Aren't colds just the absolute worst?
Every year, millions of Americans get the common cold. In fact, most adults get at least two or three colds annually. (1)
Since colds are so, well, common, people often write off their symptoms or try to push through.
While there's no miracle cure to get over your illness faster, the best teas for a cold can help soothe symptoms and give your immune system a little help.
What are the Best Teas for a Cold?
Some teas have intense antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and even antiviral properties.
Of course, it takes time for a cold to run its course but the compounds in certain teas can help your immune system fight the cold virus and reduce inflammation to help you feel better.
Keep in mind that inflammation is your body's natural way of fighting illness so removing inflammation entirely isn't the best solution to fight flu symptoms. Instead, aim to reduce it a bit so you don't feel totally awful.
1. Green Tea
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols and antioxidants that might help strengthen your immune system.
EGCG, one of the most abundant antioxidants in green tea, might act as an antibacterial and antiviral to help you overcome flu symptoms. (2)
Enjoy a cup of green tea with some lemon for extra vitamin C or fresh ginger.
2. Hibiscus Tea
Hibiscus herbal tea doesn't get enough attention for its potential health benefits from the high concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C.
Studies show that hibiscus tea can potentially reduce free radicals by up to 92%. (3)
3. Black Tea
People forget good old black tea is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols.
Not only that, but a cup of black tea has a decent amount of caffeine and the amino acid l-theanine so it can help you feel a little alert yet relaxed while you try to recover.
4. Echinacea Tea
Echinacea is a medicinal plant found throughout North America and parts of Europe and it's one of the best teas for a cold.
Studies show that echinacea has anti-inflammatory properties which can be exceptionally helpful when you're managing a fever and body aches. (4)
Plus, studies also show that this unique herb might reduce the duration of flu symptoms and even possibly prevent you from developing a cold in the first place. (5)
5. Elderberry Tea
Elderflower, berries, and tea are all loaded with antioxidants — 3.5 higher concentrations of antioxidants than vitamin E. (6)
One study found the antioxidants in elderberry, like anthocyanins, are more effective than those in almost all other berries. (7)
Research shows elderberry tea might support the immune system and could help reduce your cold or flu symptoms. (8)
6. Licorice Root Tea
Most people reach for a cup of hot tea made from licorice root for gut and liver health.
However, studies also suggest that a cup of tea made with licorice root might soothe painful bronchial symptoms like excess phlegm, coughing, and congestion. (9)
7. Mushroom Tea
Medicinal mushroom extract should be a staple in every pantry during flu season because it makes one of the best teas for a cold.
Mushrooms like turkey tail, lion's mane, chaga, and reishi are some of the best plant-based sources of antioxidants on the planet.
Plus, they also contain unique substances called beta-glucans that might help balance your immune system and fight disease.
8. Lemongrass Tea
Lemongrass makes a great cup of tea when you're not feeling 100%.
First, lemongrass has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
It also provides several disease-fighting antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and swertiajaponin.
Finally, the substances that give lemongrass its potent flavor are said to provide anti-inflammatory properties which might help you feel less achy. (10)
9. Peppermint Tea
Is there anything better than inhaling menthol and minty scents when you're congested?
Peppermint tea blends are perfect for soothing your nasal passages and throat.
Add a little honey and lemon for extra throat soothers.
10. Chamomile Tea
Research shows that chamomile tea might improve a sore throat, reduce upset stomach, and support a healthy immune system. (11)
When you're not feeling great, a cup of tea with chamomile can help you get a good night's sleep so your body can hopefully heal itself faster. (12)
11. Ginger Tea
Drinking tea made from ginger, whether dried or fresh, may help support your immune system.
As a bonus, studies also show ginger tea might reduce inflammation of all kinds, like menstrual cramps, headaches, and body aches, so it's one of the best teas for a cold. (13)
Other Home Remedies for a Cold
Most colds are the result of a virus, so antibiotics aren't an option.
Sadly, you have to just sit back and let the cold run its course.
Beyond drinking the best teas for a cold, consider some of these other home remedies to push through. (14)
- Drink plenty of water.
- Let yourself be lazy. Sleep it off.
- Run a vaporizer or humidifier with menthol essential oils like camphor or eucalyptus.
- Take some over the counter anti-inflammatories to reduce aches like Motrin.
The Bottom Line on the Best Teas for a Cold
The best teas for a cold won't make you feel like a million bucks overnight, but they might help improve your symptoms a bit.
There's nothing worse than having to call out of work or cancel activities you love due to a stinky cold.
Allow your body the time it needs to rest and fend off the illness.