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Herbal Healing Tips for the Winter Season

Herbal tea for winter cold eason

Following the rhythmic cycles of nature, winter is a time for rest. Herbs and flowers go dormant, trees drop their leaves, and animals go into hibernation. But in today’s society, we have fallen out of synch with the natural cycles. We race from one appointment to another, juggle a dozen projects at a time, and claw our way into the next billing period.

The Sickness

Not surprising then that so many of us come down with colds and flus in the winter season. Instead of taking time out from work, people flock to tactics like “ninja scheduling”  in order to cram even more work hours into their busy lives. The dreary weather is one thing, but when we don’t allow ourselves enough time for rest and restoration, how can we expect to keep in good health?

The environment of endless work produces stress and compromises the immune system, resulting in many of the illness we see so commonly today. But in fact, most of these colds, flus and chronic respiratory infections are the body’s attempt to cleanse itself. Pharmaceutical medications may try to suppress the symptoms of a respiratory infection, but without addressing underlying causes. And like most attempts to fool Mother Nature, these remedies fail to deliver lasting results.

The Cure

Herbal formulas, on the other hand, can actually aid the body in its natural detoxification process. The most successful way to deal with respiratory infections is to let them run their course. This includes a liquid diet using herbal teas and tinctures, and a regimen of moderate outdoor exercise. Adequate rest and spiritual rejuvenation such as meditation, yin yoga, and healing treatments like acupressure, reiki and massage can also do wonders to flush toxins from the body.

Medicinal herbs can provide an excellent source of anti-bacterial agents and other powerful substances to help cleanse the lymph glands and restore the respiratory system. Herbal blends have antibiotic properties that work synergistically to fight infections, and when taken internally, they can be very effective in treating both acute and chronic infections. 

Herbs heal simply, thoroughly and naturally, so give them a try next time you catch a cold. Here are few beneficial herbs to help get you through the winter season:

  • Elderberry and Elderflower both make a delicious syrup with terrific immune boosting properties
  • Vitamin C an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant
  • Zinc lozenges to boost immunity and fight colds
  • Calendula contains powerful antioxidants, and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Echinacea to strengthen the immune system and fight off colds, flus and infections
  • Chamomile with antiseptic properties and high in antioxidants
  • Rose hips a great source of vitamin C, makes a great syrup for soar throats
  • Ginger makes excellent tea for soar throats (see picture above)
  • Astragalus an Eastern herb to fight respiratory infections
  • Ashwagandha an Eastern herb to help cope with stress
  • Licorice and marshmallow roots for sore throats
  • Tumeric is a superb herb for infections, but it is difficult to assimilate. Tumeric absorbs best when taken in food combined with black pepper.  

Other Natural Treatments

Herbal treatments for colds are most successful when symptoms are caught at the onset, so keep an herbal medicine chest on hand to combat these symptoms early. 

If your cold is already entrenched, herbs can still help to relieve the symptoms and speed your recovery. Expectorant herbs like coltsfoot and mullein can loosen mucous that is stuck in the lungs and decongestant herbs and essential oils can help clear the head.  

You might also try burning essential oils in a diffuser. They have anti-viral properties and can help to prevent illness. The following oils are excellent for the respiratory system: peppermint, eucalyptus, lavender, thyme, rosemary, and pine.  

So next time you feel that tickle in your throat, reach for your arsenal of herbal remedies and stop that cold before it spoils your winter.

For more herbal healing tips, check out our articles on Rose hips and Elder flowers.

Photo Credit: Dominik Martin (Unsplash)

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