6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

It goes without saying that no one likes having a cold. The aches and pains make you irritable and take time away from all the things that you really want to do.

Plus, it’s hard to focus when you are sick. You can’t think about anything but feeling better as soon as possible.

What’s even worse than having a cold is having a cold that lingers. The longer it stays, the more miserable you feel.

You might be tempted to fight your cold by getting some medicine from your local pharmacy. There is another option: the natural home-grown approach.

Before you grab some over-the-counter pain relievers, check out these natural herbs that you can grow at home to get rid of your cold.

Rosemary

Rosemary is one of the most popular herbs in the mint family because of its many uses.

If you are suffering with nasal congestion, pick up some rosemary. Its active ingredient, rosmarinic acid, has anti-inflammatory properties that help to suppress the effects of stuffy noses.

Rosemary also helps to relieve chest congestion and headaches due to its antioxidant properties.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use rosemary

To reap the benefits of rosemary’s pain relief, you can boil a few sprigs of the multi-pronged herb in some water and inhale the steam. The steam will help to relieve your cold symptoms.

Plus, the clean scent of the rosemary is its own aromatherapy that will also help you to feel better.

If you prefer to ingest your rosemary instead of smelling it, you can sip some rosemary tea or add the fresh herb to some of your favorite dishes.

How to grow rosemary

Rosemary likes to grow in warm, dry weather with lots of sun, but you can grow it indoors if you live in a cold environment at any time of the year.

Just be sure to spray it occasionally so that it can grow to its fullest potential.

Sage

Sage is another herb that also belongs to the mint family. All of its 900 species have healing properties that are great aids in cold and flu relief.

If you live in the northeast during those brutal winters, there’s a good chance that you’ve had the flu or at least experienced some flu-like symptoms. You may have picked up some medicine from the drugstore, but you could have also gotten some sage from your kitchen.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use sage

The beloved herb is great at helping to prevent flu symptoms. Drinking sage tea can keep stomach aches and sore throats at bay.

You can drink sage tea at the first sign of a cold or flu to help reduce your chances of getting sick. Sage has antiviral and antimicrobial properties, and it is rich in vitamins A, C, and K; so it can keep your immune system strong against any illness that tries to invade your body.

Sage comes in fresh and dried forms, and both forms can be used to accent your dishes. You can fresh sage in your soups—like tomato soup—to add some savor to them and shorten the duration of your cold.

Dried sage is often used as a seasoning for roasted vegetables. The combination of sage and vegetables is great at warding off pesky colds.

How to grow sage

If you’re wondering how to grow sage so that you can take advantage of its usefulness, it’s simple.

You can grow your sage from a potted plant indoors in an area with lots of light. You can start out with a sunny window and supplement the sun with fluorescent lights if the light in your home is not bright enough.

Keep in mind that sage needs 6-8 hours of sun daily. If you will be using fluorescent lights, allow for 14 to 16 hours of light daily.

Also, make sure that the sage plant is in a relatively warm area, with a temperature of at least 70 F. Water the plant as necessary. Be sure to let the top inches of the soil dry out between waterings.

Thyme

Thyme is the must-have herb if you are suffering from chest congestion.

The anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory mint relative breaks down mucus that promotes frequent, harsh coughing spells. It also helps to remedy headaches, body aches, and cramps that accompany the flu.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use thyme

Thyme’s rich aroma has also been said to help ease the emotional blues that come along with feeling not-so-perky. Most people drink thyme tea to get rid of cold symptoms.

It’s really easy to make. Just pour one cup of hot water over one teaspoon of dried or fresh thyme leaves. On foods, thyme pairs well with soups, stews, beans, and roasted vegetables.

How to grow thyme

If you would like to make thyme a staple in your cold-fighting regimen, you can grow it at home. Simply retrieve a pot with some fresh soil and fresh thyme.

Be sure to give it lots of light, preferably sunlight. As an alternative, you can use lots of bright light for several hours each day. Make sure that you water your thyme plant well too (especially the topsoil).

Peppermint

Peppermint’s (Mentha x Piperita) clean scent is a great aromatherapy and cold-reducing combination. Its refreshing smell helps to break up congestion through herbal steams.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use peppermint

Steaming with fresh or dried peppermint leaves can also open your pores and stabilize your body temperature to help you rid your body of the flu.

To make a peppermint steam, pour some freshly-boiled water over fresh or dried peppermint leaves in a medium-sized bowl. Then put a towel over your head and place your face above the bowl.

Another way to use peppermint to get rid of mucus in the body is to drink some peppermint tea. The cooling sensation of the minty herb as it flows down your throat will help to open and soothe your lungs from the pressure of harsh coughs.

How to grow peppermint

The key to growing a flourishing peppermint plant is to make sure that it has enough water, especially the soil.

The soil should be organically rich with a pH between 5.5 and 6.0. If you live in a hot or dry area, you can add a layer of leaves, grass, or straw to help keep the soil moist.

Also, water your plant from the base instead of on the leaves to prevent fungal infections. As with most plants, it does matter where you grow the plant.

You can grow peppermint plants in completely sunny or partly-shaded locations. Try to avoid growing peppermint plants in fully-shaded locations to retain their maximum flavor.

Pay attention to the structures that you use to grow the herb. Peppermint is a fast-growing plant, so it’s best to place them in at least half-sized gallon containers to accommodate their growth.

Remember to keep them pruned, too, so that you don’t end up growing a forest on your kitchen windowsill.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is a herbal oldie that is widely known as the powerhouse ingredient in Vapor Rub.

Thanks to the wide availability of natural herbs, you can use eucalyptus individually, in its pure form. It is the go-to herb for helping to clear sinus infections.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use eucalyptus

You can boil the eucalyptus leaf in about 2 cups of water and then inhale the steam to help ease the headaches that often accompany sinus ailments. If it’s a sore throat that’s making you feel miserable, reach for some eucalyptus.

You can place a few leaves in your favorite mug and sip it as a tea, or you can gargle with it or pour it into a spray bottle for use as a throat remedy.

How to grow eucalyptus

Eucalyptus just needs to be placed in an area with full sunlight and protection from the wind. The minty herb can grow in pots, but it’s best to use containers to appropriately handle its growth.

Eucalyptus can grow as high as eight feet in one season. Also, eucalyptus needs to be watered regularly. Just make sure not overwater it, and keep the soil well-drained.

Basil

Like many herbs, basil comes in several varieties – 35 to be exact. The most popular variety is sweet basil, which is great to enjoy in soups and salads.

6 Herbs to Help Fight a Cold (You Can Grow Them at Home Too)

How to use basil

If you want to use basil to aid in cold relief, pick up some Holy basil. It helps to soothe fevers, flus, headaches, and sore throats.

Additionally, basil can help to treat inflammations in the nasal passages. This is a great feature because upper respiratory infections are common symptoms of colds.

Basil is also a powerhouse herb because it contains essential oil compounds that help to boost the immune system and protect against disease. The mint-based herb is also known to relieve stress, which regularly contributes to weakening the immune system.

How to grow basil

Much like its Indian roots, basil grows best in warmer environments. It is sensitive to the cold as lower temperatures can discolor basil leaves.

Instead, it thrives in full sunlight all day. Basil tends to flourish when it is grown in garden or patio pots that drain well.

Bio: Erma is a freelance writer and entrepreneur whose top joys include writing, natural living, and writing about natural living. She can be reached at [email protected]

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Jill Sandy

Jill Sandy

Jill is a sustainable focus gardener. She loves decorating her home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques she develops herself. You can reach her at [email protected]

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh Ho (MD, MPH)

Chanh is our Head of Medical Review. He is a research physician at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit. After accomplishing the program of level 1 sub-specialty in Pediatrics, he was awarded the Chevening Scholarship for his Master’s degree of Public Health in the University of Edinburgh in 2019

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