Tea has long been known for its health benefits and comforting properties. When you have a cold, a warm cup of tea can be just what you need to soothe your throat and help ease your symptoms. Here are some of the best teas to drink when you have a cold.
Green tea is one of the healthiest teas available, thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and tea polyphenols. These compounds can help eliminate harmful bacteria and free radicals that can make you more susceptible to catching a cold or flu. Additionally, green tea’s anti-inflammatory properties can help soothe the irritation and inflammation that can cause a sore throat, as well as reduce inflammation in the chest that leads to coughing and chest congestion.
To brew green tea properly, use water between 175 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit and steep loose leaf green tea for 3 to 5 minutes. Adding a dash of raw honey can increase its soothing properties.
Black tea is another great option for fighting off cold symptoms. Studies have shown that daily consumption of true teas, such as black tea, can help decrease influenza rates and minimize or shorten the duration of cold symptoms. Black tea contains catechins that can help eliminate pathogenic bacteria and soothe sore throats. Additionally, the aroma of black tea can help open up airways and reduce coughing.
To brew black tea, use boiling water between 200 and 212 degrees Fahrenheit and steep two to three grams of loose leaf tea for every eight ounces of water. Steep the tea leaves for 3 to 5 minutes and consider adding a cinnamon stick to boost the tea’s anti-inflammatory properties.
White tea is the most delicate of the true teas and offers a mild flavor with sweet and floral notes. Because it’s the least processed of the true teas, it’s a natural choice for those suffering from a cold or flu. Like green and black tea, white tea contains antioxidants and compounds that can help fight off cold symptoms. It’s particularly rich in tea catechins and amino acids like l-theanine, which help prevent the replication of harmful pathogens.
To brew white tea, use water that’s between 150 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid ruining its delicate flavor profile.
Ginger root tea has a spicy kick that can help open up your sinuses and reduce congestion. This tea is a popular natural remedy for colds, thanks to its deliciously spicy flavor and potent health benefits. Ginger tea is also a great remedy for nausea and vomiting associated with a variety of conditions, including colds, motion sickness, chemotherapy, and morning sickness.
To brew ginger tea, slice a 1-inch piece of fresh ginger and steep it in boiling water for five to ten minutes. Add a dash of honey and a slice of lemon to enhance the immune-supporting properties.
Lemon-based teas, such as lemon verbena, lemon balm, and lemongrass tea, are packed with vitamin C, which can boost your immune system and help you fight off colds faster. Drinking several cups of lemon tea throughout the day can increase your vitamin C intake and help you feel better faster.
To brew lemon tea, steep a tea bag or loose tea in boiling water for five to ten minutes. Drink several cups throughout the day to support your immune system.
Peppermint tea is a common ingredient in cough syrups and cough drops. This tea has a fresh and invigorating aroma that can open up congested airways and improve breathing. Peppermint tea is also known for its pain-reducing properties and ability to decrease inflammation. Drinking peppermint tea can help soothe body aches caused by colds and flu and may loosen congestion, making it easier to breathe.
Peppermint tea also has virucidal properties that can shorten the length of a cold or flu. Compounds within peppermint tea can prevent pathogens from replicating and stop infections from spreading.
To brew peppermint tea, steep a tea bag or loose tea in boiling water for five to ten minutes. Drink a cup of peppermint tea to soothe a sore throat and decrease inflammation. You can also do a nasal drip using peppermint tea. Bring water to a rapid boil on the stove and add in peppermint leaves. Turn the heat down to medium and simmer for five minutes. Drape a towel over your head and lean your face over the hot pot of peppermint tea. Inhale deeply for five minutes, focusing on clearing your stuffy or runny nose.
Elderflower or Elderberry Tea
Elderberry is a plant that belongs to the same family as honeysuckle. The berries from the elderberry plant are rich in flavonoids and antioxidants that are beneficial for immune health. Research has shown that elderberry supplementation can reduce the severity of cold symptoms and the duration of the illness.
How to Brew: For fresh elderberry tea, add 8 to 12 berries to boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the berries and pour the tea concentrate into cups. To make elderflower tea, add a small handful of fresh elderflowers to boiling water and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the flowers and serve with a dash of raw honey.
Note: The leaves and other plant parts of the elderberry plant are toxic to humans and should not be used for tea.
Hibiscus tea is an herbal tea that is naturally caffeine-free and packed with vitamin C. Just three cups of hibiscus tea can provide you with your recommended daily allotment of vitamin C. This tea can be consumed all day without worrying about disrupting your sleep patterns.
How to Brew: Use eight to ten fresh hibiscus flowers or one teaspoon of loose leaf tea per cup. Bring water to a boil and add in the flower petals. Steep the tea for two to five minutes, then strain the flowers and pour the tea into cups. Add a slice of lemon to increase your vitamin C intake.
Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root tea has antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help fight off colds and flu. It’s a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and contains flavonoids that can enhance immune health. Studies have also shown that licorice root can prevent the replication of harmful pathogens and induce death in certain viral and bacterial infections.
How to Brew: Use one teaspoon of dried licorice for every eight ounces of water. Bring water to a boil and add the licorice root to the hot water. Steep for five minutes before removing the licorice root. Add cinnamon, sugar, or lemon to reduce the potent flavor of the tea if desired.
Nettle tea is made from the spiny plant that can cause itching and burning sensations if touched. However, drinking nettle tea can help soothe and alleviate pain, and also boost immune health due to its vitamin C and carotene content.
How to Brew: Use one cup of nettle leaves for every two cups of water. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat, and add the nettle leaves. Steep for five to seven minutes before straining and serving in teacups. Add honey to sweeten if the flavor is too strong.