Stay Healthy with 5 Essential Herbs

These botanical remedies can fortify your immune system to help you fend off illness when winter hits.

By Emily Main

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It seems that every year, the flu season is projected to be a real monster. Federal flu trackers note the virus start circulating earlier than it has in the past, paving the way for a season of full of fevers, sneezing, and sniffling. Luckily, you can tame the beast by building up your immune system for pennies per serving using affordable herbs. On the flipside, if a virus does strike, these herbal heroes can also help take the edge off.

Scientific studies have found the following five to be particularly effective at fighting the diseases. They can be brewed as herbal teas or taken in supplement form.

Thyme is used as an expectorant for coughsThyme
Keep a supply of thyme essential oil or dried thyme on hand in the event that you fall ill with either the flu or with a common cold. Thyme has long been known as an expectorant, which makes coughs more productive (that is, it helps clear out your lungs faster so you feel better sooner). You can brew a thyme herbal tea by steeping 2 teaspoons fresh thyme in a cup of boiling-hot water for 10 minutes. Or make a thyme steam bath: Toss either a handful of dried thyme or a few drops of thyme essential oil into a bowl of hot water and lean over the bowl, covering both your head and the bowl with a towel. Inhaling the steam will help loosen mucus in your chest.

 
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