With winter here it’s comforting to know there are so many natural remedies available to help keep those lurgies at bay. Or help get through when you’re feeling a little under the weather. Here are some of my favourite natural immune boosters!
One of the primary remedies for helping the body rid itself of microbial infections. It can be effective against both bacterial and viral attacks. It is especially useful for infections of the upper respiratory tract, like the common cold. So keep this little beauty close by during winter!
A brilliant herb for the winter months, Andrographis is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. It can boost the immune system, and increase the body’s resistance to infection, by stimulating the production of antibodies and macrophages (white blood cells that scavenge foreign matter). It is also a wonderful bitter herb, meaning it can boost digestion and the assimilation of nutrients by improving gall bladder function. By absorbing all the nutrients from our food, we give our systems what they need for overall health and vitality.
I love Elder Flower! I use it for upper respiratory issues, such as hay fever or sinusitis, or any other conditions where there is mucous and inflammation. It can also strengthen cell membranes and possibly inhibit virus penetration.
When you’re feeling a little under the weather, slice some fresh ginger root and let it brew with some rose hip tea, which is high in Vitamin C. This combination is stimulating, warming and highly anti-inflammatory. You can also use it as a gargle for sore throats. It is a wonderful appetite stimulant and when you have a fever it helps rid your body of the pathogen causing your fever.
This herb is fantastic for irritating bronchial coughs, bronchitis and any kind of lung conditions. It is what naturopaths and herbalists call an expectorant. Which basically just means it helps facilitate the removal of phlegm from the lungs. It also has anti-microbial actions and helps alleviate coughing.
Strongly antiseptic and anti-microbial it also helps to settle chesty coughs. Thyme is a wonderful herb to use through the winter months if you suffer from respiratory or even digestive infections.
This is a natural antibiotic with many healing properties. It is also anti-viral and anti-fungal. Crush garlic into some olive oil and take on a teaspoon a couple of times a day if you’re a real toughie! Otherwise, take garlic capsules and use in cooking, in its raw form as much as possible. Cooking garlic does reduce some of its therapeutic value. However, it’s still a valuable addition to your diet so slip it in wherever you can. →
This is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning your body will excrete whatever is doesn’t need. It’s really important to have adequate amounts to boost your immune system. It’s found in brightly coloured fruits (kiwi, orange, berries) and vegetables (capsicum, chilli, broccoli). Rose hips also contain very high amounts. It has a protective role in our body as a potent antioxidant and so will help protect against oxidative stress, which accelerates ageing and can contribute to further health issues down the track.
One of the most important minerals when it comes to having a healthy immune system. A deficiency of this mineral will result in impaired immune function, as well as issues with the gut and hormone production. Zinc is found in red meat, seafood, especially oysters, seeds, oats and mushrooms to name a few sources.