Natural Remedies for Colds: Herbal Teas

A couple of months ago I shared what we do for natural cold remedies, apart from herbs. In this post, I’ll be breaking out the herbs! A delicious and healthy way to treat a cold is a hot cup of tea! If you don’t care for tea, you really should give some of these a try. I was fully convinced that I didn’t like tea until I lived in England in my late teens. Until then I had only had black and green tea (which I still don’t like), but in England I was introduced to herbal teas. YUM! A good herbal tea can be so soothing when a cold is starting. Here are some of our favorites and below this list you’ll find our favorite ways to combine them.

  • Elderberry Tea: Okay, so berries aren’t leafy herbs, but it’s still considered an “herbal” remedy! 😉 I will be doing a post on two ways to make elderberry tincture in the next month or so, and I’ll teach you all about the amazing benefits of elderberries in that post. For now, just know that they are good for a cold and unparalleled for the flu! To make the tea, just pour boiling water over black elderberries (make sure there are NO red berries, leaves or stems, which I’ll explain about in that other post). Let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes. You can even just leave them in the cup while you sip.
  • Lemon Balm Tea: Lemon balm is an herb that kills viruses, such as cold! Quality is very important for this one. We grow our own lemon balm and hang it to dry. It has a mild lemon scent and a subtle flavor- delicious! I bought some store-bought from the bulk section of a local health food store. It was bitter and undrinkable! If you must buy it from a store, I would strongly recommend finding an organic brand that has been prepackaged to avoid exposure to air and light. That will have helped it to stay as delicious as it should be! To brew, pour boiling water over the tea bag, tea ball or loose leaves and allow to steep at least five minutes.
  • Peppermint Tea: This is another one that we grow! You can buy peppermint tea just about anywhere, but you’ll want to find it prepackaged, like the lemon balm. It shouldn’t be at all bitter. Peppermint is so wonderful for colds! The steam helps to open up a stuffy nose and drinking the tea reduces inflammation. It’s full of minerals and has been shown to be effective against some viruses. Pour boiling water over the peppermint and allow it to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the tea leaves to prevent bitterness (can you tell I’m not a big fan of bitterness?!)
  • Ginger Tea: This spicy tea is especially good if you have a cough with your cold. It is anti-viral and antibacterial, so it will help fight the virus (the cold) and help prevent secondary infections, such as bronchitis. Ginger will stimulate the immune system and, as you’ve probably heard, help to quell any nausea. When making ginger tea, I like to peel fresh ginger root with a spoon, then grate/shred it into a small saucepan. I use about 1 tablespoon per serving (about 10 to 12 ounces) and add the water. Then, I heat it over medium-low heat until it just starts to simmer. I remove it from the heat and let it steep with the lid on for 10 minutes. You can make it weaker by simply pouring boiling water over the grated ginger or you can make it stronger by simmering the water with ginger for 15 minutes. *Breastfeeding mamas: In my experience, this tea caused quite an increase in my milk supply, but it also caused a bit of indigestion for my baby.
  • Echinacea Tea: This tea will help prevent secondary infections, such as sinus infections or bronchitis. It is somewhat anti-viral (not enough studies have been done to know how much) and anti-inflammatory. You can make tea from the root or the leaves. If using the root, add the root to water in a saucepan, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes. For the leaves, just pour boiling water over them and allow the tea to steep for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Juniper Berry Tea: Juniper berries are very strong (not for use during pregnancy or breastfeeding!), but we have used juniper berry tea for it’s antiviral properties and to help prevent upper respiratory infections. Pour boiling water over the berries (1 tablespoon berries per serving) and steep, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Thyme and Calendula Tea: This is one that my hubby just came up with! I know it might sound strange but it is surprisingly good. 😉 Steep about one tablespoon of dried thyme and calendula with a pinch of cayenne pepper in about 20 ounces of hot water. Strain and then add a drizzle of grade B maple syrup (lots of minerals!) or raw honey. This spicy tea is amazing for sinus and chest congestion! The thyme is great for either productive or dry coughs, the calendula promotes sweating to break a fever (NOT the same as reducing a fever with meds!) and the cayenne helps to open up the sinuses and the lungs and it enhances the effects of the other two ingredients.


Now that you know what to use and why, let me share some wonderful combinations!

  • Elderberry with Echinacea: This is a tasty tea that is mild enough for young children. The combination gives lots of anti-viral and antibacterial boosts, along with antioxidants and minerals. This one is also good as an iced tea.
  • Ginger and Lemon Balm: Super anti-viral with a delicious lemon-ginger spice flavor! Add plenty of raw honey after it has cooled a bit.
  • Peppermint and Lemon Balm: I make this using the chocolate mint and lemon balm from my garden and it is so good that it doesn’t need any sweetener. It is good hot, but I love to drink it cold.
  • Juniper and Peppermint: If you have a lot of congestion, these two will help open things up. Breath the steam for best results.

Do you love natural remedies, too?? Here are some of our other favorites!

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7 thoughts on “Natural Remedies for Colds: Herbal Teas

    • I love juniper berries, but they are just too strong during pregnancy or breastfeeding. We haven’t ever had any negative side effects, but it’s always best to research for yourself to make sure you’re comfortable with any herbs or medications you use. 🙂

      Thanks so much for the comment and for hosting the link-up!!

  1. Jaimey Tripp says:

    Hi Justyn,
    I am new to natural living and using herbs and essential oils. I was wondering if you could recommend some books on herbs and essential oils? I love your website. I think it is so wonderful that you are so hands on with your family. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

    –Jaimey Tripp

    • Thanks so much for the sweet comment, Jaimey!

      My favorite books are “Practical Herbalism” by Philip Fritchey and “Herbal Antibiotics” by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Those are my first two go-to books for whenever we get sick! For essential oils, I just got “The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy” by Chrissie Wildwood. It’s very well organized and informative, but do be warned that it is most definitely not written by a Christian, so there are occasional New Age comments that I could really do without. 🙂 I have a few dozen herbal books, so I double and triple check everything in my books and on-line before trying something new.

      I hope that helps! If you have any questions about where to find information on a specific topic, I’d be glad to help!

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