How to ease a cold with herbs

Our gardening export on how common culinary herbs can make brilliant medicines

There’s nothing like a long-distance flight to test your immune system – my neighbour spluttered while the row behind hacked and the other side sniffled. Once home, and with the day the right way up, I lost no time in gathering some herbs to keep those germs at bay. The common cold is a beast, I believe, that cannot be tamed – you just have to ride it out – but a choice handful of our common culinary herbs are brilliant medicine. And they are far kinder to you, the environment and your purse than many over-the-counter cold medicines.

Rosemary and sage are classic herbs for colds and sore throats. Both are known for their antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Rosemary is said to stimulate the circulatory system and thus is thought to encourage blood flow to the brain to relieve headaches. I find a steam inhalation of a handful of bruised stems and leaves works wonderfully for blocked sinuses.

Related: How to grow narcissus paperwhite | Alys Fowler

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