• Rachael Bentley

Natural remedies for coughs and colds

Before you reach for tablets, why not try these herbal healers?



I’ve been knocked off my feet by the flu, the real, I can’t get out of bed, rubbish flu. But after plenty of rest, I’ve added some natural healers to the mix, to help shift the remaining cough and cold symptoms.



A spoonful of honey

Honey is fantastic for easing irritating coughs and has been said to work more effectively than many cough mixtures. I like the organic honey with the comb in it. Not only is honey naturally antibacterial but it coats your throat, soothing the tickle; perfect before bedtime.



Hot honey and lemon

Pour hot water onto the juice of half a lemon and added a squeeze of runny honey, to make a comforting drink. It’s good for all coughs and colds, naturally being high in vitamin C, which supports the immune system. Don’t use the honey with the comb for this one, as the wax comb will melt and float to the surface, ruining the drink.



Elderflower tea

Elderflowers make a fresh, light and floral tea, that actually tastes nice. As well as being good if you have a cold or sinus problems, dried elder flowers are great for reducing mucus and catarrh. You’ll need a teapot for loose tea as it allows the flowers to steep before drinking. As well as helping to fight phlegm, elderflower can also reduce a temperature.



Tea Thyme

A few springs of fresh thyme, straight from the garden and bruised in a pestle and mortar can be popped into your teapot with boiling water. It's a great remedy if you’ve had a bad hacking cough, sore throat, or bronchitis. It used to be called the ‘whooping cough herb’.


Thyme is an acquired taste – but it is also antiseptic, antibacterial and it has antiviral properties. It can be gargled or drunk as a tonic. This tisane works as a respitory relaxant and lessens the urge to cough – so it’s best used for non productive coughs (these shouldn’t be surpressed, as you want to cough out any mucus). Thyme also encourages sweating, which can help fight a fever.


I’ve always been fascinated by old herb-lore and am happy to try these traditional remedies on myself – but use with care, as some herbal remedies can affect medication and they aren’t suitable for everyone.