For centuries, various cultures have turned to tea to treat and soothe the symptoms of the common cold. Any tea can provide some relief–studies show that drinking any hot beverage and inhaling the vapors can decrease nasal congestion. However, certain teas or tea ingredients have properties that are more effective at treating your cold. Or at least they can help you feel a little less miserable.
Any tea can help to treat your cold symptoms if you add honey to it. According to several studies, honey can effectively reduce upper respiratory symptoms, including a cough and sore throat. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control recommend honey as a cough reliever for adults and children aged one year or older.
Need some ideas for honey tea? Here's some of our favorite recipes.
For colds that come with an upset stomach, ginger tea can help. Studies of ginger show that it can be an effective treatment for all kinds of digestive discomfort, even nausea and vomiting. Researchers have also found that ginger may have antiviral and antibacterial properties, and appears to stop the reproduction of a virus. (Unfortunately, there is no evidence at the moment that ginger has any effect against COVID-19.)
Want to try ginger tea? Here are a few of our favorite blends:
If your cold has brought along a nasty cough, peppermint tea is a good choice. Studies suggest that the menthol in peppermint can work as a natural cough suppressant, which is why it is sometimes an ingredient in cough drops. One study also found that when someone inhales the steam from peppermint tea, the menthol improves their self-reported air flow and sinus congestion.
Want to try peppermint tea? Here are a few of our favorites:
Although it hasn’t been researched as much as other types of tea, elderberry tea shows promise as a preventative and treatment for the common cold. In a study of airline passengers, those who consumed elderberry extract were less likely to get a cold than those who took a placebo. Their colds were significantly shorter, and they rated their symptoms much lower than the control group. The researchers say that more extensive testing is needed, but that elderberry shows a lot of promise.
Want to try elderberry tea? Here are a few of our favorites:
Like elderberry tea, echinacea tea is well-suited for cold prevention. Research supports echinacea’s benefits for decreasing the odds of developing a cold when exposed, as well as reducing the duration of the cold. So if you’re frequently exposed to people with colds, or if you just seem to catch them regularly, elderberry or echinacea may be a good addition to your regular tea drinking.
Want to try echinacea tea? Here's one of our favorites:
Studies have found that long term tea-drinking can help to boost the body’s defenses against infection. One experiment found that white blood cells of tea drinkers were five times faster at responding to germs than those of coffee drinkers. They traced the result back to L-theanine, a prominent amino acid in black and green tea. It should be noted that the participants in this study drank five cups of black tea per day. Hey, we don’t know about you, but we’ll take any excuse to drink more tea.
Want to try black tea? Here are a few of our favorites:
About Sips by: We’re a female-founded and led startup that makes discovering tea fun, personalized, and affordable. The Sips by Box is the only multi-brand, personalized tea subscription box. Each month, we match tea drinkers across the U.S. with delicious teas from over 150 global tea brands that we’re sure they’ll love. Based out of Austin, Texas, we are adept at savoring a hot mug even when it’s seasonally inappropriate.