For those of us living in the northern hemisphere, another winter is upon us. This means coughs and colds and other stressful winter bugs.
But, this does not mean endless visits to the pharmacy…
Try natural home remedies to relieve the stress of winter infections – they do work!
Coughs and colds can be beaten by what is in your herb garden.
Learn how to prevent illness by using these six fresh garden herbs…
Six Best Health Herbs For Winter
This is one of my favourite best health herbs for winter – its bright color in my garden gladdens my heart and brightens the day. Use calendula as a salve to heal wind-chapped winter skin, calm inflammation, connectedhealthcenter speed up healing and fight eczema. It has wonderful antiseptic properties. You can use freshly picked, open calendula flowers to make an effective infusion for the immune system.
* Calendula officinalis or ‘pot marigold’ is an easy, quick growing annual which flowers beautifully in winter. You don’t even have to feed or water often; these European weeds thrive in poor soil.
Use rosemary, mint thyme and calendula to steam colds and flu away. Combine with lemon peel, lemon balm, calendula, lavender and thyme and use as an antiseptic. I like to add rosemary to my bath to stimulate circulation to my skin. Try a few drops of rosemary in a diffuser to keep the flu bugs out of your bedroom.
* Rosemary will withstand wind and salt along coastal plains.
Of all the best winter herbs for health, I recommend sage for treating coughs and colds. Use as a gargle for sore throats – infuse three teaspoons of sage leaves in 250 ml boiling water. Leave to steep for 15 minutes, strain and cool. Gargle three times a day.
* Sage is not as frost hardy as other winter perennial herbs.
4. Heart’s Ease or Viola
Are you surprised to see this as one of the best health herbs for winter? Try chewing Viola tricolour to relieve headaches; you will be surprised at the effect of this lovely herb. You can also make an infusion as a tea for lowering fevers, cleansing toxins, or as an anti-inflammatory expectorant for coughs. You can use both the leaves and the flowers of this gorgeous plant.
* Heart’s Ease likes to live in moist, rich soil in the shade. It will tolerate sun though.
Parsley is a wonderful source of vitamins A, C and E which build the immune system. Make sure you have some growing in your garden (or in a pot) to give your body the winter edge against infections. Nibble some every day, sprinkle on salads or blend with apple or tomato for a delicious fresh juice.
* Always pick the outer leaves as new growth comes from the center. You can also extend the plant’s life by snipping off the flowering heads.
If you have a cough or a cold , treat it with thyme.It is also a great anti-oxidant and tonic to build up the immune system. So don’t wait for winter ailments to strike, make yourself some thyme tea and enjoy regularly. Make an infusion and sip. You can also use thyme in salads and dressings and in your winter casseroles and stews.
* Thyme is the hardiest of the herbs. The more you pick the better it grows.
How To Grow Herbs
Herbs come from the Northern hemisphere where a hot dry summer and wet winter pose no threat. However, they do like protection from the wind and are much happier with good drainage and as much sunshine as you can give them.
Do not kill your best health herbs for winter by overwatering and resist the urge to coddle them with too rich soils.
If your herbs are in pots, put them on a sunny patio and remove the saucers; their roots do not like to be waterlogged. Feed your herbs about once every 6 to 8 weeks.
Pick your herbs in small quantities and leave two growth points on a twig for reshooting. Prune and pinch out evenly as you harvest. Try and handle your harvested herbs as little as possible to preserve their healing properties. Use while still fresh. And do not leave to wilt.
Margo Bastos is passionate about holistic healing and natural stress-free living. Her abiding interest, continuing personal research and every-day philosophy is in alternative mind, body and spiritual modalities. She has a real estate business in South Africa and her formal qualifications include a MA in Jewish Studies from the University of Cape Town.