Winter (especially here in the Northeast) can be a very overwhelming time to get sick… and unfortunately, it seems to be the most common time to get sick as well. We’ve put together a list of natural immunity boosters you can consume to stave off colds and the flu alike… the best course of action is always prevention!
Vitamin D Expose yourself to vitamin D through natural sources such as the sun and being outside; or consume it with egg yolks, salmon, mackerel, organ meats and some mushrooms. You can also take natural supplements like cod liver oil or oil-based D3 supplements.
Probiotics Kombucha tea is a wonderful source of gut-friendly organisms that strengthen your immune system. Kefir is another probiotic drink of cultured/fermented dairy chock full of good bacteria and is 99% lactose free.
Green tea/Chamomile tea (get chamomile seed here) Both teas help strengthen your immune system with their natural antioxidants, as well as keep you hydrated, which is something that many people take for granted.
Easy Exercise Walking, light hiking or snowshoeing are all great ways to get your blood flowing and to get some quality Vitamin D. A super high intensity workout is, contrary to popular belief, not good at the onset of a cold or the flu. High intensity workouts require the body to focus on repairing itself rather than fighting off an oncoming sickness, leaving you wide open and very susceptible.
Cut Sugary Items Make an effort to cut out as many sugary items from your diet as possible. Your immune system stays depressed for several hours after consuming sugar. If you’re drinking a can of soda every few hours, then your immune system and resistance could be lowered for most of the day.
Immunity-Boosters Consume other immunity-boosting items such as orange foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and squash; mushrooms, chile peppers, strawberries and yogurt; as well as immunity boosting herbs like oregano (seed / dried herb), thyme (seed / dried herb) and turmeric.
Elderberry Shortens flu by approximately 4 days. Take 4 TBSP of elderberry syrup daily for 3 days. Try this recipe to make elderberry syrup!
Garlic Allicin, a compound found in garlic, is a potent infection fighter. Crush a fresh garlic clove (dried, cooked or pre-chopped garlic lose their potency too fast to do any good) 15 minutes before use. Sprinkle on a salad, rice or veggies; add to salad dressing or cream cheese. 1 clove a day.
Avocado Supports adrenal function, boosts immune system with essential amino acids, antioxidants and healthy fats.
Ginger Warms body, breaks down accumulations of toxins in the organs (particularly lungs and sinuses), cleanses lymphatic system
Get powdered ginger here.
Sage Extract Expectorant. Add a few drops to tea or hot water to help move mucus out of your respiratory tract. To make an herbal extract, we suggest following the instructions listed by Mountain Rose Herbs:
“This recipe is the simplest way to make your own liquid herbal extracts in your own home. Start with a clean jar that has a tight fitting lid and the herbs of your choice. If you can use fresh herbs, then fabulous! Fresh material is always preferred but availability is determined by your local bio-region, climate, etc and many quality herbs may not be available. If you cannot locate fresh materials, be sure to get good quality, organic herbs from a reputable supplier. Note: Try not to use powdered herbs; they will be difficult to filter out in the end and the debris will settle in your final product.
If using fresh material, chop the herbs finely. Then put in the glass jar. Next, pour a good, strong grain alcohol or Vodka over the herbs, completely covering the herbal material. If you are using dried herbs you will need to add more alcohol over the next day or two as the dried herbs absorb and expand. A good ratio for dried material is about 1 part herb to 5 parts alcohol and with fresh material 1 part herb to 3 parts alcohol.
After you have done this, cover with tight fitting lid and be sure to place a plastic bag sandwiched between the lid and the jar. This will prevent rust contamination from spoiling your extract.
Shake well and place the jar in a dark place & allow the herbs to soak or macerate for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake every few days. The alcohol will siphon and extract the active constituents from the herbs. After 4 to 6 weeks strain the herbs. Use a large sieve, strainer, press or potato ricer lined with fine mesh cloth or cheesecloth. Then pour into another large bowl or container. After you have done this grab the soggy herbal material and place in muslin, cheese or another fine cloth and tightly squeeze the material to extract every last drop from the cloth. The herbal material left over that is saturated, is the strongest in terms of active medicinal constituents. Now funnel the material from your larger container into smaller bottles, preferably amber bottles and store your tinctures in a cool dark place. Voila! You have now made your own remarkable medicinal herbal extract for a fraction of the price you would have paid at the store. By now you have probably noticed that your pantry is stored with some 16-20 ounces of liquid herbal extract……this will last you for some time. (It will keep for 3-5 years) Enjoy!”