Herb Hacks to Fight Winter Colds, Flu


By Jackie Johnson ND, Planhigion Herbal Learning Center. Northeast Wisconsin Unit of the Herb Society of America

According to the groundhog, winter’s health challenges will be with us for a few more weeks. The following Herbal Hacks might help fight the “crud” that seems to circulate during this time of year.astragulus


Add Astragalus to your soups and stews. The Chinese have been doing this for centuries, claiming it boosts their immune systems.  It comes in stick (don’t eat them) or powder form.

 Use more Garlic in cooking (waiting 15 minutes from cutting to pot to let it activate itself).


echinecea-capsulesCurrent research suggests Echinacea may shorten the duration and severity of the flu, if used within 36 hours of onset.  Echinacea comes in teas and tinctures and becomes even more effective when paired with ginger. It is recommended to use Echinacea on an as-needed basis.

In the 1980’s research out of Israel found Elderberry effective against the bird flu.  It appeared to inhibit the virus from entering cells walls and replicating. Based on this study, Sambucol was developed and patented. You can find Sambucol over-the-counter at most stores now.

star-aniseRecords indicate star anise has been used since at least 200 BC by the Chinese as an expectorant and warming digestive aid. It can be used as a tea or a tincture.  Did you know more than 50% of the world’s star anise crop is purchased by Roche Pharmaceutical to make Tamiflu? Since Roche has now synthesized the shikimic acid they were extracting, hopefully the market will open up. I make a vegetable glyceride of star anise which allows me to take it to work and use it at the first inkling of a cold or flu.

Fire Cider:  After the recent massive sharing of fire cider recipes, just google FIRE CIDER.  Generally they include garlic, onion, ginger, horseradish, lemon, cayenne and apple cider vinegar but there are many variations and additional ingredients to add.  Generally all the ingredients are chopped, put in a quart jar, covered the apple cider vinegar and let sit (shaking daily) for a month. Then, strain, rebottle into a clean and sterilized bottle and used as needed. I use much of mine as a salad dressing.  Others add to honey and drink as a tonic. 

It is the policy of The Herb Society not to advise or recommend herbs for medicinal or health use. This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a recommendation or an endorsement of any medical or health treatment..

One thought on “Herb Hacks to Fight Winter Colds, Flu

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s