Herbal cold remedies won’t cure a cold but they can help alleviate many symptoms. Here is one of my favorite cold remedies: an herbal steam for nasal congestion.
This simple remedy can help alleviate congestion or other cold symptoms. Boil water, and add the hot water to a small or medium sized bowl. Add either a couple tablespoons of the suggested herbs or 1-3 drops of essential oils. Cover your head with a large towel, and hold your head over the herbal steam (the towel will help trap and focus the steam). Close your eyes and steam for at least 10 minutes, and breathe in the vapors. Make sure your face isn’t too close to the hot water: keep your face at least 10-12 inches away from the surface of the water. If you have really sensitive skin, steam for only a couple minutes at a time and take breaks from steaming (not recommended for people with thread veins or really sensitive skin, and people with some medical conditions). A couple of good herbs to use are Peppermint or Lavender. Suggested essential oils include: Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Lemon, or Lavender.
An added benefit: steaming not only will help your congestion, it will also help clear your pores, and your skin will look great afterwards! I recommend doing an herbal steam (for nasal congestion) once a day during the duration of the cold, at least 3-4 days or more in a row. (However if you are steaming for facial care benefits, steam only one to a few times a month).
If you can’t use an herbal steam (if you have thread veins, very sensitive skin, etc), then try adding some of the suggested essential oils to an essential oil diffuser, and diffuse in the air for at least ½ an hour each day you have a cold. Or add a few drops of essential oils to a vial of salt, or 1-2 drops to a cotton ball or a tissue so you sniff the essential oils throughout the day.
Please research herbs and essential oils before use on children, elders, during pregnancy, if using conventional medicine, or if you have other medical conditions (including asthma). Consult with a medical doctor who is familiar with contra-indications of conventional medicine with herbs/plants, as well as a well-qualified herbalist or an aromatherapist who has a background in health issues, before use.
About The Author:
Li Wong has a B.A. in Environmental Studies (Biology) and a M.S. in Environmental Science and Policy. She has been crafting natural cosmetics and studying aromatherapy and herbalism since 2001, and is currently a student of Jeanne Rose’s Aromatherapy Studies Course. Environmental interests include conservation, botany, ethnobotany (uses of plants by indigenous peoples), mammals, organic standards in cosmetics, urban wildlife issues, environmental education and awareness, and public perception. She is the owner of Earth Alkemie, an all natural, vegetarian skin care and mineral makeup company.