By Cat, Feb 2018 (image, right, from from Lisa’s Project Vegan blog (6)
It’s cold and flu season here in wintry Montana. “Some common symptoms of:
- colds: sneezing, runny nose, and feeling tired and unwell; a low fever (99°F or under) may develop (a higher temperature is indicative of influenza or a bacterial problem such as sinus infection). With time, nasal secretions may thicken and become more yellow or green in color. (7a, 7b)
- flu (influenza) include high temperature (greater than 99°F, typically 101°F or higher), cold shivers, fatigue, and body pains.” (5) It is best to treat it as soon as you observe the symptoms, and herbs are the best and safest treatment. Both echinacea and ginger root strengthen your immune system and provide many other benefits.
- The root contains antibacterial and antiviral properties which deal with the flu virus.
- The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties heal the pain, irritation and discomfort caused by flu.
- The gingerol and shagol compounds present in ginger stimulate the perspiration and reduce body temperature.
- It is warming.
- Its expectorant properties loosen the mucus from lungs and sinus. It soothes the lung tissues.
- It produces sweat in the body which flushes out the toxins and prevents infections.
- The oleoresins prevent the formation of excess mucus formation.
- During flu, digestion often gets weakened. Consumption of ginger stimulates the appetite and digestion.
The Home Remedies blog article on ginger (5) has lots of other great ideas for using ginger to treat flu.
See also my post: Herbs & Spices: G through Z for more about ginger.
“Studies have shown that drinking echinacea tea at the first signs of the cold or flu can reduce the severity and duration of your sickness. … And then, you probably want to keep drinking echinacea. Studies have proven it to increase immune activity and to keep a cold from returning. …Some herbalists and researchers recommend not taking echinacea for longer than two to eight weeks consecutively. They believe that if you take echinacea for a long period, it could actually be harmful to your immune system. ” (3, 4)
Echinacea & Ginger Tea
This recipe is adapted from one on Genius Kitchen (1), with other ideas from Livin’ in the Green (2). If ginger is not your thing, try adding lemongrass, or mint leaves. You can sweeten with dried stevia leaves (add the leaves with the echinacea) if you prefer that to honey, or if you cannot get raw local honey, but you will need less; start with ¼ tsp.
If you use echinacea root, be sure to simmer it for 10 minutes (3).
Makes 2 servings
Ingredients & Equipment
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 tsp edible dried echinacea purpurea flowers, leaves, or roots
- 1 tsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 lemon (for freshly-squeezed juice)
- 1 tsp or more raw local honey
- small saucepan
- fine strainer
- Chop ginger-root finely.
- Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce to a simmer and add ginger; steep 5 minutes.
- Add echinacea; cover and steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and honey and stir to mix. Strain and pour into 2 mugs.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
- foodrevolution.org/blog/home-remedies-cold-flu-drinks/ or greenmedinfo.com/blog/8-evidence-based-uses-echinacea (article by Sayer Ji)
- web MD: