Researchers have struggled in laboratories for years to find a cure, or even an effective treatment, for the common cold. They may have been better off growing an herb garden. Three herbs have been proven to relieve some cold symptoms. And with these safe, natural remedies, you won't have to worry as much about drug side effects.
Hyssop, a common perennial garden plant, grows along the sides of roads in the United States as a shrub. Its leaves and flowers contain a minty oil that gives off a camphor-like odor. The taste is bitter, so many people add honey to tea made from hyssop leaves. Drink hyssop tea for relief of coughs, hoarseness, fever and sore throats. It is especially effective as an expectorant, helping you get rid of fluid in your chest.
To grow it yourself, pick a site with lots of sunlight. Hyssop prefers light, welldrained, alkaline soil. Sow seeds in spring. You can divide the roots in spring and take stem cuttings from spring to autumn. Trim the bush down to 8 inches after flowering. To harvest, pick the flowering tops just as they begin to blossom. You can gather leaves anytime. Use dried flowers and leaves to make hyssop tea.
Horehound is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region, but it grows well in the United States. Its minty leaves and flowering tops are often used as a folk medicine. In fact, horehound is such an effective remedy that German health officials approved it as a drug to fight colds.
You've probably heard of horehound lozenges to relieve sore throats and coughs. Lozenges containing horehound may be available at your pharmacy, natural health food store, or herbal remedy store. If you can't find the lozenges, you can grow it yourself. Find a site in full sunlight that is protected from cold winds. Horehound prefers dry, alkaline soil. Divide the plant in midspring and sow in late spring.
You can take stem cuttings at the end of summer. Pruning should be done in spring. Pick the leaves as you need them and let them dry. To use as a medicine, finely chop nine leaves. Mix the leaves with one tablespoon of honey and eat slowly. Repeat as you feel necessary.
Echinacea works by stimulating your body's defenses against germs. It doesn't relieve symptoms of a cold, but it may keep the cold from becoming severe or lasting a long time, especially if you take the herb in the early stages of your cold.
Also known as the cone flower, echinacea is a perennial member of the daisy family. It has narrow leaves and a strong stem that grows up to 3-feet high.