It has begun. People around you are sneezing and sniffling. Moans and groans are heard as you pass by an achey soul on the street. Co-workers are drooping over their desks or maybe calling in sick. You may have already had a bout of your own with too many tissues and a desperate longing for bed.

We are entering cold and flu season, when our immunities are challenged, and they don't always win. You can always buy soothing teas, but why not make your own remedy herbal teas and herbal infusions at home? You probably wont have all of these ingredients lying around the house, but they aren't difficult to source. Make plenty to have on hand, then brew up a bit whenever you crave a little comfort in a cup.

For each of these recipes, scale the amounts to make as much bulk tea as you'd like to have on hand, then steep 2 Tablespoons of herbal mix in a tea ball or sachet, for at least 10 minutes in a cup of steaming hot water. Add honey or agave to sweeten, if desired. Breathe in the aromas between sips and hold the warm cup in your palms for the full healing tea experience.

Sage for Sleep

  • 1 part dried sage
  • 1 part dried catnip
  • 1 part peppermint leaf
  • juice of half a lemon
  • honey to taste

Sore Throat Tea

  • 1 part slippery elm
  • 1 part licorice root
  • 1 part marshmallow root
  • 1 part anise
  • 1 part wild cherry

Immunity Boost

  • 2 parts green tea leaves
  • 1 slice fresh ginger root
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • honey to taste

Symptom Buster

  • 2 parts peppermint leaf
  • 2 parts elder flower
  • 1 part elder berry
  • 1 part dried ginger root

Open Respiratory Passages

  • 2 parts Oolong tea
  • 1 part rosemary
  • 1 part chamomile
  • 1 part rose hips

Vitamin C Booster

  • 2 parts hibiscus flowers
  • 2 parts rose hips
  • 1 part lemongrass
  • 1 part dried lemon peel
  • dash of cinnamon

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About The Author

Andrew Mersmann's picture

Andrew is the author of Frommer's global guide to volunteer vacations, "500 Places Where You Can Make a Difference" (Gold Medal Winner from Society of American Travel Writers: Best Guide Book 2010). He spent more than a decade on the editorial team of PASSPORT Magazine. He has volunteered and led teams on service projects around the world, and is honored to be on the boards of directors for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation ( and Mentor Artists Playwrights Project ( Mersmann has been a featured speaker, interview guest, or moderator on several travel talks, from the New York Times Travel Show, Smithsonian Associates, and the 92nd Street Y-TriBeCa to Oprah and Friends, Animal House, and The Focus Group on satellite radio as well as on NY1 television. Past participant at the Clinton Global Initiative and judge for Cond√© Nast World Changers Conference, he blogs about volunteering and service travel at As part of the evox television team, he is dedicated to audience engagement, so if you're not engaged, he needs to be thumped on the head (gently)...or at least told (nicely). Twitter: /ChangeByDoing

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