Boosting the Immune System
According to Harvard Health, your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward naturally keeping your immune system strong and healthy. Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Don’t smoke.
- Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
A compromised immune system can result in weakened defense against pathogens with consequences of poor health. Whereas a supported immune system is key to regaining and retaining strength, energy, and optimal health.
In addition to a healthy lifestyle, I here are 5 of my favorite ways to help boost your immunity
Elderberry is the dark purple berry from the European elder tree. The berries are used to make medicine. Do not confuse elderberry with American Elder, Elderflower, or Dwarf Elder.
Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, which are known to have immunostimulant effects. Is elderberry good for a cold? Research actually shows that elderberry extract is a safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment for both cold and flu symptoms.
Some people take elderberry by mouth for the common cold, “the flu” (influenza), and H1N1 “swine” flu. It is also taken by mouth for HIV/AIDS and boosting the immune system. Elderberry is also taken by mouth for sinus pain, back and leg pain (sciatica), nerve pain (neuralgia), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Some people also take elderberry by mouth for hay fever (allergic rhinitis), cancer, as a laxative for constipation, to increase urine flow, and to cause sweating. It is also used for heart disease, high cholesterol, headache, and weight loss. (Reference)
You can even make your own elderberry syrup with this recipe from Wellness Mama.
Fire Cider is a spicy, sweet, and tangy apple cider vinegar (acv) tonic infused with roots, fruits, and spices. The wonderful thing about fire cider is it’s considered a remedy and tonic at the same time. If you are feeling like you are getting the cold or flu, it has been advised to take 1 tablespoon 3 times a day. As a tonic, you can take 1 tablespoon daily to boost your immune system and to prevent you from getting sick.
My favorite brand of Fire Cider, Fire Cider Original!
To craft the original tonic, they start with a base of raw, certified organic apple cider vinegar, to extract the beneficial properties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. To this, they add whole, raw, organic ginger, horseradish, onions, black pepper, and garlic. Then they toss in organic habañero peppers for heat, turmeric for a bit of zing, and lemons and oranges for a citrus tang.
They let the mixture steep at room temperature—no heat involved—which preserves the living vinegar culture and allows the flavors to develop. As a final step, they blend in a generous amount of raw, organic wildflower honey. The result is a tonic that’s potent but balanced, with distinctive layers of sweet, tart, and spicy flavors.
Make your own fire cider with this recipe from stay fit and yung.
It’s a great immune booster with powerful healing properties, and the best part is that it only contains two ingredients, turmeric and honey. It just might be the strongest natural antibiotic available. It’s been used to help relieve sinus pressure, fight the common cold, fight the flu, and lessen allergy symptoms.
- 3.5 oz (100 grams) of raw organic honey
- 1 tablespoon of turmeric powder
- Add 1 tablespoon of turmeric to 3.5 oz or 100 grams of raw organic honey.
- Mix well and place your golden honey into a glass container.
- Day 1 – Take 1/2 teaspoon every hour during the day.
- Day 2 – Take 1/2 teaspoon every two hours during the day.
- Day 3 – Take 1/2 teaspoon three times a day.
At just 4 calories per clove, it’s a low-cal immunity-boosting superstar. One clove contains 5 mg of calcium, 12 mg of potassium, and more than 100 sulfuric compounds — powerful enough to wipe out bacteria and infection (it was used to prevent gangrene in both world wars). Raw garlic, not cooked or dried, is most beneficial for health, since heat and water inactivate sulfur enzymes, which can diminish garlic’s antibiotic effects. In clinical trials, the toxin-fighting staple seems to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and kill parasites in the body.
According to Healthline, The minimum effective dose for raw garlic is one segment (clove) eaten two to three times per day. You can also take an aged garlic supplement. In that case, a normal dose is 600 to 1,200 mg per day. High intakes of garlic supplements can be toxic, so don’t exceed the dosage recommendations.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is an extremely versatile essential oil that has been recognized for its antimicrobial properties. This means that it tends to kill the various microbes and bacteria that interact with your body on a daily basis. You can diffuse tea tree essential oil to make good use of its immune-boosting properties.
It can also be used at the first sign of the common cold. Applying a couple of drops of tea tree oil mixed with a carrier oil to your chest can help to clear your sinuses. This is an effective decongestant and expectorant that can be applied regularly throughout the course of an illness.
Similar to tea tree oil, diffusing eucalyptus will expose you to the decongestant and expectorant properties. You can also use the oil topically, mix two to three drops of eucalyptus oil with a ½ teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil and apply to your chest or the bottoms of the feet.
You may also add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a warm bath to soak in the immune-boosting properties.
Rosemary essential oil provides a great boost to your immune system and can loosen some of the mucus clogging your nasal passages. Of course, using it on a regular basis can help prevent illnesses in the first place. Diffusing it and applying it topically to your body daily (diluted with a carrier oil) are great ways to harness its immune-boosting potential.
Pour two to three drops into the palm of your hands and rub them together. Then, cover your mouth and nose with your hands and attempt to breathe in.
Lemon essential oil is a powerful essential oil, both an antibacterial and an antiviral which can help make you less prone to illnesses. You can also use this essential oil to work double-duty by using it as a household cleaner.
Mix ten to twenty drops of lemon essential oil with one cup of white vinegar and one cup of water in a spray bottle. This makes a great multipurpose household cleaner that can stop cold and flu germs right in their tracks. As an added bonus, you get the aromatherapy benefits associated with lemon essential oil while making your entire house fresher and cleaner.
Steaming with lemon oil can be a powerful way to clear your sinuses as well. In a pot of steaming water, add five to ten drops of lemon oil. Then sit back and inhale the steam.
Oregano is antimicrobial and antibacterial which makes it great for eliminating viruses that make it through your immune system’s defenses. You can use it on a regular basis to help strengthen your immune system and prevent illness or use it to shorten the timespan that you’re sick.
You can mix this oregano essential oil with a carrier oil for a foot massage that can help to bolster your immune system. In one teaspoon of jojoba oil (or your carrier oil of choice), add three to five drops of oregano oil. Massage into the soles of the feet and cover them with cotton socks to allow the solution to absorb.
Diffusing oregano oil may also help to relieve the symptoms of the cold, including a stuffy nose and stubborn cough.