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Medicinal science is still yet to develop a cure for the common cold and it’s at this time of year that everyone seems afflicted. There’s not a quick way to get rid of it, but your garden is full of herbs and plants that can bring relief from lots of the symptoms of a cold and help to boost your immune system. From easing your sore throat to unblocking your sinuses, your garden has loads of herbs that can help you.
Using herbs from your garden is also a much more environmentally friendly way to treat your cold, as well as being better for your purse!
Rosemary is an extremely common garden herb that has a host of benefits for your body. It’s known for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which will help you combat the cold microbes. It also stimulates the circulatory system, helping to increase the blood flow to the brain and relieve headaches.
Sage is known to soothe irritation and kill bacteria as it has antimicrobial properties. This makes it a fantastic herb to help soothe a sore throat. It has a very strong flavour, but if you add some lemon or dried apple and a little honey (which is also great for soothing sore throats) it’ll taste a bit better. It’s worth it though as it’s well known to soothe the symptoms of a cold.
You can combine it with a little thyme too which is a fantastic expectorant.
While mint does die back over winter, meaning there’s less of it around, you should still be able to find some leaves on the plant. It’s also a great idea to harvest mint leaves in season and dry them out so you have a supply all year around. You can freeze a handful of them in an ice cube tray with some water and get a cube out whenever you’re feeling run down.
The active ingredient in mint leaves is menthol which thins mucus and can therefore help to relieve congestion.
Like mint, lemon balm doesn’t grow as actively in the winter, but you should be able to find some low-growing leaves on the plant even at this time of year. Lemon balm is a gentle herb with a subtle flavour. If you’re suffering from a high temperature, it can help to sweat out a fever and it also has antiviral properties to combat the flu virus.
It’s a fantastic herb to pair with those that don’t taste so pleasant!
Ribwort & broadleaf plantain
Both ribwort and broadleaf varieties of plantain are weeds. When Greensleeves treat your lawn, we have a special combination of tailored fertilisers, weed treatments and insecticides to keep your lawn healthy, so you won’t spot any ribwort or broadleaf plantain on your grass!
However, both plantains can grow between cracks in your paving or even in gravel. While weeds are annoying, these two have astringent and demulcent properties, which means that reduce inflammation or membranes. It helps to ease your cough and blocked sinuses. Broadleaf plantain is also full of vitamin C which supports your immune system while you’re fighting off a cold.
If you notice some plantain coming through the cracks in your paving stones, you can pull it up and dry out the leaves. They’re just as effective dried as fresh.
The best way to use these herbs is as a tea. Boiling water releases the oils so you can drink them and gain all the benefits. It’s essential that the tea brews for 10 minutes covered. If you don’t cover it, you’ll lose a significant amount of the oils and therefore the goodness!
Use a teapot. Chop up or crush a small handful of the herb and pour boiling water over the top. Replace the lid of the teapot and allow to brew for 10 minutes. Use a strainer to remove the herbs and enjoy your tea (and the relief it brings to your cold!). You can add a little honey or lemon to improve the taste.
If you don’t like herbal tea, inhaling the team will still bring some benefits. You can pour boiling water onto the herbs and inhale the steam. Alternatively, you can add several handfuls of the chopped or crushed herb to a hot bath.
It’s worth noting that if you’re pregnant, you should avoid rosemary, sage and thyme.