Herbal teas may help in flu season

If you're coming down with a cold or already coughing your head off, don't despair.

The companies of the North Bay that blend their own teas are staying busy this winter producing herbal concoctions they say can help soothe sore throats, support immune systems and help you relax and sleep.

"Our business is driven by the cold and flu season," said Traditional Medicinals plant manager Mary Goff, while giving a tour of the Sebastopol factory last month.

"We've had the flu here in California since November, and we're in the middle of our cold season, so we're working overtime."

Other local companies that blend soothing herbal teas include Bungalow Coffee & Tea of Santa Rosa, Taylor Maid Farms of Sebastopol and Mighty Leaf Tea of San Rafael.

Mighty Leaf makes a Chamomile Citrus tea that helps calm the system while providing a boost of vitamin C. Bungalow makes a Hibiscus Blend from the flower traditionally used to alleviate fever and soothe coughs.

Taylor Made makes a Mellow tea, a calming blend that includes chamomile, spearmint and cinnamon bark, traditionally used to soothe upset stomachs and ease cold and flu symptoms.

Traditional Medicinals, founded in 1974 in a small herb shop along the Russian River and since relocated to Sebastopol, sources herbs from all over the world for its line of 54 wellness teas.

Herbalists say that all-herbal teas can alleviate a wide range of non-serious symptoms, from indigestion and sleeplessness to occasional constipation.

The herbal formulations contain the roots, rhizomes, stems and flowers of herbs such as ginger, licorice, raspberries and peppermint.

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