There is nothing better than a piping hot cup of tea when your head seems to be exploding. The hot brew can help you when you feel miserable with a cold and have a runny nose or a sore throat. Almost every traditional system of medicine or folklore will recommend tea for colds. The hot liquid also helps you stay hydrated and warms the body from inside.
The effects of tea are now backed by research. In a 2018 review published in the journal Molecule, researchers compared the results of three major studies on tea and its effect on influenza infection. The three studies under consideration included two randomized-controlled studies and one observational study. They concluded that tea helps us counter the spread of infection in the body. So, that hot cuppa can reduce those irritable symptoms and restore your health.
Best Teas for A Cold
A hot drink like tea has many gains that help when fighting a cold. When we add the magic of herbs, the tea takes on added benefits. The advantage of drinking tea lies in loosening the mucus from a blocked nose, keeping you hydrated, helping you stay warm, flushing out the infection, and helping you stay awake or soothing you to sleep.
Peppermint tea has always been everybody’s go-to remedy for a cold. In the book Grandma’s Remedies: A Guide to Traditional Cures and Treatments from Mustard Poultices to Rosehip Syrup, author Cherry Cappell mentions a peppermint tea-based remedy for colds and inflammations. The tea uses elderflower and peppermint. A 2017 review published in the Archives of Clinical Microbiology on the functionality of peppermint found that its extract shows strong antimicrobial properties, which can relieve respiratory congestion, headache, and skeletal muscle pain. So, peppermint tea not only helps you deal with the aches and pains associated with the common cold but helps you also get a good night’s sleep.
How to make: To make the tea, steep a peppermint tea bag in hot water for 10 minutes. Steam inhalation of chamomile is also very effective. Put a couple of drops of chamomile essential oil or use a large pot of brewed tea for the steam. It will relieve your sore throat, ease your blocked nose, and help ease headache or muscle pain.
Where to buy: You can get peppermint tea from any supermarket, specialist health food store, or order it from an online store. You can also grow it in your backyard.
Most of us know chamomile tea for its soothing properties. Indeed, chamomile tea can help you sleep when a cold leaves you frazzled and unhappy. But the benefits of this herb go beyond that. A review of different studies on chamomile, published in Molecular Medicine Reports found that steam inhalation with chamomile extract can help in relieving symptoms of a common cold.
In the classic Herbal Medicine, written in 1895 by Dr. Rudolf Fritz Weiss, considered the founding father of modern German phytotherapy, chamomile is mentioned extensively for its medicinal properties. Along with its gastrointestinal effects, Dr. Weissrecommends chamomile for conditions affecting the mucous membrane and bronchial system.
How to make: Herbal Medicine also gives us the best way to use chamomile for its therapeutic effect. For each cup of tea, two to three teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers are soaked in hot (not boiling) water and allowed to brew for 5-10 minutes. If using teabags, one should use at least two. Interestingly, the recipe also tells you how to have the tea. It must be sipped slowly while sitting comfortably. He also advises taking 2 to 3 cups a day on an empty stomach.
Where to buy: Chamomile tea is today quite easily available at most food stores. If you don’t have easy access to such a store, you can also order it online.
Ginger is used in many traditional medicines to cure a host of ailments, from migraines, hypertension, and most commonly, for cold. In the 2nd edition of Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects, the author dedicates an entire chapter to the benefits of ginger. It contains a component called gingerol which helps in reducing the inflammation linked to a common cold. Ginger also finds extensive mention in Ayurveda. In Ayurveda Made Easy: 50 Exercises for Finding Health, Mindfulness, and Balance, author Heidi E Spear recommends ginger for cold and flu. The hot, pungent ginger balances Kapha and Vata in the body.
How to make: In The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies, the author offers two ginger brews for cold. The first remedy combines one part ginger with one part cinnamon and two parts lemongrass. Steep these three ingredients in hot water for 10 minutes and drink up. The second remedy asks for boiling 1 teaspoon ginger in a pint of water for 5 minutes. Strain and sip the brew slowly
Where to buy: Ginger is easily available at most grocery stores. You can opt for organic ginger at a specialist health food store. Just make sure that the ginger is fresh and not shriveled and dried up.
Native to North America, echinacea tea was used by Native Americans to treat cold. Even today the herb is popular as an alternative remedy for treating a cold or strengthening one’s immunity. However, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health found that experiments on the herbs were inconclusive. It can, however, help in reducing the chances of catching a cold.
The popular journal for herbalists, An Herbalist’s Guide to Growing & Using Echinacea: A Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin, has a detailed dosage for taking echinacea. Small, frequent doses are best taken at the onset of a cold or flu in a 10-day regime. A high dosage should be reserved for an acute emergency. A prevention regime should be for nine months. The book recommends taking half a cup every two hours in acute conditions and half a cup thrice a day for chronic conditions.
How to make: The guide also offers a suitable tea recipe. The best way is to infuse echinacea leaves and roots. Simmer the roots for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add the leaves. Stire and let it steep for 15-20 minutes. If you do not have ready access to echinacea leaves and roots, use a teabag to brew the tea. Let it steep in hot water for 5 minutes and then drink up. You can make a pot of this tea and use it for the treatment regime.
Where to buy: You can get echinacea tea at specialist tea stores. Alternatively, you can also buy it online.
Native to Europe and North America, the black-colored elderberry is believed to possess many beneficial properties. Apart from being a popular ingredient for jams, jellies, syrups, liqueurs, and wines, elderberry is also often used in traditional medicine. In a randomized study published in the journal Nutrients, researchers found that the elderberry reduced the duration and symptoms of a cold.
How to make: In Exotic Foods: A Kitchen and Garden Guide, the author explains the use of elderberry tea in folk medicine to treat fever, sore throat, and the common cold. The book gives us two recipes for the tea. The first recipe soaks elderberry blossoms in cold water for 24 hours. To make the tea, boil the water and take it with lemon or honey. The second recipe takes less time. Just boil its blossoms and mint leaves for 15 minutes, strain and drink it. If you don’t have access to elderberry plants, use a tea bag or tea leaves in place of the blossoms.
Where to buy: You can buy the tea from a specialist store or order it online. If you want to use it in the traditional way by using blossoms, grow it in a pot on your balcony. The white-sprayed plant is a pretty addition to any space.
Green tea has emerged as one of the most popular cure-alls. Among its many benefits is its effectiveness in fighting a cold. A randomized trial published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that the catechin and theanine present in green tea significantly lowered the occurrence of influenza among the participants.
How to make: To make, steep half a teaspoon of green tea for 10 minutes in a cup of hot water and then sip slowly. If you have a cold, you may want to keep sipping on tea throughout the day. The best way is to make a pot of tea. Using a teaspoon or a tea bag for two cups. You can use the same leaves for a second filling of the pot. Simply fill it again with hot water once your first pot is finished. This second brew is considered even more beneficial by some practitioners.
Where to buy: Green tea is today widely available at almost every store. You can also order it online.