When down with a cold, a hot cup of tea can go a long way. But it can be hard to take care of ourselves when we feel lousy. Grogginess, grumpiness, and exhaustion can overwhelm our capabilities for self-care. That’s why I often recommend this totally simple (yet very effective) herbal tea that makes use of some readily available kitchen herbs.

Kitchen Cabinet Medicine – Tea blend for a cold 

  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaf
  • 2 teaspoons sage leaf
  • 2 teaspoons fennel seeds – gently broken up in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder

Use high quality, organic herbs. If you’re a cook, you’ll probably have these herbs on hand in your spice rack. Put the herbs into a medium sized tea pot or jar. Pour 2 cups freshly boiled water over the herbs, and cover. Let infuse for 10 – 15 minutes. This tea must be covered while steeping, to preserve the medicinal volatile oils in the plants. Strain and pour into your tea cup.  Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon honey, if desired. Re-steep the herbs with more hot water for another brew. After 2 batches, start again with fresh herbs.



Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): Used in herbal medicine for it’s antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral actions. Being anti-inflammatory, it helps to soothe a sore throat and inflamed tissues, and thyme is traditionally used for bronchitis, whooping cough, asthma, and upper respiratory tract infection and congestion.





Sage (Salvia officinalis): Similar to thyme, sage leaf is antimicrobial against infection, and also anti-inflammatory. It soothes mucous membranes, and particularly brings relief to a sore throat.





Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Soothes a cough, moistens the mucous membranes and loosens congestion, warms the digestive system, and relieves nausea. Fennel also has a soothing taste which can be comforting and relaxing during illness.





Honey: Raw, unpasteurized honey from a quality source is an excellent medicinal aid. Being antimicrobial and antibacterial, raw honey not only sweetens your tea but provides additional support to your immune system as an added benefit.



* Make an overnight infusion – If you are sick today, and know you’ll probably be sick tomorrow, make this tea in a larger quantity as an overnight infusion. In a glass jar, pour 4 cups hot water over 1 tablespoon of each herb (3 tablespoons in total). Cover, and let infuse overnight. This makes a wonderfully rich tea that only needs to be gently reheated (not to boiling point) the next day for drinking. Add honey as desired and drink throughout the day.