istock/Vitalina Although oregano is best known for giving pizza and pasta an extra kick, Patrick Fratellone, MD, a leading integrative medicine doctor and registered herbalist with the American Herbal Guild, recommends reaching for this herb to treat a hacking cough. “Oregano is a powerhouse of flu-fighting properties, since it’s antibacterial, antifungal, and an antioxidant, and it can also be used as an expectorant to treat lung or respiratory conditions,” says Dr. Fratellone.
You could take an oregano capsule twice a day with meals, but if all you have on hand is a bottle of the dried herb, you can make an oregano tea: Pour eight ounces of boiling water over one teaspoon of dried oregano and let stand for ten minutes. If the taste is too bitter, add some raw honey. Aim to drink two cups a day. This elixir can also be used topically to treat skin infections and calm down an upset stomach. Check out 10 natural cold remedies that are always worth trying.
istock/amite This woody aromatic herb in your culinary closet has secret powers besides flavoring oatmeal and cookies, and deserves to be on your list of natural cold remedies. Because of cinnamon’s antifungal and analgesic properties, Dr. Fratellone uses it to treat bronchitis. It tends to be warming for the body, and it dilates your blood vessels, he says. (Cinnamon also lowers blood sugar concentration and improves insulin sensitivity, which is why it is also being used to treat people who have diabetes.) If you’re looking to fight a bug with natural cold remedies, create a cinnamon tea by pouring boiling water over the herb into a cup. Dr. Fratellone recommends one cup two or three times a day. You can also sprinkle it on your food or in your latte.