Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Common UK herbs for the common cold.

By John Brennan, 12/03/2019

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Common UK herbs for the common cold.

We never know when we're going to catch a cold, over the winter most people do at some point. Instead of downing the Lemsips why not go for some herbs which you, or a neighbour probably have in your garden?

Here are some wise words by Alys Fowler for the Guardian:
"The common cold is a beast, I believe, that cannot be tamed – you just have to ride it out – but a choice handful of our common culinary herbsare brilliant medicine. And they are far kinder to you, the environment and your purse than many over-the-counter cold medicines.

Rosemary and sage are classic herbs for colds and sore throats. Both are known for their antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Rosemary is said to stimulate the circulatory system and thus is thought to encourage blood flow to the brain to relieve headaches. I find a steam inhalation of a handful of bruised stems and leaves works wonderfully for blocked sinuses.

Sage is good for the first tickle of a sore throat, and is known to tone irritated tissues and kill bacteria. It’s a strong-tasting tea made more palatable with the addition of dried apple and a little honey, but it certainly soothes. You can combine it with thyme, which is a good expectorant.

Lemon balm, Melissa officinalis, may be in thin supply at this time, but it is usually possible to find some low-growing leaves. It is a gentle and kind herb for a cold, helping to sweat out a fever, and has mild antiviral properties. It also has a very mild flavour, helping to improve the taste of other herbs. Again, aim to add a tablespoon of chopped herb to a cup of boiling water.

The trick to all of these is to brew a good cup of tea. You want roughly one teaspoon of dried or one tablespoon of fresh herb chopped in a cup of boiling water (200ml). Add honey or lemon peel, if you desire. If you are pregnant, avoid sage, rosemary and thyme, but plantain and lemon balm are safe for general use. If you do not cover the boiled water for 10 minutes, you will lose precious volatile oils. Grandma knew best: use a teapot. If you hate herbal tea, turn the tablespoons into handfuls and add to a bath instead."

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