herbs for a healthy fall season

11 Herbs for a Healthy Fall Season

November 16, 2023

As the leaves change and the weather cools down, our bodies often become more vulnerable to colds, flus, and other illnesses. Fortunately, nature provides us with an array of herbs that can help support our immune systems and alleviate the symptoms of common fall ailments. In this blog post, we will introduce you to 11 herbs that can help keep you healthy this fall. Whether you use them individually or blend them together, these herbs can be crafted into soothing teas, healing syrups, or potent tinctures to nourish and protect your body.

1. Elderberries (Sambucus nigra FRUC)

Elderberries are known for their immune-boosting properties. They are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can help your body ward off illness. Elderberries are especially useful for preventing viral infections as they strengthen cell walls, making them less susceptible to viral attacks.

  • Main traditional uses: Traditionally, elderberries have been used to combat colds and flus, reduce inflammation, and support respiratory health.
  • Pairs well with: Elderberries pair well with ginger and cinnamon for a warming and comforting tea, or combine with echinacea and hyssop to ease cold and flu symptoms.
  • Preparations: Elderberries make a delicious herbal syrup, or consume as a tea or tincture.
  • Contraindications: Raw elderberries can cause digestive upset, nausea, and vomiting.
organic dried elderberries

2. Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra FLOS)

Elderflowers offer a range of health benefits, including respiratory support, immune-boosting antioxidants, and fever reduction. They help you break a fever by opening the pores and encouraging sweating. Elderflowers can also help to tone the mucous membranes in the nose and throat, making those areas more resistant to infection.

  • Main traditional uses: Elderflowers are traditionally used to relieve cold and flu symptoms, reduce fever, and support sinus health.
  • Pairs well with: Elderflowers can be combined with peppermint, yarrow, or hyssop for colds and flus. 
  • Preparations: Elderflowers make a nice tea but can also be consumed as tincture or syrup. 
  • Contraindications: None

3. Chamomile

Chamomile, with its comforting and calming properties, can be a soothing ally during cold and flu season. This herb is known to alleviate symptoms such as upset stomach, congestion, and insomnia, helping you find comfort and relaxation amidst seasonal discomfort. Its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting qualities make chamomile a natural choice for soothing both the body and mind during the chillier months.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Chamomile is commonly used to relax, alleviate anxiety, improve sleep, and relieve digestive issues.
  • Pairs Well With: Chamomile can be blended with lavender and lemon balm for a relaxing herbal tea. Combine with valerian or passionflower to reduce anxiety and encourage sleep.
  • Preparations: Enjoy chamomile in a cup of tea or as a tincture.
  • Contraindications: Asteraceae plant family allergy.
organic dried chamomile

4. Ginger

Ginger's fiery and warming qualities make it a valuable addition to your cold and flu season arsenal. This versatile herb is well-known for its ability to combat nausea, ease digestive discomfort, and reduce inflammation, providing relief from common symptoms of colds and flu. Whether brewed as a comforting tea or included in various remedies, ginger's immune-boosting and soothing properties can help you navigate the challenges of the season more comfortably.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Ginger is used to combat nausea, improve digestion, and relieve cold and flu symptoms.
  • Pairs Well With: Ginger combines well with lemon for a comforting ginger tea, or paired with other immune boosting herbs like echinacea or astragalus to add extra warmth.
  • Preparations: Ginger makes a delicious, warming tea and blends well with other herbs in a tincture. 
  • Contraindications: Avoid with gallstones, use with caution if you take blood-thinning medications, have ulcers, or acid reflux.
organic dried ginger root

5. Echinacea

Echinacea is a go-to herb for during the colder seasons, thanks to its exceptional immune-boosting properties. It's traditionally used to prevent and alleviate colds and respiratory infections, providing a natural shield against seasonal illnesses. Incorporating echinacea into your routine can help fortify your immune system, making it easier to fend off common cold and flu viruses.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Echinacea is a go-to herb for cold and flu prevention and immune system support.
  • Pairs Well With: Combine echinacea with thyme and cleavers during acute infections or with elderberry to prevent colds and flus.
  • Preparations: Echinacea is commonly consumed as a tea or tincture.
  • Contraindications: Asteraceae plant family allergy. Consult a healthcare professional if you have autoimmune diseases, are undergoing chemotherapy, or are taking immunosuppressant drugs.
organic dried echinacea root

6. Catnip

Catnip is not just for feline friends, this herb is known for its potential to alleviate symptoms such as congestion and coughing, acting as a mild expectorant. Additionally, catnip possesses anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that contribute to overall respiratory health, making it a supportive remedy during the cold and flu season.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Catnip is used to calm nerves, promote relaxation, and soothe digestive discomfort.
  • Pairs Well With: Catnip can be paired with chamomile and lemon balm for a gentle, relaxing tea. Pair with elderflowers and yarrow during active colds. 
  • Preparations: Catnip makes a delicious tea or tincture.
  • Contraindications: Pregnancy.
organic dried catnip

7. Holy Basil

Holy basil, or Tulsi, is beneficial during cold and flu season due to its immune-boosting properties. This herb is rich in antioxidants and exhibits anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, which can help the body combat infections and reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Consuming holy basil can support overall respiratory health and enhance the body's resilience during the winter months.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Holy Basil is used to combat stress, support mental clarity, and enhance the body's resilience to various stressors.
  • Pairs Well With: Combine Holy Basil with ginger and honey for a revitalizing tea.
  • Preparations: Enjoy Holy Basil as a tea, syrup, or tincture to manage stress.
  • Contraindications: Holy Basil is generally safe, but consult a healthcare professional if you are pregnant or nursing.
organic dried holy basil

8. Cleavers

Cleavers are known for their diuretic and lymphatic support properties. They have a mild, fresh taste, are anti-inflammatory and are used to address respiratory issues, including coughs. The lymphatic properties allow them to help clear mucus from the sinuses, throat and lungs.

  • Main Traditional Uses: Cleavers help with lymphatic drainage, skin health, and urinary issues.
  • Pairs Well With: Cleavers can be blended with dandelion and nettle for a detoxifying tea.
  • Preparations: Make a cleavers tea or a tincture to benefit from its unique properties.
  • Contraindications: Cleavers are generally safe, but consult a healthcare professional if you have kidney issues.
dried organic cleavers

9. Marshmallow Leaf

Marshmallow leaf is not just a tasty treat but also a soothing herb for the respiratory and digestive systems. The soft mucilage of this herb makes it a great choice for sore throats, or dry coughs. 

  • Main Traditional Uses: Marshmallow leaf is used to relieve coughs, soothe irritated mucous membranes, and support digestive health.
  • Pairs Well With: Combine marshmallow leaf with peppermint and licorice for a soothing tea.
  • Preparations: Marshmallow leaf can be enjoyed as a tea, syrup, or tincture for its gentle benefits.
  • Contraindications: Marshmallow leaf is generally safe, but consult a healthcare professional if you are pregnant or nursing.
organic marshmallow leaf

10. Licorice

Licorice has a sweet and earthy flavor and is known for its soothing properties. Not only is it anti-viral, helping combat colds and flus, but it is anti-inflammatory and can help loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory or intestinal tract. 

  • Main Traditional Uses: Licorice is used to relieve coughs, support adrenal health, and soothe digestive discomfort.
  • Pairs Well With: Licorice can be combined with ginger and marshmallow leaf for a comforting tea.
  • Preparations: Sip on licorice tea, use it in syrup, or make a licorice tincture for its benefits.
  • Contraindications: Avoid excessive consumption if you have high blood pressure.
organic licorice

11. Yarrow

Yarrow, a time-honored remedy, offers a multitude of benefits to help fortify your immune system. It is commonly used during flus to bring down fevers by promoting sweating. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and soothing to the respiratory tract. 

  • Main traditional uses: Yarrow is used to support immune health, manage fevers and promote wound healing. 
  • Pairs well with: Ginger to induce sweating during fever, and echinacea and elderberry during cold or flu season. 
  • Preparations: Drink yarrow tea, use it in a tincture, or topically in an oil, cream or poultice. 
  • Contraindications: Asteraceae plant family allergy. Consult a healthcare professional if you are pregnant or nursing.
dried yarrow

Apotheka is your destination for accessing the benefits of the 11 featured herbs for a healthy Fall season. We offer a curated selection of these herbs in tincture and/or dried form for crafting nourishing teas. For personalized guidance on selecting the right herbs for your needs during cold and flu season, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Call or email, and our knowledgeable staff can help make individualized suggestions for you based on your current needs, so you can get through the challenges of the colder months with resilience. 


Written by Leah Schmutter

Medical Herbalist


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