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Herbal Remedies for Coughs and Colds

Coughs and colds can be most unpleasant, but the good news is, you don’t have to resort to drugs to alleviate the symptoms. Many herbal remedies can be just as effective, with none of the potential side effects of some over the counter remedies. Antibiotics don’t work as a treatment for colds, as colds are viral infections. These are some of the best herbal remedies for coughs and colds.


Native American Indians realised the benefits of echinacea hundreds of years ago. Like many remedies – herbal or otherwise – echinacea works best if you take it as soon as symptoms appear, rather than waiting until you have the full-blown cold. The herb increases levels of properdin, which triggers the area of the immune system which boosts the defences against viruses and bacteria.

Echinacea is taken as a tincture, but all tinctures are not equal. If the tincture your taking is a good quality, high strength remedy, you should feel a tingling sensation on the back of the tongue.


Along with onions and leeks, which are members of the same botanical family, garlic has anti-bacterial properties which are ideal for fighting off colds. Garlic contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. Use garlic, onions and leeks in your meals as you fight off your cold, and use it with echinacea for a two-pronged attack.


Ginger has several anti-viral ingredients, and it also acts as an analgesic and antiseptic. For this reason, it’s excellent for treating colds, sore throats and respiratory infections. Like many herbal remedies for colds, ginger can also help prevent colds as well as treating them. Use it in cooking, or munch on crystallised ginger squares. You can also make a ginger tea by infusing the grated root in hot water. This will calm a cough and soothe a sore throat.


The Latin translation of coltsfoot is ‘cough dispeller,’ and the leaves are used as an expectorant and anti-spasmodic remedy. Coltsfoot leaves contain zinc, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This is very helpful in calming the fever that is often associated with colds and ‘flu. Coltsfoot is most effective taken as a tincture from herbalists.


Make a tea from a teaspoon of marjoram leaves and a cup of boiling water. Allow the infusion to steep for about 10 minutes before drinking. Taken three times a day, this is an effective cough remedy.

There are many more herbal remedies for coughs and colds. Licorice root and eucalyptus are said to be effective in soothing symptoms. If in doubt about using herbal remedies, consult a herbalist and ask how herbal remedies can help to fight your cough or cold.