5 Natural Remedies To Ward Off Sickness This Winter - Improve Immunity Naturally!
Winter has finally turned up in Queensland, and although I'm still getting around in my t-shirt with no sniffles, I know many are suffering with colds and flus because our dispensary already needs a restock of immune herbs!
There's nothing quite as terrible as colds and flus (man-flus included). I find it's between dealing with the complete annoyance of having to continually blow the nose and try to breathe, while simultaneously dealing with the pain of red-raw skin, that I promise to myself, from this day forward, my body is a damn temple and I'll do everything in my power to never get sick again! How many of us stick to the promises we make when we're sick? Sometimes knowing what to do at the first signs of an infection is all you need to stop the coodies in their tracks.
It has been quite some time since I last copped a viral or bacterial infection - touch wood - so, I thought I'd share the remedies that I use to help prevent infection, and build immunity.
- Andrographis (also known as the King of Bitters). This herb is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful when it comes to immune stimulation. A few shots of this bad boy at the first sign of infection (eg feeling sensitive, tired, mild sore throat) and it's unlikely that any infection will progress. Andrographis increases our natural immune responses, and helps to boost immune cells, so that our bodies have a better capacity to fight infection. It's a bonus that it helps to protect the liver, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Liquid herbal extracts are more quickly and easily absorbed than tablets (and contain nothing but the pure plant), and I apologise in advance for anyone I've prescribed this to. It's incredibly bitter, which is also beneficial in supporting digestive secretions.
- Echinacea acts similarly to Andrographis, increasing natural immune defences (specifically phagocytosis) to fight infection. Echinacea's stimulation of the immune system is what makes its use controversial in autoimmune disease. Echinacea is a very common herb used for immunity, that you're probably already familiar with or have had at some point in your life. Once again, the liquid herbal extract is the best way to go to help fight viral and bacterial infections. Echinacea should make your tongue tingle... if it doesn't do this, it's not good quality! It's also important to note that Echinacea should not be taken consistently for long periods of time. If you get sick without Echinacea, trust me when I say there's more going on!
- Thyme. This beautiful culinary herb not only smells and tastes divine, but also has antiviral properties. If you grow this at home, you can pick off a few sprigs, collect the tiny little leaves and steep them in boiling water to make a nice, hot tea. The volatile oils are an important part of the plant, so place a saucer over your cup whilst you're steeping the tea to ensure none of those important oils evaporate. It's great for an upset tummy and loose bowels as well.
- Peppermint. So refreshing, peppermint assists in drying up the mucous membranes (that slimy skin inside your nose which lines your insides), making it the perfect go to (with a bit of Thyme!) for the sniffles.
- Lemon. Lemon contains more vitamin C than oranges, believe it or not! Having a whole lemon each day may help to support immune function, and reduce recovery time.
If you need some help to boost your immunity this winter, have a chat to us about our personalised herbal remedies.