13 Natural Remedies You Need to Grow for Winter Colds
As we enter cold and flu season, it can be convenient to purchase over-the-counter solutions for sore throats and stuffy noses. But have you considered growing your own natural remedies for winter illnesses?
Before cures came in a bottle, people often used herbs to treat common ailments. And these medicinal plants are just as useful now for fighting congestion, coughing, and other cold symptoms as they were before the advent of modern medications.
In this post, you’ll discover 13 of such herbal antidotes. And here’s the best part: each of them is easy to grow indoors all year long with Tower Garden — no soil, weeding, or watering necessary.
(Already feeling a little under the weather? Jump to the end of this post for a quick recommendation of which herbs might help your specific symptoms.)
Note: Some of the plants recommended in this post could be dangerous if you’re pregnant, nursing, or allergic. If those conditions apply, please conduct thorough research or consult a doctor before consuming.
Much more than a pseudo-narcotic for kitty, catnip can relieve you of common cold and flu symptoms, as well as stress and pain. (By the way, you may want to reconsider giving it to your cat.)
Chamomile is a light sedative that will send you into a restful, healing sleep. It also soothes upset stomachs and offers anti-inflammatory benefits.
3. Echinacea (Coneflower)
A lovely flowering herb in the mint family, Echinacea can help strengthen your immune system, fight infections, and ease cold and flu symptoms.
4. Holy Basil (Tulsi)
This floral variety of basil is considered the most sacred herb in Ayurvedic medicine. And for good reason — it fights inflammation, bacteria, and viruses, while also reducing pain and fever and helping prevent disease as an antioxidant. It’s quite the workhorse of medicinal herbs.
Side note: I grew holy basil for the first time a couple of years ago after finding it at a seed swap. And it’s been a mainstay in my garden ever since. Pollinators love the plants purple flowers, and it smells amazing — highly recommend!
A mint-flavored herb with lavender-like blooms, hyssop offers antimicrobial benefits and may be used as an expectorant to soothe a cough.
6. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm has a delightful citrusy flavor and can help you relax. Its bright taste makes it one of my favorite herbs to use in tea.
When it comes to growing mint, you have (literally) hundreds of varieties to choose from. And each offers an equally varied mix of benefits — from helping with fatigue to resolving coughs and sore throats.
Frequently used in Italian cuisine, oregano has a variety of medicinal uses, too. It’s a particularly effective treatment for coughing and other winter ailments.
Rosemary is another culinary herb that’s rich with antioxidants. The aromatic plant can boost your immune system, helping you fend off feelings of un-wellness in wintertime.
Noticing a trend here? Herbs aren’t just for cooking! Both common and white sage can help with sore throats and coughs.
11. Summer Savory
Despite having “summer” in its name, you can grow this bushy herb in winter with grow lights. And that’s good, because summer savory serves well as an astringent for unpleasant throat conditions brought on by chilly weather.
There’s no good time to get sick. (Hardy-har-har! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Fortunately, thyme will support your immune system and fight bacteria, infection, and sore throats.
Did you know violets are edible? Not only that — the flowers offer a range of health benefits, including relief for sore throats.
Tower Tip: Food can be medicine, too. In addition to these herbs, grow your own superfoods to ensure what you’re eating keeps your body strong, healthy, and protected from disease.
How to treat cold symptoms with herbs
To help you decide what to grow (and use next time you’re not feeling so hot), here’s a quick look at what you can expect from each of the herbs featured above.
Soothe your sore throat with:
- Summer Savory
Clear your congestion with:
Quiet your cough with:
Rest and recover with:
- Lemon balm
Just generally feel better with:
- Holy basil
- Lemon balm
How to make a healing infusion in 5 simple steps
The easiest way to reap the benefits of the herbs above is to make a strong tea known as an infusion:
- Bring water to a boil.
- Pour hot water over plant leaves and/or flowers.
- Allow the concoction to steep for 10–15 minutes.
- Sip the infusion from your favorite mug.
- Take deep breaths of the steam, too, for even more health-fortifying effects.
Keep in mind that you can combine multiple herbs together to create a custom brew that suits your tastes and needs. And if you have more herbs than you can use, consider drying and saving them for later.
Get inspired by more indoor gardening ideas
You just got 13 recommendations for herbs to grow indoors. But Tower Garden can grow up to 20 different plants — at once. Want additional suggestions for what to grow?
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, please immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
Source for herbal health benefit facts mentioned in this article (unless otherwise noted):
Hartung, Tammi. Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs. North Adams, MA: Storey, 2011. Print.