The cold and flu season is upon us. If you’re sick of runny noses and pesky coughs, consider adding some powerful immune system boosting plants to your medicine cabinet. Herbal medicines have been used for thousands of years. Adding some to your daily winter routine could help you feel healthier and fight off that nasty bug that’s been going around the office or your kid’s school. Here are some of our strongest herbal fighters.
- Elderberry: Most commonly found as a syrup, this dark purple berry has antifungal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties to ward off a whole host of potential infections. Add a teaspoon to smoothies or yogurt for a fruity immune boost.
- Echinacea: Also known as coneflower, this herb, found in tinctures and teas, has been shown to boost immune systems, especially in individuals with low immune function. However, if you have an autoimmune disorder or ragweed allergy, echinacea is not for you.
- Ginger: This classic ingredient is famous for southing stomachs and strengthening immune systems. Add it to recipes, sip on ginger tea, or take a straight shot of ginger juice if you’re feeling brave.
- Garlic: Its vampire-fighting properties may be a myth, but its ability to give your immune system a boost is not. Enjoy it in a hot soup for extra hearty healing.
- Fire cider: This intense combination of garlic, ginger, onion, horseradish and hot peppers marinated in apple cider vinegar might burn your throat, but it will also burn off any bugs that may linger. It’s easy to whip up a batch at home and use it on salad, rice, or anything that needs a kick!
- Adaptogens: This term is often tossed around the health food world, but what exactly are they? Adaptogens are therapeutic herbs that help combat stress. Stress from work can suppress your immune system, so these are great for people who get sick often and have highly demanding daily lives. Some options are ashwagandha, reishi, and holy basil which all boost immune function.
Prevention is truly the best medicine. No herb can instantly cure disease, but incorporating some of these into your daily diet can strengthen your immune system over time and improve overall health.