Herbs for cold and flu season

Surrounded by sick people, and unable to control the spread of disease through hand-washing alone, its nice to know the herbal preventatives that can aid one’s immune system in the fight against illness.  Echinacea is one of the most popular immune system tonics here in the United States, but it should be noted that there are others that are just as effective.

1) Miso soup with green onions.  When you’re feeling like you’re on edge, and a cold is just one sneeze away, make yourself a hot cup of miso with a bunch of diced green onions in it.  Not only will it warm you up, but it could help swing the odds back in favor of you not getting sick.

2) Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen Powder)

This is my favorite to take when sick people are around me, or my immune system seems in danger of failing me.  Yu Ping Feng San is made up of only three herbs–huang qi, bai zhu, and fang feng.  Like echinacea, you do not want to take this when actually sick, but as a preventative when you feel like you may be in the danger zone.

3)  Raw ginger.

Is it cold where you are?  Do you feel chilled and on the verge of getting sick?  Boil 10 slices of fresh ginger root in a cup of water for ten minutes.  Pour it into a mug, wrap yourself in blankets and park yourself next to a heater.  Drink the tea, and let a small bit of sweat emerge from under your layers as warmth penetrates into your body.  Don’t sweat too much, but just enough to warm your muscle layer and stave off the chills.

4) Exercise.

Yep.  Don’t have to buy anything for this one, just get your heart rate up for thirty minutes a day.  But stay warm, and don’t cool down too quickly.  Layers are your best friend in doing this one properly, and get out of sweaty clothes before they become cold and clammy.


As always, whenever possible, please consult a trained herbalist before using herbs or herbal formulas, especially if pregnant or in the case of a serious medical condition.