Now more than ever we are all aware of the need for a strong immune system which is able to ward off and cope with viruses and other pathogens. Building a strong immune system is vital, to protect ourselves and those around us. Prevention is everything!
First and foremost, our food must be of high nutritional value, containing lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, which are rich in vitamins and minerals. Eat fresh vegetables every day, in home cooked meals, and avoid processed foods which have little to no nutritional value. Limit sugar intake to an absolute minimum, as sugar weakens our immune system. Your body –and waistline also- will be thankful to you if you limit sugar and simple carbs such as white bread, pasta etc. Fresh fruit juices and smoothies with fresh veggies, fruits, ginger and spirulina are rich in vital vitamins and have high nutritional value. In addition to a healthy diet you may supplement with extra vitamin C, B complex, D, or a multivitamin supplement. This time of year you can even go out in the fields and forage a variety of wild edible greens, which are powerhouses of health: mallow, white mustard, fiddle dock, nettles, wild asparagus, and many more local plants are jam-packed with essential nutrients and they are free! Going out foraging is a wonderful way of connecting with our local plants, getting to know them as well as nourishing our body with their gifts.
Drinking a fortifying and nourishing tea rich in vitamins and minerals, such a s nettle, is a fantastic way to boost the immunity. Make your tea as strong as possible the following way: Put 2 tablespoons of nettle in a teapot or jar, add boiling water, close the lid and leave it to infuse for 1-2 hours in order to get all the nourishing goodness from the plant. Then strain and drink. You could also make it at bedtime and leave it to infuse overnight to make it extra powerful. Long infusion time does make the tea more bitter, in order to combat this, just add a teaspoon of liquorice root. Apart from nettles, the top herbs for immunity are elderflower, echinacea, thyme, sage, liquorice, ginger, turmeric and oregano. These herbs also have antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties, which is exactly what we need at this time.
Extracts from Echinacea and olive leaf are concentrated natural antivirals, enhancing the immune system. Olive leaf extract also has strong antiviral properties. Tinctures are easy to take and ideal for those of us who don’t have time to make tea, you simply put the stated dosage of drops under the tongue or in a glass of water. It is important to take the tinctures regularly during the day in order to stay covered.
Essential oils can be inhaled to kill off pathogens in the lungs and to create a barrier near the mouth and nose, protecting you from microbes. Great anti-viral and antimicrobial essential oils to inhale are oregano, thyme, rosemary, sage, cloves, tea tree, frankincense and lavender. You can travel with them and inhale them on a hanky or on your scarf any time you want extra antimicrobial action in the lungs. If you are travelling, I cannot recommend this method strongly enough. Simply put a few drops of one or more or the above essential oils on your scarf and breathe them in. You could also add a few drops of essential oil in the bath water, onto your pillow at bedtime etc.
Oregano oil can be taken internally to give a turbo boost to the immune system, but always mixed into a thick liquid, like yoghurt or honey. Take 1-2 drops three times a day, especially if you feel you are already coming down with something, Oregano essential oil is nature’s most powerful natural antibiotic, you will feel the healing effect on the respiratory system right away.
Listen to your body. Self care is vital for a strong immune system. Make sure you get enough sleep and spend time outside in nature. Walks in the woods or on the beach are invigorating for body and mind so get out in the fresh air to de-stress and fill up your batteries.