Sage Tea for Colds

You know the cold season drill: No matter what you do, someone in the family ends up with the sniffles, a head cold or the flu. Although this can be serious in the very young, immune challenged, elderly or those with other medical conditions, often it's just an uncomfortable nuisance. There's also that nagging worry that a loved one will be sick over the holidays (which is so disappointing), or that a simple cold will turn into something worse, like sinusitis or pneumonia.

Cold Busting Wisdom the Granny Way

If you're struggling with the cough, stuffy nose and the general discomfort of a cold or the flu, a cup of herbal tea will make you feel better -- temporarily at least. Many common herbs (thyme, lavender, rosemary, sage and others)  have antiseptic and antibacterial properties, too, which can help your body fight the good fight to get you back on your feet.

When added to ingredients like honey and lemon, herbs can give an upper respiratory infection a one-two punch that will dial back a sore throat, cough, runny nose and itchy eyes.

The bad news is the viruses just have to run their course. The good news is that the right herbal tea will give you a respite and make you feel pampered -- just like when you were a kid. Here's a simple recipe for a sage based tea that will reduce nasal congestion, fight infection, curb the sniffles and may boost the immune system, too.

Sage Cold and Flu Tea

  • 2 teaspoons dry or rubbed sage (or about 6 fresh sage leaves)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
  • A couple of pinches cayenne pepper (this is optional, but it does help break up congestion)
  • 1 tablespoon honey (or to taste)

Directions for Sage Tea

  1. Add sage to a large mug.
  2. Pour 1 cup boiling water (a rolling boil, please) into the cup and let steep for 10 minutes.
  3. Strain.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  5. Reheat. (The tea should be served steaming hot.)

Using Sage in Medicinal Preparations

It's prudent to throw in a disclaimer here since I will probably be posting other tea recipes in the next couple of weeks: Herbs seem pretty harmless. You can grow them in your garden and snip them into recipes without a problem, so how dangerous can they be? Right?

Common herbal remedies do have the potential to cause problems in certain circumstances, though, so it's always a good idea to have a chat with your physician (or healer) before using any herb for medicinal purposes.

This is especially true if you plan to use an herb or spice regularly for an extended period of time, have a preexisting medical condition, are pregnant or nursing, or are currently taking other medications. You should always consult a physician before treating young children with herbal preparations or over-the-counter medications.

In the case of sage: It is contraindicated if you are currently taking diabetes, anticonvulsant or sedative medications. For more specifics about drug interactions involving sage, the WebMD Sage page (yes, there is one) has useful information you'll want to review: Sage Interactions 

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