Natural ways to boost your immunity
It's that time of year. Cover your mouth! Wash your hands! Avoid the plague! We are, unfortunately, not always immune to what we're exposed to. In that spirit, below are some of the ways I boost my immune system.
Elderberry: elderberry is a centuries old remedy that has modern-day scientific proof of it's efficacy. It's been shown to shorten the duration of symptoms of the flu and is safe for use by nearly everyone (except for the those with allergies to it). You can make your own syrup, but I prefer the convenience of the pre-made syrup (this brand is my favorite). When I know I've been exposed to a cold/virus, I'll take 2 teaspoons twice a day. When I'm actively feeling symptoms, I'll take 2 teaspoons four times a day. You can take the syrup like any liquid medicine, but I actually prefer to take it in a cup of hot tea.
Ginger: ginger is another awesome immune booster. It has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It also benefits digestion (which can become compromised when you're sick). I love to look for ginger as an ingredient in fresh juices and can sometimes find "health shots" that have a stronger dose (and a kick, for sure). My favorite health shot contains a combination of ginger, cayenne, and apple-cider vinegar. I use this one as the base of a tea as well. The addition of the apple-cider vinegar and cayenne also help open up clogged sinuses.
Oregano oil: oregano oil is also known to be antibacterial and antiviral. As soon as you taste the tincture of oregano, you know it's powerful stuff (i.e. it's strong and it burns). I find this one much easier to take in capsule form (I'll be switching once I finish the bottle pictured above). When I'm feeling symptomatic, I take 3 drops in water once a day and then chase it with my tea. Oregano oil is not considered safe during pregnancy and would be a hard sell for kids (definitely try elderberry first).
Turmeric: I have found high-dose turmeric to be a great remedy for body pain. No it won't lower a fever (and if it's not dangerously high, that fever is serving a purpose, so maybe let it be?) but it can address some of the muscular pain that we get with colds.
Water: Whether it's to help soothe a scratchy throat, re-hydrate dry eyes and sinuses, or flush toxins from the body, water is a must. Drinking cold water doesn't always seem as appetizing, so enter hot teas and soups. And if you live somewhere where your heat runs constantly, consider adding a humidifier. My humidifier has been a game changer for me. I went from waking every morning afraid I was getting sick to no more dry eyes or throat.
Rest: This one might be the hardest sell. Rest is the #1 most powerful form of treatment you can find. But, it's not always the easiest for us to come by. When you're sick and your body is screaming for sleep, that's what you need. Of course, kids, work, and routine can make that hard. Maybe you can't take the entire day off to sleep, but try to carve a little extra sleep for yourself.
Before going to the doctor or filling a prescription, I try these things first. Using the above remedies/techniques, I support my immune system to help it do it's job. All that being said, I'm no enemy of modern medicine. I appreciate what it can do for me and my family and we will visit the doctor when symptoms do not appear to be improving
*I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Please consult your doctor before trying herbal remedies.