5 herbs that fight cold and flu symptoms

November 6, 2014

Herbs can tame horrible cold and flu symptoms, but it's important to choose ones that are scientifically proven to work. Below are five fabulous herbs that will shorten your downtime and make sick days more bearable.

5 herbs that fight cold and flu symptoms

1. Ginseng

Scientific studies suggest that taking ginseng regularly may prevent you from catching a cold or the flu. Regular ginseng users also reported that their colds were shorter when they were taking the herb, so it is best used as a preventative measure.

2. Thyme

Used in cough drops, thyme is a great herb to soothe coughing and acute bronchitis. To brew a cup of soothing thyme tea, place a teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves in a tea ball, and then brew in a mug of warm water. You can add honey to further soothe your throat. If you're looking for a decongestant, try adding a few drops of thyme essential oil into a humidifier or a pot of boiling water.

3. Garlic

Known for its potent antibacterial and antiviral properties, garlic can help banish cold and flu germs. Some studies indicate that eating garlic can help with the symptoms of a respiratory infection or a cold. Scientists are also studying its effects on pneumonia and bronchitis. Instead of buying an expensive garlic supplement, you might want to consider adding fresh, minced garlic to soups and other foods.

4. Cayenne pepper

If you can handle it, a healthy sprinkle of cayenne pepper in your chicken soup could help relieve congestion in your nose and throat. It can also be steeped in your tea for an extra kick. Even after you recover, consider adding it to foods regularly because it increases your metabolism.

5. Ginger

Adding ginger to your diet is a scientifically proven way to fight nausea, and is often taken in tea. Scientists are also investigating ginger's ability to reduce inflammation, which is also useful when you're feeling sick. Fresh ginger works fine for preventing nausea, but powdered ginger or ginger tablets are also an option.

These five herbs can help reduce cold and flu symptoms, but the best choice is to try to avoid getting sick in the first place. An annual flu shot, combined with regular consumption of ginseng and garlic, can help you avoid needing remedies for illness in the first place.

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