When we were children, most of us didn’t have a care in the world during the snowy months. No jacket, no scarf, no hat, no precaution (we were invincible, or at least that’s what we thought). But now as adults, we go to great lengths to protect ourselves during the cold and flu season.
Germs thrive in colder weather and can oftentimes pass from person to person much easier during the winter, when folks are pent up indoors with windows closed. To help combat germ transmission, I turn to the healing powers of herbs.
Herbs are my family’s go-to for boosting immune function and warding off cold symptoms, and science has proven that they do work!
They have been used for centuries to combat all types of diseases. Herbs have antibacterial and antiviral properties helping to improve resistance to infections. And when it comes to protecting your immune system and fending off those pesky colds they help to reduce inflammation — which in turn prevents and treats viral respiratory illnesses such as the flu.
The great thing about herbs is that they’re versatile. You can include them in your lifestyle in a number of ways — take them in supplement form, use them for aromatherapy, create skincare remedies with them, or simply add them to your favorite recipes for instant flavor and a healthy punch.
To show you how easy (and effective) it is to include herbs in your day-to-day, we’re sharing two super easy herbal blend recipes that will help give your immune system the boost and protection it needs as we descend into the winter months:
Recipe #1 Chai Tea Immune Booster
When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a nice cup of hot tea to warm you up and relax you.
My go-to cuppa is chai tea. It’s spicy, creamy, and just screams wintertime, especially when topped with star anise or a cinnamon stick.
This tasty tea is also effective at strengthening your immune system thanks to its adaptogenic properties…
Adaptogens and adaptogenic herbs, like ashwagandha and shatavari, have the amazing ability to work with your body to restore balance. They “adapt” to whatever stressors (whether physical, chemical, or biological) that are attacking your body and increase white blood cells when necessary to reduce your stress response.
Top that off with the antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory healing properties of ginger, cinnamon, and honey, and you have yourself a tea that is for sure to get you through the blistering cold and flu season…
Not to mention, this trio combination also helps to soothe your gut (where the majority of your immune system resides!).
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 tbsp dried ashwagandha root (chopped)
- 1/4 tbsp dried shatavari root (chopped)
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger (chopped)
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Raw honey to taste
- Milk or almond milk to taste
- Combine water with ashwagandha, shatavari, and ginger in a small saucepan and heat on medium.
- Once liquid comes to a slight boil, reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add cardamom, star anise, and cinnamon. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Strain out herbs.
- Pour into two mugs, and allow to cool to lukewarm. Add honey and milk to taste. This helps to sweeten and cut some of the spice. Enjoy!
Recipe #2 Herbal Cider Immunity Syrup
Many have heard of the famous herbal remedy called Fire Cider. We’ve even featured it a few times on our site. It’s an immune booster I stand behind and routinely use. But if Fire Cider isn’t for you, here’s another powerful herbal cider blend to try.
It’s similar to Fire Cider, but incorporates a few different herbs and eliminates the “fire.” Because of the heat used in Fire Cider, some people with autoimmune disorders have to proceed with caution.
This herbal cider immunity syrup uses some of the core medicinal herbs used in Fire Cider including:
- Horseradish – combats sinus congestion
- Ginger – aids in respiratory support
- Cinnamon – helps with digestion, gas, and bloating
- Garlic – has antiviral and antimicrobial properties
- Turmeric – fights inflammation
But instead of adding peppers, this herbal syrup uses fruit to get the immune system in drive.
Oranges, fresh rosehips, and elderberries are all loaded with vitamin C — which helps to reduce the duration of cold symptoms. Rosehips and elderberries also have very strong anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties which greatly improves your immunity by inhibiting the flu virus from attacking your healthy cells.
70% to 80% of your immune system is located in your gut, so it stands to reason that to have a strong immune system you must have a healthy gut. This is where the apple cider vinegar comes into play. ACV contains gut-friendly bacteria that keeps your digestive system happy and functioning properly.
- 1/2 cup fresh horseradish root, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh ginger, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh orange peel
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tbsp dried rosehips
- 1 tbsp dried elderberries
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/2 tsp crushed peppercorns
- 1/4 tsp whole clove
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar with “the mother”
- 1/2 cup raw honey
- Combine all herbs in a glass jar and pour vinegar on top. Leave one inch from the top.
- Cover jar with wax paper and secure lid.
- Shake to combine.
- Store in a dry and dark spot for 4 weeks. Shake periodically.
- Strain herbs and stir honey into infused vinegar until dissolved.
Take 1 tablespoon daily for immune support or increase daily frequency if you are experiencing cold/flu symptoms.
Herbs are truly nature’s medicine. There’s almost nothing they can’t do.
Protect yourself this cold and flu season with these two herbal immunity boosters. They take minutes to make and have lasting health benefits that will keep you enjoying the most wonderful time of the year!
Host of Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed By Science
& Founder of The Sacred Science
P.S. If you’re looking for high quality herbs to truly amp up these recipes, I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs – a wonderful (and trustworthy) source for all your herbal needs.