Natural Cold Remedies: 7 Teas for Cold & Flu Recovery

October 2022

A great natural remedy to decrease cold and flu symptoms is to drink tea prepared with lemon, echinacea, linden or elderberry. These medicinal plants contain analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that help to relieve typical virus symptoms and reduce discomfort. 

In addition, other home remedies can also be used, like placing a hot water bottle over sore muscles or taking a cold shower to decrease fever.

Although most cold and flu cases will improve without any specific treatment, it is important to see your doctor to identify the problem and initiate appropriate treatment. None of these recommended teas should substitute a medical opinion or prescribed treatment.

Tea recipes for cold & flu treatment

The following teas are prepared with herbs that contain medicinal properties that strengthen the immune system and manage common cold and flu symptoms: 

1. Lemon and honey tea

An excellent natural remedy for the cold and flu is lemon tea with honey, as this helps to relieve nose and throat congestion and improves breathing.

Ingredients

  • The juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 cup of boiling water

How to prepare

Add the honey to the hot water and until it is well-combined in a homogenous mixture, and then add the juice of one lemon. You should drink this tea as soon as it is prepared, so that the vitamin C from the fruit does not evaporate.

In addition, when treating a respiratory virus, you should drink this tea 2 to 3 times per day (for example, for breakfast, in the afternoon, and before going to bed).

2. Echinacea tea

Another good home remedy for treating the cold or flu is to drink echinacea tea. This tea stimulates the immune system and triggers sweat glands, which helps with sweating and treating a fever.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon of dry echinacea leaves

How to prepare

Place the echinacea in the boiling water and let it soak for 10 minutes. Then strain through a mesh sieve and drink immediately after.

It is also possible to take echinacea capsules 3 times per day, or as directed by your doctor or naturopath. These capsules can be found in pharmacies, in natural health stores or on the internet.

3. Elderberry tea

Elderberry tea with linden can help to strengthen the body, while linden specifically triggers sweating to treat fevers, just like echinacea.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of elderberry 
  • 1 teaspoon of linden
  • 1 cup of boiling water

How to prepare

To prepare this tea, add the elderberry and linden to the cup of boiling water and allow it to soak for 10 minutes (covered). Then strain through a mesh sieve and drink.

4. Garlic tea

Drinking garlic tea is an excellent natural treatment for the cold or flu. It contains antimicrobial, analgesic, expectorant and antiflu properties, and is a lung antiseptic. All of these properties are due to the allicin and allin found in garlic.

Ingredients

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 spoon of honey
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 cup of water

How to prepare

Smash the garlic cloves and add to a pot with the water. Allow this to boil for about 5 minutes, then add the juice of half of a lemon and the honey. Drink this immediately after, while it is still warm.

5. Ginger tea

Ginger is effective in treating the cold and flu because it contains analgesic, antipyretic, and antibacterial properties, which are heightened by the honey and lemon. This helps to decrease cold and flu symptoms more quickly.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • Lemon, to taste

How to prepare

Cut up one tablespoon of fresh ginger and add the boiling water to it. Let this soak for 10 minutes, then strain with a mesh sieve. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and squeeze in some lemon juice.

6. Dandelion tea

Dandelion contains antiviral properties that help to combat the cold or flu virus. This plant is rich in vitamin A, and in B, C and D complex. It also contains some minerals like iron, potassium and zinc, which help to improve the immune system and increase the body's natural defenses.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of crushed dandelion roots
  • 200 mL (about 1 cup) of water

How to prepare

To prepare this tea, you should place the crushed roots in boiling water and let it soak for 10 minutes. Strain through a mesh sieve and drink while warm up to 3 times per day. If you have gastrointestinal problems, you should drink this tea before meals.

Dandelion leaves can also be added to salads, which is another way to consume this plant.

7. Star anise tea 

Star anise contains shikimic acid, which has antiviral properties and promotes elimination of the flu virus from the body. 

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of ground star anise
  • 250 mL (about 1 cup) of boiling water 

How to prepare

Add the star anise to the boiling water and allow to soak for about 10 minutes. Then strain, and drink once cool. You can drink up to 2 or 3 cups per day. 

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Updated by Tua Saude editing team, on October of 2022.

References

  • PATRA, Jayanta K. et al.. Star anise (Illicium verum): Chemical compounds, antiviral properties, and clinical relevance. Phytotherapy Research. 1-20, 2019
  • HE Wen; HAN Huamin et al. Anti-influenza virus effect of aqueous extracts from dandelion. Virology Journal. 8. 1-11, 2011
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Our team made up of medical doctors and health professionals from various fields such as nursing, nutrition, physiotherapy, clinical analysis and pharmacy.