Ways to boost immunity during cold and flu season

Colds and Flu season is right around the corner, and now is the time to start supporting your immune system in preparation for fighting off any viruses.

I personally don’t get the flu shot. Firstly because when I have, I get as sick as a dog and subsequently make everyone around me sick. Secondly because the flu shot is an immunization for the hypothesized most common flu virus projected for that year. It is not guaranteed. I could still get sick with a different flu virus. I’d rather help support my body’s innate fighting system, and build natural immunity when it comes to the flu. THIS IS MY CHOICE THOUGH. Do what is best for you.

In my experience, the west is TERRIFIED of viruses and illness (maybe get universal healthcare and paid sick leave but idk ) . Getting the flu, a cold, chicken pox, or even mumps are NOT death sentences.

REST. SLEEP. As the trees shed their leaves, and animals begin to store food and prepare to rest and hibernate, as should you. Get at least 8 hours of sleep if you can. Trade your screens for a book, or a craft and relish in doing nothing.When you sleep, your body is doing important metabolic processes.

 

Eat fermented foods. Kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kvass. Populate your microbiome with good bacteria.

Avoid processed sugar. No agave, no fake maple syrup, no high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup. Try a natural stevia glycerite, or honey.

STAY HYDRATED. A lot of people who get the flu also get dehydrated. Especially children. Make the tea, hot cocoa (with honey and coconut milk) , chai, eggnog, warm lemon water. Drink it all.

Elderberry syrup and tincture are great things to take daily to boost your immune system. Elderberry syrup is very easy to make from dried and fresh berries and honey. If you buy it store, make sure you’re getting one with clean ingredients. NO high fructose corn syrup, rice syrup.

Fire cider (recipe below) is easy to make. My local herb group made one last fall without the jalapeños and it was amazing.

fire cider

Avoid cold foods, drink lots of warm teas, bone broths, and yummy soups. Human beings have naturally adapted their diets to support their bodies as the seasons change. The time for all the nutrient dense, filling yummy foods is coming.

Other simple things to incorporate into your daily regimen is cooking with medicinal herbs and spices. Garlic, Onion, Cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, Turmeric, Sage,Pepper, Sea Salt.

Look into herbs like lobelia, lungwort, and mullein if you are prone to respiratory infections.

Eucalyptus has been shown clear disinfect sinuses (don’t use EO around babes and toddies) , so sniff some if you’re around sick people

Sage tea can help dry up a drippy nose.

Homeopathic remedies like Oscillococcinum can help support us during this time too.

Recipe for an immune boosting applesauce I make this time of year.

We have lots of herbal allies waiting to get acquainted with you. Is there anything y’all like to do during this time?

 

None of this constitiutes as medical advice, I’m a wee herbalist. Please do your own research. If you are concerned about medical interactions, talk to your health practitioner. Be gentle with yourself.

Peace,

Farai

4 Ways To Get Familiar With Herbs

From  cooking with from fresh vegetables and herbs, to even growing your own food, there are lots of points of access to learning more about herbs. However, if you are a new to this, it might  be intimidating at first. Here are some simple ways to learn more about herbs, as well as my favorite online resources.

Make your own tea blends

Tea is a great way to learn the different names of herbs as well as how they work on the body. Buying herbs in bulk is also a great way to be more low waste about tea drinking. Rosemary is great in food, the tea is a good hair rinse, the dried herb makes for a yummy smoke blend too. Chamomile is a relaxing and delicious tea that I add to my daughters night time bath to help her prepare for bed.

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A thrifted mug makes the tea go down smoother. Or at least thats my excuse. 

Grow some herbs

Hit up your local greenhouse and pick up some herbs you can grow in a pot if you are a first time gardener. Mint does well in pots and you can use it for food, specialty drinks, and teas as well.

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Oregano, Yarrow, Mugwort.Some of this harvest came from container gardens or the raised beds we have in our backyard.

Go on a plant walk or look for a local herb group

Learning the names of local and indigenous plants is empowering. You can learn what grows around you that is poisonous and edible, and along the way, you can meet like minded people.

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Mullein and Me! An amazing plant that grows wild in a lots if yards and properties. Don’t mind my far out outfit, it’s hot and I am trying to avoid ticks 

Cook with herbs

A great way to be understand herbs is to know what they taste like and how they smell. Visit a local spice shop and speak with the people that work there about spices you are interested in and what dishes to cook with them. Practice cooking your favorite meals with different spices to change things up.

Bonus tip:

Don’t be afraid to try and fail. By far the most delicious cantaloupe (picture below) I ever tasted was one that grew in my backyard, from the seeds of a store bought cantaloupe that I scattered outside. I have also purposefully planted watermelon and cantaloupe and they never survived. So this was a sweet surprise.

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My favorite online resources:

Commonwealth Herbs

Herbal Academy

One Willow Apothecaries

Websites

Mountain Rose Herbs

Frontier Co-op

Strictly Medicinal Seeds

Podcasts

Herbs and Oils 

The Holistic Herbalism Podcast

Medicine Stories 

Peace,

Farai

Immune Boosting Applesauce Recipe

As I mentioned in my 7 ways I Boost my Family’s Immunity post, Pumpkin Pie spice is a favorite tool in my arsenal because of how anti-inflammatory and healing ingredients it contains.  A good quality pumpkin pie spice blend typically consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Together, these spices are a powerhouse that go really well with seasoning my homemade applesauce. As requested, see the recipe below.

 

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7 Ways I Boost My Family’s Immune System

Kansas was just named the sickest state in the USA with just under 29,000 people sick with the flu this winter season. I for one, am not about that life. Since we don’t get the flu shot in our house I take simple steps to boost our immunity and help our bodies fight against any exposure to the yuckiness. So far it has worked. We are flu free *knock on wood* but I also know that if we do happen to get sick *again, knock on wood* that the severity and duration of any illness would be diminished because of these steps. I live by Hippocrates “Let food be they medicine” adage and that is where I put in the most work.

I am not a medical professional and the information shared here is what works for my family and I based on our research and discussions with our doctors. The information shared is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment in any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Applesauce – At first read, that may sound gross right? But like I have said before, I am the queen of multi-use products and a good quality pumpkin pie spice blend typically consists of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Together these spices are a powerhouse that go really well with seasoning my homemade applesauce or baked goods. Add the blend to your morning oatmeal or smoothie to for some warming, anti-inflammatory, and healing goodness. Comment below or on IG if you want the recipe to my applesauce.

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Pumpkin Pie Spice Oatmeal so yummy she had to put her foot in it

Elderberry syrup – Elderberry is having its moment in the spotlight and for good reason. Studies have shown that not only is it a powerful anti-oxidant, but that it can also slow down a virus. You can purchase elderberry but like my applesauce, I prefer to make my own in my pressure cooker. Here is the recipe I loosely follow.

Tea – Specifically ginger, echinacea, and stinging nettle. I like to buy bulk loose leaf tea, and these three will forever live in my tea cabinet because of their healing properties. Teas are a great way to get down fluids as well as an infusion of minerals and vitamins.

Probiotics- A healthy gut is a happy gut and probiotics are a great way to introduce healthy bacteria back into your body to promote immunity. They can be found in fermented foods, but I also like to give my daughter a kid-safe powdered pro-biotic in her water bottle every few days as well as take a probiotic myself.

Water- A lot of people with the flu end up hospitalized because of dehydration. DRINK SOME WATER.

Cooking with Immune boosting spices and herbs – This one is probably my favorite, because it is like a fun puzzle where I get to figure out how I can fit as many immune supporting foods into my cooking. Foods like oregano, onion, garlic, tumeric, pepper, and celery have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and I try to incorporate them in all my meals.

Humidifier- Dry winter air is harsh on your sinuses and struggling sinuses are less resistant to pathogens. We sleep with a humidifier on at night and it has made for much peaceful nights. This article spells it out great but in a nutshell it is important to have some moisture in the air. Even putting a bowl of water by the heater at night helps.

Share your immune boosting tips in the comments below, I’d love to hear them.

Peace,

Farai