Home Grown Medicine: 10 Common Medicinal Plants I Use As A Natural Cold Remedy

Last night a cold settled on my chest – that heavy congested feeling really slows me down. The first thing I did this morning was head to my garden to gather some healing medicinal plants and make a tea. I also raided my pot of local raw honey and store of turmeric and ginger roots (luckily I hadn’t planted all of them out already).

I brew up a delicious tea from these things and sip it throughout the day.  I find it helps so much.

Today’s ingredients: Raw Turmeric, Raw Ginger, Lemon Myrtle, Sacred Basil, Lemon and Raw Honey

I put the leaves and roots all in together for a gentle simmer (not the honey).

After about 15 minutes, I strain this into my jar (a coffee filter fits perfectly!!)

I like to use these jars because I can put a lid on it and come back later.

I stir in a spoonful of raw honey when the temperature has cooled little. Heating raw honey destroys many of it’s wonderful properties.



I grab a lemon (sometimes a lime) – the juice can lessen the strength of a cold and reduce phlegm. Lemon water also helps to soothe my sore throat with it’s antibacterial property.

Lemon Myrtle 

I pluck of a few new lemon myrtle leaves. Lemon Myrtle is also used to treat allergies, colds and sore throats.

Sacred Basil / Tulsi

I love my Tulsi plants – I have many now throughout the garden. I snap off a few stems with nice young leaves. Along with curing viral, bacterial and fungal infections of the respiratory system, it helps relieve congestion because it contains Camphene, Eugenol and Cineole in its essential oils.  Tulsi is also helpful for asthma.


Ginger helps so much with colds, coughs and relieving respiratory problems. Ginger also creates a good sweat to help the body get rid of the cold.


Turmeric is a superb natural cold and cough remedy with its antibacterial and anti-viral qualities.  The anti-inflammatory action of its active ingredient, curcumin, helps to relieve chest congestion

Raw honey

After the tea has cooled a little, I stir in a spoonful of local raw honey from the forest up the end of this valley – the taste is amazing!! Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties and is great for all types of infections. Raw honey is also an expectorant and an anti-inflammatory and can help to treat bronchitis and asthma. It’s antibiotic properties treat colds and sore throats – just what I need!

I often just mix a teaspoon of this honey with finely chopped turmeric (could use good quality turmeric powder) and slowly swallow this – it helps so much to soothe and irritated throat and coughing fits.

Tomorrow I will try another brew and add these things too:

Orange peel 

Orange peel is full of vitamins C and A and is a natural antioxidant that helps to fight off germs and viruses. Drinking orange peel helps heal the infection and has an instant soothing effect.

Lemon Balm / Melissa

Lemon Balm tea has anti-viral properties and is great to drink when you’re feeling under the weather.  A hot lemon balm tea brings on a sweat which is good for relieving colds, flus and fevers. 


Peppermint contains menthol which relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract and helps you to breathe freely. It’s also a great decongestant. 


Thyme is another great herb to use in a cough and cold remedy and it also acts to clear the lungs of congestion.


Oregano is wonderful for healing coughs and colds, treating bronchitis, easing asthma attacks and soothing a sore throat.

What is your favourite garden remedy?
There are so so many useful medicinal plants – many common in our gardens. Please share your favourite cold remedies from your garden.

One Response

  1. Maria Reyes
    Maria Reyes at |

    Hi Morag I really enjoyed your mini film about permaculture. I lived in Ontario, Canada and hoping I can grow some of your recommended plants. Thank yiu so much!