Next time your down and out with a cold or flu, head to your local grocery store to pick up some of these herbs to boost your immune system naturally. Here are some of the best herbs that have healing properties and an affinity towards enhancing the body’s ability to cope with common illnesses, such as viral colds, flus, sinus congestion, and much more. Even if you find yourself needing some extra support in the form of antibiotics or other conventional medical interventions, these plant based medicines can still work wonders in speeding up your body’s ability to heal itself. 


Freshly ground, cinnamon, can be easily added to food such as oatmeal or cereals and beverages including hot teas or smoothies. Cinnamon is antiviral and antimicrobial in nature, it can reduce fevers, and helps with generalized body aches and pains that commonly occur when we aren’t feeling well. Ingested cinnamon is indicated for upper respiratory tract infections. 

Shitake mushrooms

Native to Japan and China, shitake mushrooms have both antiviral and antibacterial properties making them an ideal herb for individuals suffering from colds, influenza, and with lowered immune systems due to cancer. Fresh mushrooms can be easily added to stir fry dishes, soups, or baked meals. 


Onions are antibacterial in nature, they can be used internally and externally for many common infections. Consuming cooked onions in the diet can help with coughs and sore throat, however a warm onion can also be applied topically to the ears to help with otitis media, more commonly known as a middle ear infection. 


The herbal properties of garlic have been researched for years with numerous studies concluding that garlic is antimicrobial, antibacterial, & antifungal. Garlic can be used internally to treat cough, mucus, ear infections, hoarseness, and yeast infections. Externally garlic can be applied in a carrier oil to treat skin infections such as ringworm, and ear infections (ear oil). 


One of the most common and popular treatments used to treat a variety of concerns ranging from nausea to respiratory concerns such as coughs. Ginger is a warming stimulant tonic, fresh or powdered ginger can be infused in a tea as needed to boost the immune system. 


Native to India and Sri Lanka, cardamom seeds and fruit are used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory conditions including asthma and bronchitis. 


Plants have been used by many cultures throughout time for their medicinal or healing properties. Naturopathic doctors spend several years learning about the herbal and healing properties of botanical plants. Herbal medicines can be found in a variety of forms including fresh plants, teas or infusions, tinctures or liquid extracts, and tablets or capsules. 

To learn more about the healing power of plants check in with your local naturopathic doctor. Not only do herbs/plants treat coughs, colds, flus; they have been used to treat so many other conditions such as poor digestion, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, fatigue, allergies, headaches/migraines, and much more. Questions? Head to to ask Dr. Kate ND.

About the Author

Dr. Kate Klein is a licensed naturopathic doctor and clinic director at Your Health Collective, an integrative wellness clinic located in the heart of Ajax. Dr. Klein and her team offer services including, naturopathic medicine, holistic nutrition, acupuncture, osteopathy, and psychotherapy to patients of all ages. Practitioners at Your Health Collective provide a collaborative approach to patient care through a variety of natural treatments and solutions for health concerns ranging from disordered sleep, allergies, fertility, headaches, digestive concerns, and much more. We believe that health is more than just the absence of disease; health is when we function at our best through proper nutrition, exercise, a balanced lifestyle, positive emotions, thoughts and actions. For more information about Dr. Klein, naturopathic medicine, or our clinic please visit: