Herbs for the Changing Seasons: What to Use as Weather Shifts

As the seasons change, so do our bodies’ needs. Each transition brings unique challenges, from the colds and flu common in fall and winter to the allergies and skin issues that can flare up in spring and summer. Fortunately, nature provides a bounty of herbs that can help us adapt to and mitigate these seasonal shifts. This guide explores the best herbs to use as the weather changes, offering natural ways to support your health throughout the year.

Understanding Seasonal Health Needs

The impact of seasonal changes on health isn’t just folklore; it’s a reality that many experience. As the environment changes, it can affect everything from our immune system to our energy levels. For instance, shorter days in winter can lead to lower serotonin levels, affecting mood, while warmer temperatures in summer can increase the risk of dehydration and skin sensitivities.

Seasonal Herbs and Their Benefits

Spring: Detox and Allergy Relief

Spring is a time of renewal, but it can also bring allergies and a feeling of lethargy as we shake off the inertia of winter.

  • Nettle (Urtica dioica): This herb is a natural antihistamine, making it excellent for combating seasonal allergies. It’s also rich in nutrients, which makes it a perfect spring tonic to rejuvenate after winter.
    • How to Use: Drink nettle tea or take capsules daily during allergy season to help manage symptoms.
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale): Known for its detoxifying properties, dandelion helps cleanse the liver and improve digestion, clearing the sluggishness of winter.
    • How to Use: Use young dandelion leaves in salads or drink dandelion root tea to help stimulate digestive health.

Summer: Hydration and Skin Care

Summer heat increases the need for hydration and can exacerbate skin issues, making herbs that cool and soothe particularly beneficial.

  • Mint (Mentha): Mint is cooling and soothing for the digestive system and can help manage heat-related skin irritations.
    • How to Use: Add fresh mint to water for a refreshing and cooling drink, or apply mint-infused lotions to soothe irritated skin.
  • Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis miller): Aloe vera is excellent for hydrating and healing sunburned skin.
    • How to Use: Apply fresh aloe vera gel to the skin after sun exposure to hydrate and soothe burns.

Fall: Immune Support and Warmth

As temperatures drop, supporting the immune system becomes essential to prepare for the cold and flu season.

  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp.): Known for boosting the immune system, Echinacea can help reduce the likelihood and duration of colds.
    • How to Use: Begin taking echinacea supplements or tea at the start of fall and throughout the winter to support immune health.
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Ginger warms the body and helps fight infections. It’s also beneficial for digestion.
    • How to Use: Incorporate fresh ginger into meals, or drink ginger tea to stay warm and boost your immune system.

Winter: Mood Support and Circulation

Winter can affect mood and circulation, with colder weather and less sunlight leading to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and cold extremities.

  • St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): Effective in treating mild to moderate depression, including SAD.
    • How to Use: Take St. John’s Wort supplements as directed throughout the winter months to help alleviate seasonal depression.
  • Cayenne (Capsicum annuum): Cayenne pepper improves circulation and can help keep the limbs warm.
    • How to Use: Add cayenne pepper to your diet in small amounts in soups and other dishes to help improve blood flow and heat the body.

Integrating Seasonal Herbs into Your Lifestyle

Tailor to Your Needs

Choose herbs that address your personal health concerns during each season. What works for one person may not work for another, so it’s important to consider your own health history and needs.

Quality Matters

Use high-quality, organic herbs whenever possible to maximize the health benefits and minimize exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

Consult Healthcare Providers

Always discuss with a healthcare provider before starting any new herbal regimen, especially if you have existing health conditions or are taking other medications.


Herbs offer a powerful way to naturally support health through the changing seasons. By understanding which herbs are beneficial at different times of the year and integrating them into your daily routine, you can enhance your body’s ability to adapt to seasonal changes. This approach not only helps prevent seasonal ailments but also supports overall wellness, allowing you to enjoy each season to its fullest.