Immunity Support

By on Nov 11, 2012 in Health and Nutrition, Uncategorized Comments: 0. Tags:

Despite today’s warmer weather, we are entering the late fall and winter season – a time of gusty wind, lovely snow, and cozy moments but also a time of flu, colds, and other upper respiratory infections. In an effort to avoid getting sick, here are a few ways to boost your natural immunity.

First of all, getting enough rest, getting fresh air on a daily basis (maybe an after-dinner walk if nothing else presents itself?), reducing stress levels, and washing your hands are all very important to maintaining health.

For your diet, eating enough protein (beans, nuts, whole grains, tofu, meat) and essential fatty acids (oils, nuts, seeds, flax) and staying hydrated (water or herbal teas as opposed to juice or soda) will keep your body working well. Vitamin C through leafy greens, fruits, and vegetables is preferable to a supplement. Probiotics can also be taken as a supplement, but it is best to get them through diet as well (yogurt, miso, kombucha). Try to avoid sugar as it has been found to reduce immunity for long periods of time. Also avoid milk as it tends to be high in sugar and increases mucus production.

For vitamins and minerals, an adequate intake of Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, and Zinc will benefit your immunity.

As for herbs, etc. elder syrup, echinacea, and garlic are helpful in preventing illness. (Avoid echinacea during your first trimester of pregnancy.)

In the event that you do get sick, here are a few at-home remedies to get you through the illness.

First of all, do not take aspirin for a fever as it may result in Reyes Syndrome. Instead, consider any of these herbs. They can be served as a tea individually or mixed: lemon balm, chamomile, elder flower, spearmint, and linden blossom. (To make the tea, put one handful of the herbs in a mason or quart jar. Add boiling water and steep for ten minutes or more. Add honey to taste.)

For coughs, use honey instead of cough syrups. (Please remember no honey for babies under age one!) Beyond honey, here are some herbs that are helpful in a variety of ways:

As expectorants (to expel mucus), try anise,  garlic, mullein, and elecampagne.

As demulcents (to soothe the lining of your respiratory tract), try marshmallow root, slippery elm, licorice, and mullein.

As sedatives (to help you sleep), try honey, red clover, and ground ivy.

As antimicrobial (to fight the infection), try thyme, garlic, anise, echinacea, and ginger.

Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about this information or about immunity support in general. Here’s to a healthy autumn and winter!

be well,


My appreciation to Aviva Romm, MD and Christy Santoro, CPM for much of this information. Check out Aviva’s website for some fun recipes regarding immunity support and treating colds and flu.

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