5 Must-Have Herbs for Winter Illness

With cold and flu season officially upon us, many have started stocking the medicine cabinet with various OTC pills in preparation for when illness inevitably strikes – but believe it or not, sometimes the best remedies can be found in our kitchen! Rather than purchasing expensive pills from your local pharmacy, go with herbal remedies – the natural, effective, and cheaper alternative to traditional medicine.

I’m sharing Dr. Christopher Hobbs’ 5 must-have herbs to beat winter illness:

1. Chamomile – Traditionally revered for easing digestive woes, this herb also soothes muscle cramps, headaches, body aches, and pains associated with the flu. The key to success is to use the freshest herb possible, whether fresh or in dried form.

Suggestion: Make 1 quart of the infusion at a time by adding freshly boiled water to 2 to 4 ounces of the dried flowering tops. Drink 1 cup at a time, three to five times daily.

2. Echinacea – This powerful herb triggers your immune response and helps reduce the severity and duration of unpleasant cold and flu symptoms

Suggestion: Make a team from the fresh, or recently dried, chopped root, flowers and/or leaves and drink 1 cup two to five times daily.

3. Elder – Historically known for prevention and treatment of the cold and flu, this herb also has potent antiviral properties which make it effective in easing and reducing duration of fevers

Suggestion: Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 tbsp. of fresh or dried elder blossoms, infuse for 10 minutes, and strain. Take 1 to 2 cups of the infusion two or three times daily, or as needed, to induce sweating, promote cleansing, and reduce heat.

4. Fennel – This herb is used worldwide to help ease the symptoms of bronchitis, coughs, and muscular pains

Suggestion: Make the tea by simmering 1 tsp. of the seeds for each cup of water for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for another 20 minutes before straining the seeds. Drink 1 cup before meals as needed.

5. Honeysuckle – An herb used in traditional Chinese medicine for relief of upper respiratory tract infections, fevers, bronchitis, and sore throat

Suggestion: Make a strong infusion by steeping the flowers for up to 30 minutes, and drink ½ to 1 cup twice daily, or as often as desired.

Dr. Christopher Hobbs, is an internationally renowned herbalist, licensed acupuncturist and botanist, has been formulating market leading natural supplements exclusively for Rainbow Light® since 1985. With more than 35 years of clinical experience in herbal medicine, Hobbs has authored 25 books, including Herbal Remedies for Dummies and Women’s Herbs, Women’s Health. He shares his knowledge of herbal medicine with consumers and educators all over the world through lectures, and utilized his expertise in this field to found the Institute for Natural Products Research. He also serves as a consultant to the herb industry.


  1. Amy Orvin says:

    I have never heard of Fennel. I need to try it though because I have muscle aches and pains right now.

  2. Julie Wood says:

    I use Chamomile all the time to relax. I did not know that it can help with all these other ailments. I like using herbs to help me because it is a natural substance!

  3. Herbs are the way to go. I am partial to echinacea and garlic as well! And black elderberry extract!
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  4. Nicole Dz says:

    I always have Chamomile on hand, but another one is gloves! They help me when I have a sore itchy throat.

  5. Never heard of the chamomile before, I would love to try because love the benefits.

  6. I like to drink tea with Echinacea to support my immune system

  7. I knew about Chamomile but haven’t heard of the others. Thanks for the information!

  8. James Robert says:

    I have heard about the Echinacea before but didn’t know the rest. Very interesting!

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