Helpful Herbs for Winter Health

As the nights draw in and the cold and damp of winter start to bite, many of us find ourselves reaching for pills and potions at the first sign of any aches and pains.  With over-the-counter medication so widely available in our high streets and supermarkets, it is very easy to just reach for pharmaceutical medicines to help common ailments from headaches to athlete’s foot. If something promises a complete cure in a packet, it is so tempting to just pick it up.

But perhaps you are fed up with relying on medicine and are looking for a more natural way to ease your aches and pains this Winter.

Here at HRI we are firm believers in using herbal products to stay healthy and alleviate common problems. Here’s a round-up of our favourite helpful herbs for this time of year:



Feeling achey?  Blocked nose?  Sore throat?  These are all common symptoms of a cold or bout of flu.  A virus of this type can range from leaving you feeling a bit off-colour, to seeing you have to take to your bed for a few days.

Echinacea Purpurea has powerful anti-oxidant properties and is traditionally used to help prevent colds and flu, or to enable the body to fight off the virus more quickly if you do catch one.

For Echinacea, try HRI Cold & Flu


St John’s Wort


Many people find this time of year particularly stressful and even usually cheery people can find themselves suffering from slightly low mood. According to the web site of the mental health charity MIND, St John’s Wort is

According to the web site of the mental health charity MIND, St John’s Wort is a herbal medicine that is used to treat symptoms of mental health problems including seasonal affective disorder, SAD, mild anxiety and sleep problems.

For St Johns Wort, try HRI Good Mood



Cold weather is rotten for the skin, especially the hands. At this time of year, many people opt for moisturising products that contain extract of Chamomile to help relieve the symptoms of chapped and sore skin.

Chamomile has been used to help heal the skin for centuries. It’s key ingredient, Matricaria chamomilla, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

For Chamomile, try Napiers Chamomile Skin Cream


Milk Thistle

Milk thistle flower - illustration for HRI Milk thistle product

The festive period is always a time when many of us are guilty of eating a bit too much and drinking more than we should. Milk Thistle has long been used as a natural remedy for this type of over-indulgence, providing a traditional herbal remedy for indigestion, an upset stomach or a hangover.

Milk Thistle contains the medicinal compound silymarin, an extract of milk thistle seeds, which according to traditional use, is an antioxidant and liver detoxification agent.

For Milk Thistle, try HRI Milk Thistle.


Blue Flag

Irises over White

The combination of bad weather and excessive food and drink does nothing for our complexions this time of year, and many people associate the onset of colder weather with a nasty outbreak of spots or pimples.

Blue Flag is a type of wild Iris which many of us will have seen growing near streams and rivers. It has been traditionally used for a wide variety of problems, particularly to help heal the skin and Native American Indians used it to treat skin issues such as sores, acne, eczema, burns and bruises. Blue Flag would be poisonous if ingested in its raw state, but it is perfectly safe to take in licenced herbal medicines.

For Blue Flag, try HRI Clear Complexion tablets.



As the parties, concerts and nights out with friends seem to increase at this time of year, too many late nights and over indulgence can soon leave you feeling sluggish and listless.

This is when a nice cup of Ginseng tea can really perk you up. Traditionally used to help alleviate problems such as tiredness and lack of concentration, digestive disorders, fatigue, stress and even hangovers, this natural product from the root of the Ginseng plant is a perennial favourite. For winter, many people like to add a spoonful of honey.

For Ginseng, try Dai Wang Ginseng Tea.

Liquorice Root

As a by-product of a rotten cold or a chest infection, coughs are everywhere this time of year and can often turn to mucus on the chest, increasing the risk of infection.

Liquorice Root contains a natural compound called glycyrrhizin, which has traditionally been used to ease congestion and reduce coughing by helping to loosen and thin mucus in the bronchia. This makes a cough more “productive,” so that you can bring up phlegm and clear the lungs.

For Liquorice Root, try Covonia Herbal Mucus Cough Syrup


Devil’s Claw

HRI Winter Poster.indd

If you get a cold, or if you are suffering from a flu-like virus, you can often find yourself feeling very achey with sore joints and a stiff neck.

The root of the spookily-named Devil’s Claw – which has long, claw-like spines – has traditionally been used to relieve backache, rheumatic or muscular pain or general aches and pains.

For Devil’s Claw, try Boots Devils Claw tablets.




Whatever helpful herbs you choose this winter, do always make sure you choose a reputable supplier and check for the Traditional Herbal Registration (THR) logo on the pack of all herbal medicines.

Click on the image or here to download a poster of Helpful Herbs for Winter Health.

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