8 Winter Herbal Teas To Sip When It’s Cold Outside

8 Winter Herbal Teas To Sip When It’s Cold Outside

We know we have to eat a variety of plants for adequate vitamin and mineral intake, and winter herbal teas help check the boxes during the cold season. There are so many amazing blends that provide numerous health benefits.

Herbal teas are made with the dried leaves, seeds, flowers, and roots of plants. Their components are biologically active—meaning they provide powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Used by traditional medicine practitioners globally, herbal teas are growing in popularity. The herbal tea market size is supposed to grow by over six percent between 2021 and 2026. Some factors that may be contributing to the increased interest in herbal teas include their ability to benefit female health, reduce heart disease and cancer risk, among other pros. Or it may be the simplicity of natural medicine in a cup.


Experts In This Article

  • Erin Stokes, ND, naturopathic doctor and the medical director of MegaFood, based out of Colorado
  • Laura Rubin9, Clinical herbalist and holistic gut health coach

Regardless, adding tea to your routine is a wonderful way to enhance your day. I teamed up with a couple of herbal medicine specialists to make a list of herbal teas for winter.

St. John’s Wort

Because of its potent active compound, hypericin, St. John’s Wort has been used for years to ward off depression. It’s has been found to have comparable results1 to antidepressants (SSRIs) when treating mild-to-moderate depression, with notably fewer side effects.

St. John’s Wort has a slightly bitter taste that you may grow to love. Personally, adding a bit of honey to sweeten my cup does the trick.

Rosemary

Clinical herbalist and holistic gut health coach Laura Rubin says one of her favorite teas for winter is rosemary.“It’s an amazing anti-inflammatory and anti-viral herb that’s soothing and warming,” she shares. “It’s also great for memory4 and cognition3 and helps our bodies’ immunity5.”

One small study6 found that those who consumed rosemary tea for only 10 days had improved levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein involved in nerve cell growth and survival (read: greater memory and learning capacity).

A quick squeeze of lemon can help enhance the flavor of rosemary tea, which has a distinct woodsy taste.

Ginger

This herb is naturally warming and soothing, according to naturopathic doctor Erin Stokes, medical director of MegaFood. This is why it’s one of her favorite winter herbal teas.

What’s more, ginger tea is effectively used as a natural remedy for nausea7. “It can also help to settle an upset stomach,” Stokes says. Plus, ginger has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, heart protective, and nerve protective activities. It’s also been found to have cancer-fighting properties and improve insulin sensitivity8.

Stokes suggests either using an organic ginger tea bag or to grate fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. “I like to add lemon and a touch of honey,” she says.

Nettle leaf

Rubin recommends this highly-nutritive herb because it is rich in vitamins and minerals—“even more so than kale,” she says. Stinging nettle contains a phytochemical called phylloxanthobilin that has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Meanwhile, other plant compounds, like carotenoids and flavonoids, make nettle a valuable herbal medicine to promote immunity and disease protection.

Nettle leaves are great to add to tea or in a soup broth, according to Rubin. You can add mint or citrus to improve its grassy flavor.

Matcha

Another herbal tea on Stokes’ “must-have” winter drinks list is matcha, a high-quality Japanese green tea that is ground into a powdered form. “I love the calm, yet focused, effect of drinking a matcha latte, which is very different from consuming a cup of coffee,” she says. “In addition to having less caffeine than coffee, matcha contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown in studies to promote a healthy stress response and improve focus,” she says.

Matcha is also loaded with catechins, plant compounds that neutralize free radical damage (which is connected to disease and aging). Our immune systems are constantly working to fight infection and our bodies have subsequent free radical damage. Matcha to the rescue.

Chamomile

Chamomile is an ancient herb that has been well studied and appreciated. New to tea-drinking? It’s mild flavor makes it a nice starter tea. “This soothing digestive aid is calming to our nervous system and helps bring about a more cheerful state,” Rubin says. “It helps promote calm and ease and is even pet-friendly.”

It’s not just a mood-booster, though. Chamomile contains a compound called α-Bisabolol that’s responsible for its major health-promoting benefits, including protection agains cancer, heart disease, microbes, and more.

Goldenrod

Goldenrod (Solidago) is prized for its anti-inflammatory effects, and it is also astringent and a good carminative (it helps break down gas), according to Rubin. “This means it can help support healthy digestive flow,” she says. “It’s also anticattarhal, so it can support the body to break up mucus and can offer relief for respiratory conditions, which may be experienced during cold and flu season.”

Keep in mind: “Goldenrod is in the Asteraceae family, and people with sunflower allergies/sensitivities should avoid or use caution,” Rubin says. “It can also have strong diuretic effects so folks with impaired kidneys or liver function ion should particularly consult with their doctor or a trained medical expert first before taking.”

Echinacea

 

My kids know that if they complain of a sore throat or cold symptoms, they’re getting a cup of echinacea tea. That’s because echinacea is one herb (among several) found to improve immune response. It may also reduce the severity and duration of other respiratory infections.

That said, Rubin warns, “Echinacea is an herb that is recommended to be taken for a short period of time, typically no more than eight weeks. This is because it has such strong immune-modulating effects that it could hyper-stimulate people’s immune systems, such as those with auto-immune conditions, or impact people with liver issues.”

As with all herbs, Rubin says it’s important to consult a doctor or trained medical expert when considering if it’s right for you.


Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.

  1. Cui, Yong-Hua, and Yi Zheng. “A meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of St John’s wort extract in depression therapy in comparison with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in adults.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment vol. 12 1715-23. 11 Jul. 2016, doi:10.2147/NDT.S106752
  2. Zhao, Xin et al. “The efficacy and safety of St. John’s wort extract in depression therapy compared to SSRIs in adults: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.” Advances in clinical and experimental medicine : official organ Wroclaw Medical Universityvol. 32,2 (2023): 151-161. doi:10.17219/acem/152942
  3. Moss, Mark et al. “Acute ingestion of rosemary water: Evidence of cognitive and cerebrovascular effects in healthy adults.” Journal of psychopharmacology (Oxford, England) vol. 32,12 (2018): 1319-1329. doi:10.1177/0269881118798339
  4. Nematolahi, Pouya et al. “Effects of Rosmarinus officinalis L. on memory performance, anxiety, depression, and sleep quality in university students: A randomized clinical trial.” Complementary therapies in clinical practice vol. 30 (2018): 24-28. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2017.11.004
  5. Ahmed, Hiwa M, and Muhammed Babakir-Mina. “Investigation of rosemary herbal extracts (Rosmarinus officinalis) and their potential effects on immunity.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 34,8 (2020): 1829-1837. doi:10.1002/ptr.6648
  6. Achour, Mariem et al. “Rosemary Tea Consumption Alters Peripheral Anxiety and Depression Biomarkers: A Pilot Study in Limited Healthy Volunteers.” Journal of the American Nutrition Association vol. 41,3 (2022): 240-249. doi:10.1080/07315724.2021.1873871
  7. Gala, Devanshi et al. “Dietary strategies for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting: A systematic review.” Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) vol. 41,10 (2022): 2147-2155. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2022.08.003
  8. Mao, Qian-Qian et al. “Bioactive Compounds and Bioactivities of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe).” Foods (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 8,6 185. 30 May. 2019, doi:10.3390/foods8060185
  9. Boozari, Motahareh, and Hossein Hosseinzadeh. “Natural products for COVID-19 prevention and treatment regarding to previous coronavirus infections and novel studies.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 35,2 (2021): 864-876. doi:10.1002/ptr.6873
  10. Burlou-Nagy, Cristina et al. “Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench: Biological and Pharmacological Properties. A Review.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 11,9 1244. 5 May. 2022, doi:10.3390/plants11091244
  11. Burlou-Nagy, Cristina et al. “Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench: Biological and Pharmacological Properties. A Review.” Plants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 11,9 1244. 5 May. 2022, doi:10.3390/plants11091244


Leave a Reply