What tea is good for a cold? 10 Teas to Fight the Flu

Nov 20, 2019
Winter is the most festive season of the year. Nevertheless, it’s also a season when all festivities might come into a second plan if you end up with a bad cold or a flu. Taking good care of yourself during cold months and early spring, increasing physical activities and choosing right foods may help boost immunity and prevent catching a cold. Not only can viruses spread more easily in cooler and dryer months than in summer, the food we ingest plays an important role too. Fewer vitamins, less sun, less nutrient-dense food and spending time in crowded places all make it easy to fall under the weather.

10 Teas to Fight the Flu

Hot tea is often the first choice for home treatment of sore throat, fever and cough. However, some herbal and real teas might offer more benefits in dealing with common cold or flu. Both are caused by hundreds of different viruses, show similar symptoms. Unlike the common cold, flu is often associated with other aches and pains and high fever. Here are the 10 best teas that may help in preventing, soothing and treating the cold or flu symptoms.

1. Iceland moss tea

One of the best teas for sore throat is Iceland moss. It's a bitter, but effective infusion of lichen found in northern countries. As sore throat is one of the first symptoms of common cold, it's often the most unpleasant one. Iceland moss contains mucilage that may help soothe a sore throat offering an instant relief[1].

2. Chamomile tea

Both hot chamomile tea infusion and inhaling the hot steam with chamomile extract[2] may be helpful in dealing with respiratory problems. Moreover, studies showed that chamomile tea has an antibacterial properties and may help in treating infections related to common cold[3].

3. Ginger tea

For hundreds of years ginger has been used as a natural home remedy for many health conditions[4]. Together with honey and lemon, this antioxidant rich infusion may help relieve the symptoms and provide protection against flu and cold viruses. You can make ginger tea by boiling fresh ginger, and adding both honey and lemon after letting it cool for a few minutes.

4. Peppermint tea

Fresh, sharp and delicious, peppermint tea is not only easy to make, it's easy to grow too. Menthol in peppermint tea works as a decongestant and may offer relief from cough. It may help “loosen and bring up mucus from the lungs,[5]” making it easier to breathe.

5. Rooibos tea

The best benefits of African red bush herbal tea include its anti-viral, anti inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Among other great benefits, studies showed that rooibos may help in inhibiting type A and B flu viruses[6] . This tea has a lightly sweet, earthy flavor that blends well with other condiments. It’s suitable for all age groups as it contains no caffeine, thus often considered a great substitute for real tea.

6. Echinacea tea

Echinacea may be helpful in treating upper respiratory tract infections, including those caused by flu and common cold viruses[7][8]. It’s popular as a home remedy for treating cough and other symptoms of flu in the early stages of infection, and for boosting immune system. Studies have showed that echinacea hot drinks may be suitable for self-treatments, with very little adverse side effects[9].

7. Licorice root tea

Although there is a saying that all healthy teas are bitter, licorice is an exception. Research showed that licorice root may help fighting type A flu viruses, including bird flu[10]. Type A and B viruses are known to cause seasonal infections and may pose an epidemic danger[11]. Although potentially effective for flu, licorice root may not be as effective in dealing with a common cold.

8. Guava tea

Guava tea may help prevent the growth of type A flu[12]. This tea may be helpful in inhibiting the viruses in their initial stage of infection, and preventing epidemic, rapid spread of flu[13].

9. Green tea

Green tea may boost immune system and help keeping common cold and flu at bay. A randomized controlled trial in Japan showed that catechins and theanine in green tea may be effective in preventing flu[14]. However, to benefit from green tea, one occasional cup might not be enough as the trial lasted for 5 full months. A good substitute is white tea, rich in catechins as well.

10. Elderberry tea

Elderberry is a flowering plant is used for making delicious tea and fruit syrups packed with benefits. Among others, is may help relieve the symptoms of flu and cold. One study showed it may be helpful in reducing the duration of symptoms for 4 days[15]. As an additional benefit, elderberry may be effective in treating herpes simplex too, often triggered by a common cold.


Cherry "T", fruit tea with elderberry

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9213408 [2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/ [3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/ [4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/ [5] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265214.php [6] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317749166_Antiviral_activity_of_aspalathus_linearis_against_human_influenza_virus [7] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1934578X1701200432 [8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871211/ [9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4528044/ [10] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871211/ [11] https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/influenza-(seasonal) [12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871211/ [13] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22453134 [14] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3049752/ [15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15080016

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