A lot of people have asked us for cold and flu tea recommendations and after doing some research and experimenting, we found a few answers. Some teas are better than others, but the important thing is how to brew the tea. By making a few adjustments to your tea preparation, you can make the best tea for cold and flu right in your very own home! We thought we'd write this short article to explain how.
Top 11 Tisanes and Teas for Cold and Flu
Tisanes and teas are often confused. Just so we have a clear definition of terms, to be considered a true tea, it has to come from the camelia sinensis plant. If it comes from another plant like peppermint or chamomile, it can not be considered a tea but rather than a tisane. So when we are exploring the best tea for cold and flu, we are also looking for the best tisanes as well. We may occasionally use the term “tea” to refer to these tisanes as these are the terms people are most familiar with.
Peppermint can be a cold and flu time tea (tisane). The peppermint leaf contains menthol, which is often used for relieving cold and flu symptoms.
This is because menthol has a cooling and soothing effect, so using this tea for cold and flu can help reduce some of the symptoms like sore throat, inflammation or congestion.
Chamomile is another good cold and flu tea (even though it is technically not a tea). Chamomile has been known to help induce sleep, which is your secret weapon in the war against the cold and flu. The benefits of this cold and flu time tea extend beyond just helping you sleep, chamomile can also reduce the creation of mucus and therefore congestion. The herbal infusion also has strong antimicrobial qualities and according to a study in Germany, it was shown to kill 2 dangerous strains of bacteria, streptocaucus and staphylococcus.
Echinacea can also be a good tea for cold and flu. Echinacea is a flowering plant that grows in the U.S and Canada and it can be helpful in your fight against the cold and flu. Although it has been shown to only have a slight benefit when it comes to reduce cold symptoms, it has been shown to increase white blood cell count which can help fight off infections.
Ginger can also be a good cold and flu time tea. Although this root is not technically a tea, it has been used for hundreds of years in food and medicine. Ginger is often touted for reducing nausea and digestive issues, which can often accompany a cold or flu. This tisane can be a major part of your cold treatment routine, and it can taste great when mixed with lemon.
Elderberry can also be a good cold and flu tea because it is rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins. Vitamin C is widely used to help with the cold and flu, and anthocyanins are the compound that give blueberries their color. Elderberry is often used to reduce congestion and aid breathing, and can even be used for bronchitis.
When it comes to the best tea for cold and flu, you still can’t beat good old fashioned green tea! There are a few things to look for here.
We recommend you go for an unshaded sencha like the sencha isagawa as these will be packed with the most cold and flu fighting power.
When it comes to limiting your caffeine consumption, which is also important when you are sick, you should go for a tea like hojicha. This is a warming tea and can be a nice soothing cold and flu time tea because it doesn’t contain much caffeine so you can drink it throughout the day. Sometimes it is just nice to have a warming drink throughout the day when you have a cold.
Another cold and flu time tea worth looking into is bancha. Bancha is another low caffeine tea and it is often used to help with digestion.
Sometimes the more standard cold and flu symptoms can be accompanied by indigestion, so this may be a good tea to keep handy. This tea is high in minerals and it tastes great!
Another thing we are looking for when it comes to the best tea for cold and flu is the content of vitamin C. Although hibiscus is not a true type of tea, it can be tasty and loaded with vitamin C. Anyone who has ever had a flu knows that vitamin c can be helpful, and hibiscus is a great way to get it!
Nettle and Elder Tea
Another useful cold and flu tea is nettle and elder tea. As we mentioned before, polyphenols are great for you if you are battling a cold, and this herbal infusion is a good way to get them.
Of course these tisanes will not be as delicious as high polyphenol green tea, but if you have some around the house you might as well use it!
Slippery Elm Tea
This cold and flu tea is interesting because it is actually made from the bark of the elm tree.
Because it is not a true tea it doesn’t contain caffeine, but it can be used to help support a healthy immune system which can be key when it comes to fighting the cold or flu.
Licorice Root Tea
Another good cold and flu tea is licorice root. This is not a true tea, but it is often used as a sweetener in different types of tea blends.
The tisane can be used to reduce the buildup of phlegm and help to reduce overall cold and flu symptoms. The drink has also been used to treat adrenal fatigue, so it can be helpful if you are simply feeling “worn out”.
Marshmallow Root Tea
Marshmallow root tea is another good cold and flu time tea.
It contains a substance called mucilage, which can coat the inside the throat and help to reduce the pain of a sore throat.
This is one of the worst parts of having a cold, so this can be a great tisane to help.
Lemon tea is one of the classic cold and flu time tea and for good reason. Not only is it delicious, but it is also packed with vitamin C that can help reduce some of your cold and flu symptoms. Try this tea out yourself or mix in some lemon juice with some of the other teas and tisanes on this list for an extra flu fighting punch!
What is the Best Tea for Cold and Flu
When you are sick, one of the most important things you want to be drinking is actually a tea that is high in polyphenols. A high polyphenol tea will be the best tea for cold and flu. These polyphenols are the bitter components of the tea that can help with a sore throat. To extract these, you will need to follow three basic steps:
- Use a Sencha, or other tea that is high in polyphenols
- Steep the tea at a temperature of 95 degrees Celsius
- Let the leaves steep for up to 2 minutes and then enjoy the best tea for cold and flu!
How to make homemade teas cold and flu remedy
A lot of these tisanes like peppermint and echinacea can grow quite well in europe and north america, but if you really want to get the best tea for cold and flu, you should prepare a high polyphenol green tea as mentioned early. Of course none of these teas have to be used exclusively, you can drink tisanes alongside teas as much as you want. This may actually come with benefits because all true teas contain caffeine, so you may want to limit yourself to a few cups of green tea per day. If you like to drink a hot beverage throughout the day, you can then always reach for some chamomile, ginger or whatever else you want!
How Tea Helps Fight Off Colds
When we talk about a cold and flu tea, we are talking about a tea that does 2 things. The first is that it has antimicrobial properties that can fight the cold itself, and the second is that it can help to reduce the symptoms. Ideally the best tea for cold and flu would do both, but either way can be helpful.
Some of the symptoms of cold and flu can include congestion, inflammation, fatigue and trouble sleeping. A lot of the teas and tisanes on this list either help to manage one or multiple of these symptoms, and for that reason they can be helpful.
When is the Cold and Flu Time Tea
Usually the late fall and winter are the worst for cold and flu. These are the times when we are confined indoors and our immune systems are weakened from the cold. Luckily the cold weather is the perfect time to drink cold and flu tea! Pour yourself a nice warm cup and wait out the flu in the comfort of your home.
When to see a doctor
There is only so much that a cold and flu tea can do. If your symptoms continue to get worse, or they extend beyond the normal cold and flu symptoms, you may want to see a doctor.
The bottom line
While none of these cold and flu teas are a silver bullet to fix all of your problems, they can help you on the path to recovery. When you are struggling with the cold or flu, you need all the help you can get, especially if that help comes in the form of a delicious mug of tea!