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Natural Tea Recipes for Preventing and Healing Winter Colds

Settle in to watch the snow fall with a warm cup of elderberry tea.

Imagine: it's a cold winter's night.

You're in your warmest sweater, buried in blankets, watching the snow fall while sipping elderberry lemon tea. This could be you.

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It's cold and flu season, which means you're probably going to be stuck at home sniffling soon enough. While nothing makes up for rest, time, and Emergen-C, there are some natural home remedies you can use to ease your cold and get yourself back to full energy levels STAT.

These teas are great all year round, but here at Trueself we hope they help you find a little warmth in the heart of cold season.

1. Citrus

The moment you feel that pesky cold coming on, stock up on citrus fruits and try to ingest as much vitamin C as possible. Oranges, limes, grapefruits, and lemons are all great choices. You can squeeze lemon into a cup of tea, along with honey and any of the following ingredients, to ingest all its benefits in a sweet and comforting form.

2. Honey

The bees' finest product is also amazing at fighting off colds and coughs, as it has the ability to destroy bacteria and viruses. Try putting a spoonful of honey into any hot mixture to ease a sore throat or other illness.

3. Elderberries

The syrup made from these purplish berries has long been used as a folk remedy for the common cold. Scientifically, elderberries are powerful antioxidants, and they can help strengthen your immune system and can even block viruses—so this is a great option even if you're not already sick. Try putting some elderberry syrup into your tea for a quick cold fix.

To make elderberry syrup, you'll need ⅔ of a cup of elderberries, 2 tablespoons of grated ginger, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of ground garlic cloves, and 1 cup of raw honey. Chop up the elderberries, ginger, and cinnamon, and boil them together in a saucepan. Let them simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, then remove them from the heat. Mash the berries up into a paste, pour the mixture through a strainer, and let it cool. Finally, add the honey, stir, and pour into a glass. You can keep it in your fridge and pour it into your tea a few times a day.

4. Echinacea

Echinacea is a powerful remedy for any sore throat or irritation, and it's also quite effective at preventing colds. You can buy echinacea syrup to put in tea, or just purchase a box of echinacea tea. This can also help you regain your voice if you've lost it, and it can lower anxiety and control blood sugar.

5. Zinc

If you're looking to live longer, you can actually add zinc to your tea or coffee, or try eating it alongside chocolate for added benefits. Zinc can reduce oxidative stress, which is believed to have a role in the aging process. To reap its healing qualities, you can take zinc supplements or look for zinc-heavy teas or foods that contain dandelion, cayenne, fennel seeds, rose hips, chamomile, nettle, skullcap, milk thistle, or wild yam, among others.

6. Salt

Putting a pinch of salt in a cup of hot water could be all you need to take the edge off of a bad cold. While you might not want to add salt to a mixture of more delicious ingredients, its presence will only help your health. Salt can be helpful with respiratory tract infections and other ailments, so try mixing a teaspoon of any saline solution into lukewarm water and gargling with it for a few seconds to maximize its benefits.

7. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is more than just a holiday decoration or a hot cocoa topping: It actually has powerful antifungal properties and can fight against urinary tract infections, reduce menstrual cramps, and more. Try placing some cinnamon sticks in your cup of hot tea, and enjoy, or grind them up into a powder and use a tea strainer to let the hot water absorb their benefits.

8. Elecampane

Elecampane is a root that was used for healing in ancient Greek and Roman times. Today, we know it contains a high amount of inulin, which can promote digestive health and general vitality. It can also soothe irritation from coughing and congestion. To make elecampane tea, just boil the root in water for 20 minutes, then add honey or elderberry syrup or other ingredients as needed.

9. Ginger

Ginger is a powerful antioxidant, which can reduce inflammation and congestion. To make ginger tea, slice up a ginger root into quarter-sized pieces and place them into a pot of boiling water; let them sit and simmer for 20 minutes, then mix in honey and lemon and enjoy.

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10. Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and it works great in flu-fighting teas. You can put some turmeric in hot water and boil the mixture (then strain it into a cup), or make a honey-tumeric paste to add to your evening brew. To make the paste, you'll need ⅓ cup of honey, 2 ½ teaspoons of dried turmeric, lemon, and black pepper. First, mash the turmeric and the honey together until it forms a paste, then place a spoonful of the paste at the bottom of a cup when you're ready to make the tea. Pour in the boiling water, add a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of black pepper, and let the healing begin.

11. Steam

While you're making your tea, make sure to breathe deep. Steam and humidity can ease congestion and relieve irritated nasal passages (just make sure you have some tissues on hand).

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