As I sit down to write this, the snow is falling, which is always a signal to me that winter is officially underway- which also means that cold and flu season has arrived. But taking care of your health during this time of year doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, some of my favorite herbs can be found right on your spice rack!
A powerhouse plant for the respiratory system! Not only does it tone and strengthen the respiratory tract itself, but it is also a fantastic antimicrobial, getting deep down into the lungs where pathogens like to hide. My favorite preparation for thyme is in a steam: place a pot of hot water on the table, and aim your face above it. Cover your head with a towel, creating a “tent” over the pot. Last, throw in a small handful of thyme and breathe deeply for about 10-15 minutes. This technique is helpful for prevention, and for speeding along the process of healing from a cold.
Another lovely herb for healing those nasty respiratory infections. Sage, in particular, is helpful for calming the hacking coughs that often come along with a cold. It mildly relaxes the reflex to cough, which helps make coughs more productive so that when you do cough, you can expel more mucous. Add sage to soups, drink it in a warm tea, or ease sore throats and swollen glands by making a strong tea and using it as a gargle.
Rosemary is a germ-killing and expectorant plant that also stimulates blood flow to the head area. This herb can be especially useful for colds that come along with a tension headache. You can drink rosemary as a hot tea for acute symptoms, or add it to foods and soups as part of your prevention plan.