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My grandmother’s best herbal tea for cold

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This homemade tea for cold helps gently soothe cough and sore throat while hydrating the body. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants this tea cold remedy is also safe for children.

My grandmother was a herbalist who knew every herb in the neighborhood and knew where and when they grow. She also planted a beautiful tea garden and her little house smelled of herbs as she often mixed homemade tea blends. Certain things I never forget like how she used rosemary rinse on her hair and made excellent syrup and jam with rosehips or rhubarb.

Once I came to visit her with cold and flu and she made me a delicious linden tea but to my surprise, she put onions in it. My grandmother used onions and garlic in almost everything.  She packed the linen sack full of herbs for me to use later with advice not to forget to add onion to the mixture.

So I thought to share the recipe with you.

herbal blend to make cough tea

DIY tea blends to the Rescue

DIY tea blends can be gentle and yet powerful.  Be aware that they are not a quick fix. They work slowly over time to fortify your body with vitamins and other nutrients and change the way you feel physically and emotionally.

DIY tea blends have various medicinal benefits and possibilities to enhance your wellbeing. 

Made of four herbs and one secret ingredient, this homemade tea for cold contains mucilages that coat inflamed throats and help relieve the pain. This tea cold remedy helps also to boost the immune system and inflammation and eases dry cough.

Herbs in homemade tea for cold

Linden (Tilia cordata)

Has been used to ease colds and infections and induce sweating. It contains mucilages that can create a protective coating on the mucous membranes of the airways and thus reduce the irritation of a dry cough. Just tea made of linden blossoms is very effective cough remedy.

linden is important herb to fight cough

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Its leaves contain essential oils that may help ease a cough. Packed with vitamin C and A and minerals, thyme may boost your immune system and help fight the cold (1)

thyme is part of herbal blend for cough

Calendula – Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)

Known to relieve inflammatory conditions, calendula helps shift lingering infections, soothe sore throats, laryngitis, tonsillitis and coughs.

Marjoram (Origanum majorana)

this common cooking spice marjoram has been used to ease colds, dry coughs, or swollen noses since ancient times. There is not sufficient clinical evidence to know how marjoram might work. Make sure you distinguish between Marjoram and Oregano.

Onion for cold

The secret ingredient in this best herbal tea for cold is onion

Hard to imagine cooking without onion. It is an irreplaceable ingredient in some signature and ordinary dishes. Besides cooking, the onion possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties and may help ease upper respiratory inflammation. It also contains vitamins A, B2, and C and many valuable minerals such as iron, potassium, or calcium.  Onion belongs to the allium vegetable family such as garlic, leeks or chives

Onion in tea alleviates nasal congestion and ease breathing difficulties due to congestion in the chest. In addition, onion also helps to reduce fever and ease the pain of cough

This herbal tea for flu would not be completed without adding onion to the DIY tea blends.

Herbal tea for flu

First Step:

Peel and slice one onion.

Second step:

Gather dried linden flowers, calendula, thyme and marjoram and mix them well in a jar. You can also store the dried mixture for later.

herbal blend to ease cough

Third step:

Place half of a cut-up onion and 1 handful of dried flower mixture in a teapot and slowly add boiling water. 

process of making homemade cough tea

Fourth step:

Cap the teapot and let it steep for 10 min

Fifth step:

Strain the infusion through a fine sieve, squeeze out all the liquid 

Sixth step:

Serve with honey and drink it three times a day.

easy steps to make herbal tea to ease dry cough

Other herbs that can ease cold and flu

If you enjoy creating your own herbal blends check these tips from experts on how to use and grow your own herbs.


Ginger is another option in case you suffer from dry or asthmatic cough. It possesses anti-inflammatory properties and may also relieve nausea and pain. (2), Just add 30 g of fresh ginger to 1 cup of hot water, add honey and lemon and you will get a delicious hot drink that will soothe your cough.


Marshmallow root has been used in ancient times to treat cough and sore throat. It contains mucilage that coats the throat and eases irritation. (3)

herbal infusion for cough

Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

Plantain like thyme or marshmallow contains mucilage that improves mucus viscosity and promotes expectoration. This plantain syrup is a perfect natural expectorant.

Plantain is frequently used in the treatment of a catarrh infection, cold, runny nose as well as respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, dry cough, or asthma (4)

Elderflowers (Sambucus nigra)

Elderflowers, as well as linden, contain flavonoids that have an anti-inflammatory effect and prevent bacteria from entering the cells of the airway mucosa and spreading the infection. This homemade cough syrup with elderflowers and linden is tasty and very effective cough remedy.

grandmother's tea blend for cough

Pine, Anise and Eucalyptus

They contain essential oils that increase the production of mucus in the bronchi and improve mucus expectoration and ease a cough. This pine needle tea makes a perfect homemade tea for cold.

Primrose (Flos primulae) or in the liquorice root (Radix liquiritieae)

These contain substances called saponins that irritate mucosal surfaces and increase bronchial secretion. They are therefore suitable to ease productive or chest cough rather than the dry one. 

which herbs to use for cough tea

Herbal tea for flu benefits

1. Boosts Immunity:

The combination of linden, thyme, marjoram, and onion makes a potent tea cold remedy that encourages your immune system and helps your body fight against cold and flu. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants, this cough tea possesses antiviral properties similar to  Echinacea tea.

2. Ease the cough

This homemade tea for cold contains mucilages and flavonoids that reduce the irritation of a dry  cough and ease its symptoms

3. Sore throat

Thanks to the natural antibiotic power of onion this herbal tea for flu may help you ease viral or bacterial infections and promote healing of sore throat. Similarly also works sage tea.

tasty herbal tea for cough
How to make herbal tea from fresh herbs?

While dried herbs make the herbal infusion more potent, fresh herbs add more aroma. You can use both depending on your preferences. I used fresh thyme which gave this tea cold remedy a pleasant pungent and warming aroma.

To make a cup of tea from fresh herbs, bruise the leaves or flowers with a mortar and pestle. A typical dosage is one tablespoon of fresh herbs for one cup of potent herbal tea. pour hot water over them and allow the leaves to steep for five minutes. Longer you steep it the deeper flavor and stronger herbal tea you will get.

How often to drink this herbal tea to ease cold and flu?

A typical dosage is one cup of this homemade tea for cold three times a day for a period of six weeks with a 1-week break in between (after 3 weeks). 
For children: reduce the cup size to half

What does this cough tea taste like? 

While the taste and smell of linden, thyme, calendula, and marjoram is really pleasant, the taste of fresh onion is strong and nasty that some people might have difficulties drinking, especially children. So if you are using herbal tea for flu for children add some sweetener like honey. Also start with a smaller quantity of onion for kids and increase if they like it.

What is your favorite herbal tea?

Yield: 4 cups

My grandmother's best herbal tea for cough

herbal blend to make cough tea

This homemade herbal tea reduces the irritation of a dry cough, eases the symptoms of sore throat and boosts the immunity. Packed with vitamins and antioxidants this herbal tea blend is also safe for children.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes


  1. Peel and slice one onion.
  2. Gather dried linden flowers, calendula, thyme and marjoram and mix them well in a jar. You can also store the dried mixture for later.
  3. Place half of a cut-up onion and 1 handful of dried flower mixture in a teapot and slowly add boiling water. 
  4. Cap the teapot and let it steep for 10 min
  5. Strain the infusion through a fine sieve, squeeze out all the liquid 
  6. Serve with honey and drink it three times a day.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 56Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 12mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 7gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

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Vladka Merva on February 23rd, 2020

3 Comments on “My grandmother’s best herbal tea for cold”

  1. I have just jarred all my dry ingredients for this wonderful tea in prep for cold season just around the corner!
    thank you for this recipe

  2. This is a wonderful article. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Two things I would suggest would be too make the linden tea as a cold infusion for 8 to 12 hours as the mucilage elements are extracted as the colder temperature and take longer to extract. I often make this up ahead of time, strain and keep in fridge for a few days when a cold or flu starts. I make a big batch and then add a portion of this concentrated infusion warmed up and added to the rest. The same goes for mallow or marshmallow roots.

    You mentioned licorice root which is great for coughs and it often adds a sweetness on it’s own. You could also add hibiscus, rosehip, dried lemon or orange peel and cinnamon for there therapeutic effects, high vit c and wonderful flavors.

    • Thank you Kate for the idea to infuse the linden tea the day before. I do the same with rosehips. It makes a much stronger and darker infusion.


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