Try a herbal tea to help fight viruses

With the onset of winter comes the inevitable onslaught of ills and chills.

GO HERBAL: Herbal teas can help combat cold and influenza viruses.

GO HERBAL: Herbal teas can help combat cold and influenza viruses.

Most of these viral attacks, which involve coughs, fever, muscular aches and pains, tiredness, and exhaustion, are labelled of colds and 'flu.

Treatment needs to be immediate so as to raise immunity levels as well as combatting the virus.

An influenza herbal tea of equal parts dried peppermint, elder flower, yarrow and licorice root will help to alleviate the miseries of cold, fever, influenza and bronchial congestion.

You can buy the dried herbs from most health food stores or online from places like the Mudbrick Herb Cottage (

Reduce the dried licorice root to a powder using a blender or coffee grinder and mix equally with the other herbs.

Store your herbal tea mixture in an airtight glass jar in a dark cupboard away from sunlight.

To make your influenza tea put one teaspoon of the dried herb mixture in a ceramic mug, add boiling water, cover with a saucer and infuse for 10 minutes. Strain, reheat, sweeten with honey if desired, and drink as hot as possible three to four times daily.

This herbal tea is palatable without the addition of honey since the combination of the four herbs gives it a delicious flavour.

If you are plagued by a nagging cough, try the following decongestant.

Chop up half a dozen garlic cloves and slice an onion into rings. Spread the ingredients on a small shallow oven-proof or microwave-oven tray (do not use metal or aluminium, since both these materials can unfavourably react with the ingredients), and cover thickly with honey.

Seal the tray tightly with plastic cling-film, place carefully inside a plastic bag, seal the open end, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Strain the mixture into a sterilised glass jar, pushing down on the garlic and onion with the back of a spoon until the honey stops dripping. You will find that the honey has lost considerable viscosity and runs freely.

Take a teaspoon of the mixture every two to three hours or whenever needed. When a sore throat persists, mix two tablespoons of honey with the juice of half a lemon and take a teaspoon every hour or so.

For a persistent cough, take a teaspoon of the mixture every 15 minutes.

To help combat airborne nasties in the home blend one millilitre each of lavender, rosemary and peppermint essential oils with 10 millilitres of methylated spirits. Add this to a pump-spray bottle containing half-a-litre of distilled water. Shake well and use as a fine mist throughout the house three or four times a day.

A drop each of the same oils on a handkerchief makes an ideal portable inhalant for easing a stuffy nose when at work or out-and-about.