Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Breathe Easy: 8 Herbs & Spices to Fight Cold & Flu

By:  Ari  Bendersky  Abe's Market Contributor  November 28th, 2014

If you haven't noticed, we're knee deep in cold and flu season. Protect yourself naturally without any chemical additives. Here are eight herbs and spices you can add to your diet to help boost your immunity.

8 Herbs & Spices to Fight Cold & Flu


To get garlic's true health benefits, keep it raw. Garlic is packed with antiviral- and antioxidant-rich allion and allicin, which may help reduce your chances of getting the flu. Either eat some raw garlic to maximize the effect or take garlic supplements. Sure you may smell for a bit, but it's worth it if you don't get sick.

Turmeric & Cinnamon
Add turmeric to soups, stews, sauces, juices and more to absorb curcumin, its active ingredients that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer properties. Cinnamon, a great warming spice, is an anti-inflammatory and helps lower cholesterol. Add it to oatmeal, smoothies, pasta sauces and more.

Elderberry, a plant that naturally grows around the world, has been found to cut the length and severity of the flu if taken at the first signs of feeling ill due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Keep in mind that elderberry is beneficial in treating the flu, not preventing it.

Taking zinc at the onset of a cold can help reduce its duration and sometimes nip it in the bud and prevent it from becoming a full-blown cold. There are plenty of zinc lozenges out there, but you can also get your zinc fix by eating oysters, crab, whole grains, lean meats, lentils and dark chocolate.

Ginger is widely used to curb upset stomachs and nausea, but its compound gingerol is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and has been said to help relieve headaches as well as flu and cold symptoms by making you sweat. You can steep fresh minced ginger in hot water to make a tea, eat raw ginger or take it in supplements or oils.

Cayenne Pepper
Taking cayenne pepper when you have a cold or the flu can help you breathe better if you have a stuffy nose. Adding cayenne to soup, tea or even a fresh green smoothie will allow its active ingredient, capsaicin, to help thin the built-up mucous in your nasal passages.

Menthol, a main property in mint, can help open up nasal passages. Its cooling essence can soothe a sore throat so drinking an herbal mint tea or adding some fresh mint leaves to a pot of boiling water and breathing that in can be very healing.