This Immune Boosting Herbal Tea Recipe is a wonderful thing to have on hand when you start to feel unwell. Drinking this herbal tea (along with doing some of the other immune-boosting activities mentioned in this article) can help you fight off illnesses and/or help you get better a bit quicker. It is a tasty herbal tea blend which is a combination of citrus and berry flavors, that you will enjoy drinking at any time of the year.
This was the perfect year to hunker down at home and learn in an online herbal school with a curriculum-type-format. And I’ve been having a blast learning about herbs in my online Intermediate Herbal Course from Herbal Academy.
The farther I get in my 2-year herbal course, the more confident I get about herbalism and how to use herbs to create natural remedies and healthy routines in our home. So I’m sure that I’ll be sharing plenty of awesome herbal remedies in the next year or so as I learn more and more in my herbal studies.
Why I’m Preparing a Huge Jar of this Immune Boosting Herbal Tea…
I’ve been using herbs for natural remedies for quite a few years now, and honestly, here’s the scenario that happens every freaking time:
Hubby gets sick….so I prepare homemade sore throat teas, fever teas, immune boosting herbal teas, hot toddies, homemade cough syrups, fermented food, etc. I nurse my hubby back to health with natural/herbal concoctions. I feel proud of my accomplishments.
And then I get sick…and in my feverish and achy state, I cannot remember any of my recipes. I have no energy to get up and prepare my own remedies. My hubby wants to help and asks me what to make and what to do. Since I’m not in a good mental space to help him be able to help me….I end up drinking conventional tea bags and using cough syrup from the grocery store. Who knows how old the tea bags are and if they are even made with good quality ingredients. And that store-bought cough syrup is almost pure sugar…blegh!
But not this year. Nope. This year I am going to be prepared to help BOTH me and my hubby get through the winter and cold/flu season. I am making huge jars of various herbal preparations so that all I have to do is instruct him to pour hot water in a quart jar over 4-6 tbsp. of one of the homemade herbal tea combinations that I have ready to use.
I already feel proud of myself for getting organized and prepared like this. We’ll see how it goes!
When to Take This Immune Boosting Herbal Tea
This immune boosting herbal tea is perfect for taking as soon as you start feeling sick, like when those first aches hit, or when you feel super tired or your throat has started feeling scratchy. However you start to first show symptoms of getting sick with a cold/flu, make this herbal tea recipe to help out.
Herbal teas aren’t as strong as things like herbal tinctures, so it’s best to drink a good amount of the tea throughout the day. For this reason, I prefer making a large pot of herbal tea, so I just have to reheat some of the tea to drink over the entire day. Every few hours, try to drink a small cup of this immune boosting herbal tea.
I used to use a tea pot for making herbal teas, but I’ve found it easier to just pour the hot water over the selected herbs in a wide-mouthed quart jar. But you may still use a tea pot or even make homemade tea bags and store them if that’s easier for you. I purchased these DIY tea bags and they’ve worked great in the past (although I still prefer the mason jar technique).
How to Boost Your Immune Health
I don’t want you to think that herbal tea is some sort of miracle worker that will cure you all by itself. If you want to boost your immune health with natural solutions, then it takes a lot of hard work over a long period of time.
When you start feeling sick, make this herbal tea and also work on the following protocols:
- Eat nutrient-dense foods (skip the processed food and sugar-laden junk)
- Exercise (even light movement like a short walk can help)
- Skip the sugar (yeah, I’m mentioning this twice! It’s important)
- Increase your sleep
- Reduce your stress levels
- Find ways to boost your happiness (dance, laugh, etc.)
If you include this immune boosting herbal tea and these other healthy activities to your life when you start feeling sick, it can really help you get better much more quickly.
And since I live in a culture full of medical warnings and threats to sue, let me quickly add: I am not a doctor, please consult with some medical folks if you are seriously ill, please look up the herbal plants before using and start with small amounts to make sure you don’t have a bad reaction. Please do your own research, please research these herbs before using if pregnant. Etc.
Designing This Immune Boosting Herbal Tea Formula…
From my Intermediate Herbal Academy Course so far, I have already learned a TON about making proper herbal formulations. I also purchased a book called The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide by Thomas Easley and Steven Horne. Both the course and this book have helped me create this immune boosting herbal tea formula.
The basics for creating herbal formulas revolve around two things: herbal formula components and herbal energetics information. The herbal formula components include: key herbs, supporting herbs, balancing herbs, and catalysts (The Modern Herbal Dispenstory, pg. 139-141).
The herbal formula components usually follow a pattern like:
- 1-2 key herbs (the herbs with the primary action you want your formula to have) in this ratio: 8-16 parts per formula
- 2-4 supporting herbs (the herbs that enhance the action of the key herb) in this ratio: 4-8 parts per formula
- 0-3 balancing herbs (the herbs that harmonize the action of the whole formula) in this ratio: 2-4 parts per formula
- 0-2 catalyst herbs (the herbs that make the formula activated and/or work quickly) in this ratio: 1-2 parts per formula
The herbal energetics information revolves around a common belief amongst herbalists and other natural medicine practitioners and non-western medicine approaches that see plants and people in terms of four qualities with the goal of supporting health by nurturing energetic balance between: hot and cold, and dry and damp (learn more about herbal energetics from the Herbal Academy courses and also from herbalist Rosalee de le Foret).
To use herbal energetics information, you would need to learn the energetics of particular herbs and think about how to use them best for each ailment and issue. Sometimes, you want a balancing formula between hot and cold herbs and/or dry and damp herbs. Or, you might emphasize one of those over the other, depending again on the ailment/issue.
Immune Boosting Herbal Tea: Ingredients
Using all that nerdy herbal formula stuff in the section above, I created my herbal tea blend. It’s mainly a ‘cooling and drying’ herbal energetic formula to combat fevers and phlegm issues. It gets kinda complicated with balancing herbal energetics and such, and you can learn more about them from an herbal course or books if you’re interested in learning more about that.
This information was taken from my Herbal Academy course materials, as well as from my herbalist books including: The Modern Herbal Dispensatory by Easley/Horne, Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health by Rosemary Gladstar, and The Herbal Apothecary by J.J. Pursell.
Here’s a closer look at why I chose these particular ingredients.
Looking for a place to purchase dried herbs? I try to support my local herb shop whenever possible for purchasing my herbs, but for the ones she doesn’t carry, I order from Starwest Botanicals. They have a huge selection of culinary and medicinal herbs, so check them out!
Description: Elderberries are a common herb that herbalists grab at the beginning signs of a cold or the flu. It is known for the ability to shorten the duration and severity of cold/flu symptoms.
Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, immune stimulant
Notes: Make my immune-boosting herbal tea even more amazing by adding some homemade elderberry syrup to the tea!
Description: Loaded with vitamin C and slightly astringent, they are helpful for acute symptoms connected to colds/flus. Because
they are cooling, they can help to lower fevers.
Energetics: Cooling and Drying
Herbal Actions: Rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine bioflavonoids, vitamin C
Notes: Try to use cut and sifted dried rosehips if you can. The whole ones will need to be grinded up in a coffee grinder or a few pulses in a food processor, and then you’ll have to take out some of seeds in it, too. The cut and sifted rosehip packages are a lot less messy to use.
Dried Hibiscus (aka Roselle) (calyces/sepals parts)
Description: High in vitamin C and bioflavonoids as well as slightly astringent, which makes it helpful for treating mild colds. It is also a “general preventative against free radical stress in the body” (source).
Energetics: Cooling and Moistening
Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, vitamin C
Dried Lemon Balm (aerial parts)
Description: Lemon balm has an delicious taste that is often added to formulas to improve the flavor by helping disguise the bitterness or strong taste of other herbs in the formula. It also has a calming nature, which can help relax you and possibly lower stress, which is important because high stress levels can be bad for your immune system.
Energetics: Cooling and Drying
Herbal Actions: Antidepressant, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, diaphoretic, nervine
Notes: Learn more about growing and using lemon balm (both for cooking and herbal remedies) in my post: Everything You Need to Know About Lemon Balm.
Dried Astragalus Root
Description: Astragalus is an adaptogen (learn more about adaptogens in my Sleepytime Berries and Cherries post) which is often taken as a long-term tonic all winter long in order to ward off illnesses. It helps strengthen your immune system as well as keep it in balance.
Energetics: Slightly warming and moistening
Herbal Actions: Adaptogen, antioxidant, antiviral, cardiotonic, immunomodulator
Notes: Try to get the packages of cut/chopped astragalus root if you can. Otherwise, get the ones that look like tongue compressors from a doctor’s office and then roughly chop them up yourself with a scissors. This is not the time to use the powdered stuff.
Dried Eleuthero Root
Description: Eleuthero is another adaptogen, so it can be used long-term as a tonic for your general well-being and keeping you healthy. It helps combat fatigue without the negative side-effects like caffeine. It naturally boosts your immune system and also fights fatigue, so it’s a no-brainer for this herbal tea recipe.
Herbal Actions: Adaptogen, antioxidant, immunomodulant
Notes: Don’t get the eleuthero powder, which would not work for tea blends. Get the cut-up eleuthero root herbs instead.
Dried Orange or Lemon Peel
Description: Orange peel is high in vitamin C and can be used to enhance immune function as well as help fight colds/flu symptoms. It is also a great bitter, which makes it wonderful for your digestive system, which can be useful for particular symptoms of illness. Check out my digestive bitters recipe for more on the importance of bitters.
If you’re slightly weird like me, you might find oranges disgusting. I cannot handle even the smell of oranges, let alone the taste of them. So while orange peel is probably the best option for this herbal tea, you can also use lemon peel. One of the reasons orange and/or lemon peel is used in this herbal tea is for flavoring the tea, so keep that in mind, too, when making your choice.
Lemon peel is also wonderful to help fight colds and the flu. The main difference between using orange peel or lemon peel is that orange peel is warming and lemon peel is cooling (for energetic purposes). I tend to run warm, so I’m fine with combating my natural tendencies toward being warm with the coolness of lemon. If you tend to be cold all the time, you might want to stick with the orange peel. Learn more about figuring out the best herbs for your health via energetic information from good herbal sources such as The Herbal Academy or Rosalee de le Foret.
Energetics: Warming and drying (orange peel) OR cooling (lemon peel)
Herbal Actions: Antimicrobial, bitter, nutritive
Notes: You can save money by drying your own lemon and orange peels. Check out this tutorial on drying lemon peels from Brown Thumb Mama for more details.
Dried Ginger Root (Rhizome)
Description: Herbalists use ginger’s antimicrobial activity and ability to thin mucus, as well as its diaphoretic action to sweat out fevers, in order to help the body progress through a cold or the flu. It can also be used to combat nausea.
Energetics: Warming and drying
Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, carminative, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant
Notes: Make sure you use dried ginger for this recipe. You could also probably just leave the dried ginger out and add a few slices of fresh ginger at the time of making the herbal tea if you want. Learn more about the medicinal properties of ginger in this post.
Immune Boosting Herbal Tea Recipe
- 2 parts dried elderberries
- 1 part dried rosehips
- 1 part dried hibiscus
- 1 part dried lemon balm
- 1/2 part dried astragalus root
- 1/4 part dried eleuthero root
- 1/4 part dried orange peel OR dried lemon peel (see above for details)
- 1/4 part of dried ginger root
- Ratio: use 4-6 tbsp. of the herb blend per quart of water.
- Bring water almost to a boil.
- Pour nearly-boiling water over herbs.
- Cover and let it steep for 30 minutes.
- Strain and drink throughout the day.
- Optional: add spoonful of local raw honey or elderberry syrup to your tea for an extra boost.
**Consider making a large batch of this herbal tea blend to use throughout the year. Store it in a glass jar in a cool and dark location, where it will stay good to use for at least 6 months.
**I don’t care for ginger, so I personally made this herbal blend with a bit less than 1/4 part. You can certainly edit this recipe a bit depending on your taste buds.
**Missing one of these ingredients? You can order tons of herbs and spices from Starwest Botanicals.
I hope my immune boosting herbal tea recipe is a blessing for you and your family! Please tell me in the comments below how you prepare for cold/flu season for your household. I love hearing for you all!
More Natural Remedy Tips and Recipes:
- How to Make Goldenrod Honey
- Dandelion Root Herbal Coffee Recipe
- Digestive Bitters Recipe
- Sleepytime Brandied Berries and Cherries
- Nourishing Nursing Mother Tea
- How to Make Elderberry Syrup
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