People have been using teas to prevent illness and treat symptoms for thousands of years. When you have cold or flu symptoms using delicious teas is often a great option, and a more natural way to help treat your sickness. Keep reading and find out how!
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The Best Teas to Drink During Cold and Flu Season
A good herbal tea, and plenty of rest is sometimes one of the best natural remedies there is. Plus, then you won’t have the added side effects that can come with over the counter medication.
How can teas help us? A lot of tea leaves contain phytochemicals that protect their cells from free radicals, radiation, microbes, and toxic substances. It is the leaves defense symptom. When we ingest the phytochemicals of an herb we can gain similar benefits.
So what are the best teas to drink to not only prevent illnesses and keep us at maximum health, but to use when we do get sick to help with symptoms?
We have done the work for you and made this list of the best teas to drink during those long winter months to help you prevent illness, but also to treat those miserable symptoms if they do show up.
Best Teas for Cold and Flu Season to Prevent Illness
Teas can be used to help keep you well. One of the most simple ways it does this is just by keeping you hydrated. Your body needs to be hydrated to function at its best. Being well hydrated helps your circulation so your organs function properly, and being hydrated helps you flush out toxins.
But individual teas, have different added benefits.
So what teas are best to help you keep those flu viruses and cold bugs at bay? Here is our list of the best teas to keep you well.
Chamomile tea is made with chamomile flowers. Flavonoids from this tea have a tranquilizing effect that can help you sleep.
Sleep is so important to your overall health and well being. During sleep, your body is working to maintain your physical health and support healthy brain function. Getting inadequate sleep over long periods of time can even raise your risk for lots of long term, chronic health problems.
There is also some evidence this tea is also anti-inflammatory. And chronic inflammation can damage healthy tissues, organs, and cells. It can eventually cause internal scarring, damage to previously healthy DNA, and even tissue death.
Chronic inflammation can lead to developing certain cancers, life threatening illnesses, and Type-2 diabetes.
Echinacea tea comes from the purple cone flower (also just called purple flower) found in North America.
Taking echinacea as a supplement has been shown to help prevent colds by up to 50% and can reduce symptoms by a full day.
So brewing this tea might be a great way to not just keep those colds at bay, but also help reduce the length of your cold symptoms.
While Ginger tea is great at soothing your scratchy or sore throat, it can also help keep you healthy. The ingredients can inhibit microorganisms that lead to infection.
Fresh ginger itself can be anti-inflammatory, and a potent anti-viral. This makes it a great choice to drink throughout the cold and flu season, but also to drink at the very first sign of illness.
Ginger can also help with nausea, helping to settle an upset tummy before it gets worse.
Elderberries are full of antioxidants and have even more polyphenols than cranberries or blueberries. Some studies strongly suggest that diets rich in polyphenols may offer protection against development of cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and even certain cancers. This is why elderberry syrup is so popular during the winter months.
Elderberries have also been shown to reduce not only the length but also the severity of cold and flu symptoms.
Plus elderberries produce tea with a nice fruity taste. So for those who aren’t usually big tea fans, elderberry tea is an excellent choice to get those antioxidant properties.
Green tea has both high levels of antioxidants and antiviral qualities making it a perfect choice to sip during cold and flu season. It also has high levels of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG benefits include fighting inflammation and oxidative stress, supporting weight loss, protecting the brain against degeneration, and supporting heart health and metabolic function.
Black tea is actually the most popular tea world wide. It is made by using the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant.
Like elderberry tea, it contains polyphenols, but unlike elderberry tea, black tea contains a special kind of polyphenol called theaflavin, that no other type of tea has. To get the best benefits from black tea, you should use loose leaf tea (not bagged tea).
Black tea promotes heart health, reduces the risk of stroke, can lower blood pressure, and can even decrease the risks of some cancers. In studies it has been shown to lessen the risk of death from multiple causes.
Hibiscus tea can be considered a preventative powerhouse. Not only is it full of antioxidants, but studies have shown it aids weight loss, helps manage blood sugars, fights bacteria, can lower blood pressure, is loaded with vitamins, and had many other health benefits.
Hibiscus in very large amounts it can cause toxicity, but if you stay in the 1-3 cups a day range, you should be fine. Hibiscus does contain caffeine-like properties, so if you are someone who has issues with sleep, make sure to drink your hibiscus tea in the mornings.
Citrus Fruit Teas
Any citrus teas are going to be choc full of Vitamin C, making them great teas to start sipping as those colder temperatures come in. But for sure start sipping citrus teas as soon as those first cold symptoms appear in anyone that lives in your home.
Best Teas for Cold and Flu Season to Sip When You Are Sick
While any of the teas mentioned in the preventative section could of course also have benefits while you are sick, the following teas are specifically good for cold and flu symptoms.
Peppermint tea is both antimicrobial and antiviral.
The menthol in organic peppermint leaves can have an anesthetic effect on the throat helping to suppress a cough. And just the smell can help ease nausea and upset stomach.
Slippery Elm bark has a lot of mucilage. This is a gel-like substance that has been known to help both a sore and scratchy throat. So if you are sick of taking cough drop after cough drop, brewing a batch of slippery elm tea is a great choice.
Licorice tea is a sweeter tea often used to treat gastrointestinal issues like heartburn and indigestion. But licorice root tea also has antiviral properties and antimicrobial properties to help shorten your cold.
Similar to Slippery Elm, marshmallow root tea also contains mucilage that will can calm your itchy or sore throat. But marshmallow root also has antioxidant properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
Hot Teas vs. Cooler Teas
So what are the benefits of drinking a hot tea or waiting for it to cool? Does it matter? Well, sometimes.
Hot teas soothe throats, and can help break up congestion. So if you have a really stuffy nose, a warm drink can be a great natural remedy.
But if you are going to add honey to a tea, you should let it cool a little first. Honey is a natural cough suppressant, and it has antioxidants that help combat infections and diseases. But for honey to be considered raw and to give you the most benefits, it shouldn’t be added to water over 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you keep the honey raw, all the enzymes will still be present, so it is the best way to ingest honey in your tea.
Best Add Ins For Your Teas During Cold and Flu Season
- Honey- as stated in the section above, honey has antioxidants to help you combat diseases and infections, but is also super soothing to itchy and sore throats. You can also just add honey to warm water to make a honey tea.
- Lemon- Lemon adds a blast of Vitamin C to any tea you are sipping. And just like with the honey, you can make lemon tea by just adding pure lemon juice to hot water.
- Cinnamon- Cinnamon helps to reduce markers of inflammation, which then lowers the risk of disease. Antioxidants in cinnamon tea also help to fight free radicals, which damage your cells and can make things like cancer and heart disease more likely. Adding cinnamon to teas that you drink at night helps promote digestion of the food consumed during the day, speeding up your metabolism, and might help with weight loss. Ceylon cinnamon is considered by many to be the cinnamon with the most health benefits and antioxidant effects.
Tools for Your Teas
There are some tools that can help you with your teas for cold and flu season, or for any time of year.
Tea Infuser– these hold your loose leaf tea so it stays together in your cup and can be removed easily.
Tea Kettle– a way to boil your water so you can make your tea. This one comes in many colors so you can match it to your kitchen.
Tea cup with Infuser– if you don’t want a separate infuser, you can get this mug that comes with its own infuser. It comes in multiple colors, and is dish washer and microwave safe.
Assorted Teas- These sets of assorted teas come in lots of varieties so you can find the perfect pack to suit your taste and needs.
Tea Bag Squeezer- If you want to go the tea bag route instead of using loose leaf tea, a tea bag squeezer makes sure you get all the goodness out of your tea bag without staining your fingers.
The Best Teas for Keeping You Healthy
Now you have learned about the amazing benefits of tea. It can both help to prevent illness, and help with symptoms when you do get sick during cold and flu season.
We love tea and are so thankful for all the benefits it can give us…besides it just being nice to drink. I hope you not only enjoy the health benefits, but like me, you get a little stress relief out of sitting there sipping your nice warm cup of tea.
Do you enjoy drinking tea during the winter months? Do you have a personal favorite tea or add-in? If so, let us know what it is in the comments. We love to hear from you!