Herbs for Winter Health
Updated: Jan 15
This winter it seems colds, flus, and respiratory issues are hitting many people hard. Here are seven tips for prevention and some helpful tools so that if you do get sick the illness will move through much faster. Be sure to try the easy tea recipes too.
1. Eat Warming & Nourishing Foods
As a preventative measure, we first need to look to “winter” types of foods that will nourish our body so it can take care of itself. These are “warming and nurturing” things to eat to help keep you healthy everyday.
Look for foods rich in vitamin A, C including:
root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.)
squash & pumpkins
brassicas (turnips, cabbage, kale, etc.)
citrus fruits and rosehips, lemons
Eat food from the allium family.
These are vegetables are that are high in sulfur:
Add warming spices:
2. Use Astragalus.
It is a sweet and mild Chinese root used as an herbal tonic that can be used to build up your resistance. You can find this as a tincture or as a dried herb in the bulk section at the Lamb Shoppe.
We suggest adding the dried root to a pot of soup or when making bone broth. Astragalus nourishes both the spleen and the lungs.
3. Calendula Flowers.
This is another great item to throw in soups and stews. This herb is traditionally used as an anti-depressant and for people with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It is also an excellent herbal for the lymphatic system. Calendula makes a great ointment and salve and is an effective remedy for chapped skin and lips. The Lamb Shoppe has dried Calendula blossoms in the bulk herb section of the store.
4. Use Sprigs of Pine, Juniper, Cedar & Sage to Simmer on Stove.
Just having these simple plants simmer on the stove top will freshen and clear the air of germs. Steam inhalations of these plants can be beneficial for relieving congestion in coughs and colds. You can also add a few drops of the essential oil to hot water, place your face over the bowl, cover with a towel, and inhale the steam.
5. Build immunity through nutrition and balancing the body.
Always work toward avoiding sugar and commercially processed foods.
Consume bone broth. You can make your own
or purchase frozen beef or chicken broth at the Lamb Shoppe.
Take a vitamin D supplement regularly and bump up the dosage if you are sick.
6. Remember, getting sick sometimes is good for “house cleaning” the body.
A healthy person actually does get sick from time to time. It is the body’s way of getting rid of toxins and wastes that the body needs to remove. Therefore, if you do get sick once in a while, use this time to cleanse and build.
7. Take Elderberry.
Whether it is a tincture, syrup, or tea, Elderberries are an incredible multi-purpose herb that is known for its effectiveness when used at the first stages of cold, flu, and upper respiratory congestion. In a number of studies, Elderberries have shown to significantly reduce the time of being sick from colds and flu.
Easy Therapeutic Tea Recipes
Best Remedy from the Orient: Basic Ginger Tea
In both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine, ginger is considered the best home remedy for colds. Drink a cup of ginger tea several times (at least 3 times) a day.
To make a tea:
Add 1 heaping teaspoon of grated fresh gingerroot to 1 cup of boiled water.
Allow to steep for 10 minutes.
If you use dried ginger powder use 1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger per cup.
Extra-Kick Ginger Tea
Grate a one-inch piece of peeled ginger root.
Place in a pot with 2 cups of water and cover, bring to nearly a boil, lower heat and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add ½ t. of cayenne pepper and simmer for one more minute.
Remove from heat.
Add 2T. fresh lemon juice, one or two cloves of mashed garlic and honey to taste.
Let cool slightly, and strain if you wish.
Chinese Tea (To induce a sweat)
Simmer the following herbs together with water for 15 minutes: