Cold & Flu Herbal Remedies



  • Alcohol-free echinacea and goldenseal combination extract can enhance immune function and keep the virus from multiplying. Take at the first sign of a cold. Echinacea shortens the duration of colds and flu. Goldenseal relieves congestion and is soothing to inflamed mucous membranes. Caution: Do not take goldenseal on a daily basis for more than a week at a time, and do not use during pregnancy. Do not give goldenseal to children under two. Do not use goldenseal without consulting a physician if you have had heart disease, diabetes, glaucoma, a stroke, or high blood pressure.
  • Boneset can bring down a fever and relieve flu symptoms. Drink it hot and mix with brown sugar to make it palatable. Caution: Do not use boneset on a daily basis for more than a week, as long term use can lead to toxicity.
  • Astragalus strengthens the body’s resistance to disease. Caution: Do not use astragalus in the presence of a fever.
  • Myrrh gum is well suited for promoting free breathing during congestive colds and for clearing out mucous-clogged passages throughout the body
  • Garlic has strong antibacterial and antiviral properties. When you feel a sore throat coming on, eat some garlic or onion to prevent a cold or flu.
  • St. John’s Wort has antibiotic properties
  • Kelp can help ward off infections and fevers by killing various bacteria
  • Yerba santa leaves, bayberry root bark and/or rose is a popular remedy for colds
  • Licorice has long been used to treat common cold symptoms with its immune-enhancing and antiviral properties. Caution: Do not use licorice on a daily basis for more than seven days in a row, and avoid it completely if you have high blood pressure.
  • Mullein tea and ginger tea are great for dry, nagging coughs
  • Catnip helps bring down a fever and break up mucous congestion
  • Ginger tea can be used in the treatment of chills
  • Yarrow tea should be taken in the early stages of a cold and fever
  • Fenugreek tea and horehound are good expectorants. Horehound promotes secretion of mucus, eases a sore throat and relieves symptoms of coughs and colds.
  • Cayenne tea reduces the discomfort caused by colds and helps warm the body
  • Lungwort is excellent for upper-respiratory problems and hoarseness. .
  • Eucalyptus oil in a vaporizer produces a soothing steam that helps clear clogged nasal.
  • For a sore and irritated throat, gargle with tea tree oil or fenugreek
  • Raspberry tea, marshmallow root tea, and slippery elm bark lozenges helps to relieve pain due to a scratchy, sore throat
  • Hops or valerian tea can help promote restful sleeping
  • White willow has pain-relieving and fever-lowering properties.


  • A healthy, balanced diet, high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low in simple sugars and fat helps to increase the body’s immune functions.
  • Eat more citrus fruits and pure juices for their vitamin C content and bioflavonoids
  • Increase intake of foods high in zinc which include spinach, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, pumpkin seeds, and pilchards
  • Increase intake of foods high in selenium which include shellfish, whole grain cereals and Brazil nuts.
  • Drink plenty of fluids such as water, diluted vegetable juices, and herbal teas to prevent dehydration. Sore throats respond well to hot liquids laced with honey.
  • Chicken noodle soup contains mild antibiotic and decongestant properties according to researchers and the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Eat fewer dairy products
  • Decrease caffeine intake.
  • Increase intake of garlic and onions, a natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer. Add whole peeled garlic cloves to your soup. Heating the garlic in a microwave oven first helps preserve alliin, The primary therapeutic substance.
  • Hot, spicy foods will clear up your sinuses, your nose and your lungs
  • Chew on a chili pepper or eat a spicy Mexican meal. Do so three times a week if breathing problems are chronic.
  • Sprinkle ten to twenty drops of Tobasco sauce in a glass of water and drink it or gargle with it.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol swells your bronchial tubes


A well balanced diet is a more natural source of nutrients and it is best to get as much as possible from food. If you are not eating a varied mixture of the main food groups or foods high in a certain nutrient needed for your health situation then make up the remaining through vitamin and mineral supplementation.

  • Vitamin C: 2,000 milligrams daily taken in divided doses (500 milligrams taken every four hours). Caution: Doses of vitamin C larger than 1,200 milligrams a day can produce diarrhea in some people.
  • Vitamin A: 15,000-25,000 IU. Short-term, high doses of vitamin A for up to 4 days (discontinue after one week) can boost the immune system and display antiviral properties. Caution: Do not take high doses of vitamin A if you are pregnant or sexually active not employing birth control


  • Zinc lozenges can be effective in reducing the duration of symptoms. One lozenge of zinc gluconate of 23 milligrams dissolved in your mouth every 2 to 6 hours (up to 4 to 8 lozenges daily).
  • Rest and sleep (bed rest is best)
  • Inhaling steam can relieve a stuffy nose.

In some cases, herbal products can interact negatively with other medications.  Such interactions can be dangerous.  Herbal remedies are not regulated and their quality is not controlled.  Moreover, while there is an abundant supply of information circulating about herbs, not much of it has been scientifically proven.  Consult your physician.  Informing your doctor and pharmacist of what herbal products you are using is just as important as letting them know what drugs you are taking.  Your physician and the pharmacist on duty at your pharmacy can assist you in deciding which herbs
are safe.