“Health: Discover 10 Teas with Potential to Ward off Your Cold”
Adults typically experience an average of two to three colds per year, while children tend to have even more. Common cold symptoms include sneezing, a runny and stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, watery eyes, and post-nasal drip.
Drinking tea or other warm liquids is a helpful remedy for cold symptoms. It can provide hydration, relieve congestion, and soothe a sore throat. In this article, we will explore the 10 best teas for a cold and discuss why they are beneficial.
If you are feeling nauseous, peppermint tea is an excellent choice. Research has shown that peppermint is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting, particularly for individuals undergoing chemotherapy. Registered dietitian nutritionist Alyssa Smolen recommends peppermint tea for gastrointestinal symptoms, as it helps alleviate nausea.
Peppermint tea may also act as an expectorant by clearing mucus from the airways. Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Krutika Nanavati explains that the oils in peppermint tea not only alleviate congestion but also soothe a sore throat. Additionally, preliminary research suggests that peppermint tea may have antiviral and antioxidant properties.
Lemon tea is rich in vitamin C, which can be beneficial during cold and flu season. While vitamin C cannot prevent colds, it may help reduce their duration and severity. It is important to regularly consume adequate amounts of vitamin C for potential benefits. However, taking vitamin C after already contracting a cold does not improve symptoms. To boost your vitamin C intake, you can enjoy lemon tea or add lemon to your favorite tea. Lemon pairs particularly well with ginger tea or green tea.
Chamomile tea has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is still relied upon for its relaxation properties. Though research on chamomile’s benefits is limited, some studies suggest that it can help reduce anxiety and soothe an upset stomach. Additionally, a 2019 review found that chamomile may improve sleep quality for those without insomnia. An older study also indicated that inhaling steam with chamomile extract can ease cold symptoms. While chamomile tea may not directly alleviate specific cold symptoms, it could potentially improve sleep quality and act as a soothing liquid for a sore throat.
Echinacea is a flower native to North America and is often touted for its immune-boosting benefits. It can be found in various preparations, including tea. Research on echinacea’s efficacy is mixed, but some studies have found benefits related to the common cold and flu. Echinacea may reduce the risk of catching a cold, so it is best consumed throughout the cold season rather than waiting until you are already sick. However, it does not appear to shorten the duration of a cold. One study with nearly 500 participants found that echinacea tea was effective at reducing complications and adverse events from the flu virus.
While more research is needed, echinacea may help prevent colds or alleviate symptoms. It is generally safe for most adults, with digestive symptoms being the most common side effects.
Ginger is known for its plant nutrients called gingerols, along with other compounds like quercetin and zingerone. It is often used to relieve digestive symptoms, including nausea. Research supports ginger’s effectiveness in alleviating nausea caused by various medications or medical procedures. In China and Africa, ginger has long been used to ease cold symptoms and congestion associated with colds and bronchitis. Although there is limited research on ginger’s impact on cold symptoms, a 2020 study found that ginger was as effective as the medication loratadine in treating allergic rhinitis, particularly improving nasal symptoms. So, if you are experiencing nausea or nasal symptoms, ginger may provide relief.
Green tea has an earthy flavor and may be beneficial for colds and the flu. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis found that the catechins in green tea effectively prevent flu infections. Each cup of green tea contains approximately 150 milligrams of these antioxidant phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. Consuming 1-5 cups of green tea per day is considered ideal for flu prevention. Green tea also contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that Tara Tomaino, a registered dietitian, describes as excellent for sipping throughout the cold and flu season. However, it is important to consume caffeine in moderation, as green tea contains approximately 30-50 milligrams of caffeine per cup. Caffeine can act as a diuretic, so it is crucial to stay hydrated with water during a cold, as proper hydration supports mucous membrane health and the body’s defense against viruses, according to Nanavati.
Elderberry supplements and teas are often marketed for their cold and flu benefits, but the scientific evidence is mixed. Some studies suggest that elderberry may relieve cold and flu symptoms. For example, a 2016 study found that air travelers who took elderberry extract experienced shorter and milder colds compared to those who took a placebo. Elderberry’s anthocyanin and flavonoid content, which possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-modulating properties, are likely responsible for these benefits. A systematic review from 2021 also indicated that elderberry could help treat viral respiratory illnesses such as colds and the flu, reducing their duration and severity. However, elderberry does not appear to prevent the development of a cold. More research is needed to confirm and better understand elderberry’s impact on the common cold and flu.
Ginseng, a herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine, has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including respiratory disorders. Research findings on ginseng’s effectiveness in preventing and treating cold and flu infections have been mixed. While a couple of studies have found it to be ineffective, two others have shown that ginseng extract can reduce the duration, severity, and frequency of upper respiratory tract and flu infections. As short-term use of ginseng is generally considered safe for most individuals, caution should be exercised for people with diabetes due to its potential impact on blood sugar levels. It can also interact with certain medications, so it is advisable to consult a doctor before consuming ginseng.
Although not commonly associated with treating the common cold, guava tea is worth considering. Made from guava leaves, it is packed with vitamin C, which supports immune health. Guava leaves are also rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and quercetin, further promoting immune health. Test tube studies have suggested that guava tea can help control the spread of flu infections, but human studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Licorice root is a widely used ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, often found in lozenges to relieve sore throat after surgery. Modern research has demonstrated that licorice contains flavonoids and triterpenoids with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties. The main active ingredient, glycyrrhizin, may help prevent and treat the flu virus. Licorice root may also provide relief from digestive symptoms.
When preparing tea for a cold, it is advisable to make it at home or purchase freshly steeped tea. Premade teas from stores, especially iced teas, often contain added sugars that can increase inflammation, which is not ideal when the body is already fighting an infection. To prepare tea at home, boil water and steep the tea for 3-5 minutes, following the package instructions for optimal steeping time based on the tea type. Adding honey to your tea can help alleviate coughing, according to the CDC.
Hot tea can effectively alleviate congestion and soothe a sore throat during a cold. Ginger tea, peppermint tea, and licorice root tea may help relieve digestive symptoms. Elderberry tea, guava tea, and lemon tea can support immune health. Adding lemon and honey to any tea can provide additional benefits for immune health and help suppress coughing.
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