Herbal remedies are a great way to care for your family during the winter months when we are all feeling run down. Almost all of the herbs for cold and flu relief are found either on my land or from trusted suppliers.
Many times, the simple effort you take to show love and concern for your family member is enough to help him or her feel better. A warm bath, a cup of tea, and a little one on one time can work wonders.
Here are 5 herbs that can be made into simple herbal remedies, and administered as needed. If you are just starting out using herbal remedies, these are 5 starter herbs to build your confidence. Don’t feel that you have to be a beginner, however. These are also the 5 most commonly used herbs in my herbal cabinet. My motto is to start simple and if it works, keep at it.
In no particular order, let’s take a look at 5 herbs that help support the immune system and help fight colds and flu.
1. Lemon Balm
What’s not to love? It tastes fantastic and has known anti-viral properties. I have never met anyone who didn’t enjoy the refreshing taste. Lemon balm can be used to fight colds and flu or help make bitter medicine taste much better.
Lemon balm also is used as a remedy for stress. This can be useful for cranky, sick people, who need to calm down and get some rest. That includes most of us at some point. Lemon balm pairs well with other lemony herbs, like chamomile; and is also perfect with a minty blend.
It is always fun to include this delicious herbal into the mix of remedies. What a great way to introduce someone who is wary of herbs, to the enjoyment that they can bring. I make elderberry syrup all the time, using it on pancakes and for a simple tonic by mixing a little with hot water in a mug.
If you do not have access to wild elderberries, dry will work just as well – be warned, if you dry your own, they shrink to a very tiny size and can fall through the mesh on your dehydrator trays.
Sage is much more than a holiday herb. As a medicinal, it is a go-to herb for soothing sore throats and coughs. Make a simple gargle (fancy word for cooled tea), and enjoy the relief this handy herb brings.
Of course, I have to remind you that it should be used with caution for breastfeeding moms due to its ability to dry up milk.
4. Slippery Elm
I know this is officially a tree, but the herbal indications are wonderful. Traditionally used as a first food, slippery elm is known to have mucilage properties, perfect for soothing mucous membranes. Turn to this common herbal when suffering from a sore throat (In fact, dust your homemade cough drops with it), upset stomach, and especially for diarrhea. Actually referring to the inner bark of the elm tree, this herb can be fed just like oatmeal or mixed into another cooked cereal.
Something to note, slippery elm is extremely light and fluffy. When you buy a pound, be ready to receive a huge, fluffy bag of shredded bark. I will never forget my first time opening my package and wondering where in the heck I was going to keep all of it (a glass jar works well).
It seems no matter what sort of cold we get around here, it always includes lung congestion. This is exactly what mullein can remedy. It helps clear congestion when used as tea. I highly recommend mixing with other more flavorful herbs, due to its bitter taste, but an older child or adult can manage it just fine.
Be sure to strain tea twice to remove the tiny hairs that can irritate the throat when consumed. I use an unbleached coffee filter for this task. It ensures nothing but tea gets through.
I have a popular herbal tea blend you may like: Breathe Easy Tea