I woke up with a headcold this morning. Not sure how as I haven’t physically been near anybody new since 25 March. I believe your body knows exactly what it needs to do to heal itself. My job is to work with my body and connect it with the herbs it’s looking for right now. Here are my favourite herbs that can help when you have a headcold.

You’ve got to meet your body where it’s at. So the immediate priority is herbs that work best for my unique constitution and life circumstance and that also address my prevailing symptoms of congestion in the ears and behind the eyes, and a stuffy nose. I also want to encourage my body to heat up to create as inhospitable an environment as possible. Lastly, add in some antivirals. Headcolds aren’t bacterial infections, although if not appropriately taken care of they can progress to a bacterial infection. Here’s my top picks.

Elderflower and Elderberry

They come from the same tree but arrive at different times of the life cycle. Different times bring forward different combinations of plant chemicals (phytochemicals).

Elderflower (Sambucus nigra flos and fructus)

This is my ‘I’ve got a cold’ go to when I’m feeling congested. The berries are antiviral and traditonally used for coughs and colds. The flowers reduce congestion and are diaphoretic. This means they heat your body up and encourage you to sweat.


fresh ginger root
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

The first thing I did this morning was blitz up a large rhizome of ginger in some water in my nutribullet. I added lemon, thyme, and greater mullein to a half a mug of the ginger water and topped up with boiling water. I’m drinking this throughout the day. Ginger heats you up and is antiviral. If you only had one herb in your kitchen, go with ginger.

Greater Mullein

Great or Common Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

This is the herb when you have that cotton wool feeling inside of your head. The leaves and flowers are traditionally used for coughs and when feeling congested. It makes a great tea.


English Marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Known better as an anti-inflammatory and skin healing herb, calendula is antiseptic and the resins are antiviral. The resins are the sticky parts left on your fingers when you touch the petals. Calendula is a great detoxifying herb that gently supports the liver and moves things along. I include it for its ability to heal skin surfaces such as nasal passages and to help move toxins through the body. It also delights the eye when included in your herbal tea. And we all need a bit of delight, especially when nursing a headcold!

So these four are my go to herbs that can help when you have a headcold. Together they make a fabulous tea. If you want to know how to create a tea that tastes great and is good for you, check out my online course, the secret art of creating tasty herbal tea. I’m lifting the lid and sharing the tasty tea formula so you can make herbal teas that are not only good for you but also enjoyable!