Best Herbal Remedies for Colds

Best Herbal Remedies for Colds

Herbs and the common cold go hand in hand and most people are familiar with the benefits of Echinacea and Goldenseal in the treatment of colds. Echinacea is arguably the most popular herbal remedy for colds currently being used in the US, with annual sales over 72 million dollars a year. Because it is easily accessible and echinacea side effects are minimal, it’s popularity has soared in recent years. People commonly use echinacea tea, tablets, and liquid drops to relive symptoms. There are more than 3000 different varieties of herbs and herbal combinations available today and it can seems like an overwhelming and confusing task trying to figure out what to take for common cold relief. Some of the most popular and time tested treatments can easily be made from home. To simplify the process of categorizing herbal remedies for cold treatments, we will break it down into three main categories:

  • Fever Reducers & Anti-Virals
  • Sore Throat, Cough Relief & Expectorants
  • Prevention & Immune System Boosters
Fever Reducers & Anti Virals
Soothing Herbal Bath

bathe with chamomile, calendula, rosemary, and/ or lavender if you are restless and irritable. Use comfortably warm water and soak as long as you like.

Basil Tea

use fresh or dried herbs. This tea may encourage a slight sweat and help to reduce fever. Ground cloves may also be used for flavor and fever reduction.


reduces duration and severity of colds. Take 500 milligrams three times a day.

Garlic (Alliums sativum)

reduces duration and severity of colds. Use any form- pills or tablets, oil rubbed on the skin, or whole garlic roasted or cooked in other foods. If you choose pills take three of them, three times a day.


symptom reliever for fatigue, sore throat, sore muscles, runny nose, headache, and swelling lymph nodes. Take 400 milligrams three times a day with lots of liquids during meals.


powerful antiviral agent, specifically effective against the most common family of cold viruses, the rhinoviruses. Also helps relieve cold symptoms such as pain and fever, and acts as a cough suppressant and mild sedative.

Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

infusions relieve pain, fever, and congestion: Simmer 1 cup boiling water with 2 tsp of the herb for 10 to 15 minutes; drink a cupful every hour. Drink while hot for best results.

Elderberry Extract

reduces duration and severity of colds. Take 500 milligrams twice a day.

Catmint (Nepeta cataria) and/or Elderflower (Sambucus nigra)

take infusions to induce sweating and reduce fever.

Forsythia and Honeysuckle

antiviral benefits. Mix honeysuckle and forsythia with lemon balm tea (lemon balm is also an antiviral) Take in the evening before going to sleep.

Sore Throat, Cough Relief & Expectorants

soothes inflamed mucous membranes and relives swelling in the throat. Contains the antibiotic berberine, which can help prevent bacterial infections.

Boneset and Sage

breaks up congestion and reduces fever. Take a cup of sage and boneset tea up to three times daily for three to five days.

Herbal Milk infusion

add 1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger to 1 cup of scalded milk. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and drink while hot for best results.

Chamomile Tea

drink daily as needed to help sooth and relax.

Mullein Flower Tea

soothes inflamed mucous membranes and relives swelling in the throat. Relieves cough. Add a small handful of the mullein flowers to 1 pint of boiling water. Allow to steep 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey.

Dried Mustard

add 1/2 pound of dried mustard powder to 2 quarts of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Excellent for respiratory problems.


is used as an antiviral. Steep raw onion slices overnight in honey. Take the resulting mixture at intervals like a cough syrup. Also eat plenty of onions, and add it to your food when you have a cold.


aniseed is used as an expectorant and an antiviral. Make a tea by steeping one to two teaspoons of crushed aniseed in a cup or two of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain and add honey.

Marsh Mallow and Other Mallows (okra and roselle)

used to relieve cough, sore throat, and respiratory problems. Soothes inflamed mucous membranes. Members of the mallow family contain soothing mucilage. Try adding a generous amount of okra to chicken soup.
Seneca Snakeroot- is used as an expectorant and for upper respiratory problems. Make a tea, use about one teaspoon per cup of boiling water.

Slippery Elm

elm bark is used for relief of cough and sore throat and also contains soothing mucilage.
Watercress- Make a tea by using two to three teaspoons of dry watercress to treat runny nose and cough. Eat an ounce of fresh watercress in a salad.

Elderflowers, Peppermint and Hyssop

make a herbal tea with equal amounts of each herb, only take small doses of hyssop, no more than 1-2 grams three times a day.

Inhalations of Chamomile, Eucalyptus or Thyme

soothes inflamed mucous membranes.

Horsetail Inhalations

soothes inflamed mucous membranes

Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Inhalations

kills bacteria and soothes inflamed mucous membranes