Feels a bit Deja vu don’t you think? Pretty sure it was this time last year we were doing the “lockdown dance”. Good thing is we’ve been through this before, so we know what we’re in for. And we know we don’t need loo paper lol!
As a number of you have reached out to me this morning I wanted to quickly review some things you can do, and some ways I can help you. Supplement wise, there’s nothing to worry about there, I have a good stock of liquids & vitamins. Couriers are essential services so products will be delivered, lock down or not. Plus I’ve opened up my quick Acute Immune phone consults. Details of all this is below for you.
The best defence right now is a great immune system. Let’s chat through some options for immune system support, with my Top Tips for Immune Support.
TOP TIPS – Natural remedies, herbal medicines & supplements:
As a qualified naturopath & herbalist, this is my JAM! I’m also a mum who has a 12 year old who had a diagnosed immune deficiency (he doesn’t create acquired immunity as most people do). This was just a bad hand of the gene-cards, and something I’ve had to manage his entire life. So I know what I’m talking about with immune support.
Supplement support can include:
– Vitamin C (chewable ones are great for kids, but avoid the gummies, they are more sugar than supplement). We use vitamin c as both a preventative and to shorten the length of colds & flu, should you get sick. Not just in supplement form, Vitamin C is available in foods like oranges, kale, spinach, kiwi fruit, grapefruit, strawberries & papaya. Did you know that kiwi fruit has more vitamin C than oranges?
– Zinc is important for great immunity. Did you know it’s also crucial for senses like smell and taste? Kids with low zinc levels are often fussy eaters and can have an odd sense of smell. Sometimes it happens to adults too. Zinc is a key element of our immune cells, hence why it’s so important. It’s primarily found in animal proteins but is also in nuts & some seeds, chickpeas, yogurt, red meat & poultry. There are great supplements for kids too, like the powdered zinc I have in clinic that tastes like raspberry sorbet – yum!
– Vitamin D is one I think we all know about, but can tend to forget. Easy to take as a supplement, I have capsules & liquid options on hand making it easy to supplement the diet of the family. Best obtained from the sun, you can also get some vitamin D from fish like mackerel, sardines and tuna. With neurological disorders like MS now dubbed “the poster child of vitamin D deficiency”, it’s important to ensure our levels are optimum.
– Vitamin A is a great infection fighter, and is in foods like fish, meat and dairy products. Pumpkin, sweet potato & rockmelon are also great sources. In clinic I often use a zinc supplement that has added “ACE” (Vitamin A, C and E, for full antioxidant effect).
Herbal Medicines for Immune Support:
A little note here, be aware that herbal medicines offer immune strengthening and immune stimulating actions. Immune stimulating herbs (like echinacea) should never be used with people who have a dysfunctional immune system (for example, you have an existing auto immune condition like RA. Stimulating a dysfunctional immune system can cause more illness than recovery).
– Echinacea is a well known herb for immune system use. Take note of what I’ve said before and don’t use it if you have an auto-immune condition. It’s also from the daisy family so if you have an allergy to daisy plants, you may be best to avoid this herb.
– Elderberry is a fantastic herb that will support your immune system and has the action of attacking viruses. I use elderberry syrup in my kids formulations to make them more palatable.
– Withania / Ashwaganda is the principle herb in Indian cultures, widely used here for apoptogenic affects (ie improving your stress response). I use this herb in conjunction with some of the other immune herbs as it tends to make the body more resilient and reduce convalescence. Studies have shown it has actions against influenza viruses, which is a huge bonus! (reference)
– Chinese Mushrooms offer great immune support. I use a specific herbal in my liquids than combines 5 medicinal mushrooms in the one liquid mix. Herbal mushrooms are also available in many immune supplements.
– Astragalus is a well used herb in my industry as it offers fantastic immune support. We use it to improve resistance to infection & to reduce severity of illness (reference). It’s best used in acute illness situations. It’s often used in combination with Echinacea and Ginseng for colds & flu.
– Ginger is a brilliant herb that you probably have in your fridge or pantry already. The warming function really helps with illness symptoms like sore throat, it’s through to help reduce temperatures and has antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions (reference).
– Turmeric is another herb you probably have on your shelf. Similar actions to ginger, it’s a really useful addition to your herbal pantry.
There are SO MANY amazing herbs for your immunity, I could go on for pages! There are also a huge range of herbs for specific actions if you do get sick – like Pleurisy Root for congested coughs, Adhadtoda for opening airways in bronchitis, Eyebright for reducing sinus inflammation & mucous secretions, Yarrow for colds & flu support – the list is endless really.
Lifestyle Recommendations for Great Immune Health:
Let’s not forget there are things you can do to support great immune health! Yes we know about hand hygiene & coughing in our sleeve, but what else…?
– Sleep, I know it sounds obvious, but there are studies tying lack of sleep to lower immunity. Studies showed that those sleeping 6hours or less per night were more susceptible to catching a cold. So get to bed at a good time, switch off devices and wifi, and get a good 8 hours sleep. (reference)
– Probiotics, Good Foods & Prebiotics – science has now caught up to us crazy naturopaths and backs us when we say most of your immunity is in your gut. So do what you can by eating well, taking a probiotic and supporting the microbiome with fermented foods & prebiotics. PHGG is a great supplement for this purpose.
– Drink your water, it’s important! Your lymphatic system is the gate keeper of your immunity and needs the water to flush away the nasties that it’s fighting. So support the team by keeping your water up, a good 2L per day, if not more.
– Try to relax. We know that stress decreases immune function and makes you more likely to get sick. So take time to chill, read a book, meditate, take a walk. Your immune system will thank you.
How about a little herbal remedy you can make at home? Try my delicious immune boosting pantry tea!
Immune Boosting Pantry Tea
Here’s my recipe for an immune boosting tea you can make at home, from things you probably already have in your fridge and pantry! Use dried herbs and spices if you don’t have fresh.
What you need:
– fresh or dried ginger (a couple cms cubed or a good teaspoon of dried)
– fresh or dried turmeric (a couple cms cubed or a heaped teaspoon of dried)
– 1/2 lemon to juice (you’ll add a good squeeze of juice at the end)
– dried cayenne pepper OPTIONAL (anything from a tiny pinch to a 1/2 teaspoon, whatever you like or can tolerate, or leave it out completely).
– teaspoon honey (manuka if you have it, but any will do) (optional)
How to do it:
1. Boil the water, 80degrees is perfect for herbal type teas or boil as per normal & allow to cool a little
2. Use a teapot with infuser, an infuser mug or a tea infuser ball to put ingredients in
3. use a garlic mincer to mince garlic & turmeric and add to the pot (we mince to release more active constituents)
4. add cayenne pepper & a dash of lemon juice to taste
5. leave to steep for 3-5mins
6. before serving add the honey, add to taste (optional, can leave this out)
This tea is suitable for children, just reduce the amounts of ginger & turmeric and consider leaving out the cayenne (or use just a tiny pinch). Kids often like a bit more honey. Ensure the tea is cooled to luke-warm before giving to children.
We’ve got this…
My best recommendation for right now is to go with the flow. If you have to stay home for a few days – enjoy your pjs! If you need supps – reach out, I’ve got you covered. And if you need an ear, I’m here; as are many, many friends, family & community services.
If you’d like to book a consultation with me, I have reopened my Acute Immune Consultations that I ran last year – only $50 for a 20mins appointment to review your acute health & immune support needs. I will prescribe you therapeutic grade, practitioner only herbs and supplements, couriered direct to your door. To book a time visit my BOOKING page.
Take care and reach out if you need me.
Naturopath ~ Cassandra Duffill xo