects. Chamomile reduces inflammation and opens up breathing passages. It reduces the production of excess phlegm. The herb settles a nauseated stomach which is precipitated secondary to frequent or harsh coughs.
Licorice root possesses even more powerful compounds than chamomile. Licorice root may be consumed as a tincture, capsule or tea. Purchase licorice root from herbalists.
I enjoy drinking sweet licorice tea. Licorice may be blended with other less palatable herbs, such as echinacea. It is an outstanding expectorant. Licorice thins mucus; so that it may be expectorated easily. In addition, licorice root calms coughs due to its antispasmodic qualities. Use licorice root only when symptoms are present. If you have high blood pressure, use licorice labeled as DGL licorice, as regular licorice may increase your blood pressure.
Have a Cup of Tea to Fight Respiratory Illness
Here is a recipe which supports immune health and reduces common symptoms of respiratory illness; such as runny nose, fatigue, cough and clogged nasal passages. Simply combine the following ingredients and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain out and compost the herbs. Drink the hot tea as desired throughout the day. Add slices of citrus and honey to boost its healing benefits.
- Elderberry 1 teaspoonful
- Licorice 1 teaspoonful
- Echinacea root 1 teaspoonful
- Ginger 1 teaspoonful
- Water 1 quart
This blend contains vitamin rich herbs that have been used for centuries in order to open clogged sinuses and noses, comfort sore throats, and enhance immune health.
Herbs offer multiple benefits during cold and flu season. Use them to prevent and relieve suffering due to respiratory ills.