I hope you have already been introduced to natural remedies. In recent years, essential oils, herbs and teas have become very popular. In general, they are very safe, however, just because it’s natural doesn’t make it safe.
Before you start using any natural remedy you should do a little homework. If you are currently being treated for anything or if you are pregnant, check with your practitioner to make sure it won’t interact with your condition or your treatment plan. You should also know what side effects if any and symptoms or overdose. I won’t be offering dosage recommendations, there are too many variables to give a general guideline.
This is a very broad topic and there are hundreds of natural remedies and foods that can help boost your immune system or to relieve symptoms if you do get sick. I’ll be limiting this blog post to a few recommendations in each category.
I’ll be spending more time on each of these topics in the Stepping Stones for Wellness Healthy Holiday Challenge
Clove bud oil- is an immune stimulant, has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic properties.
Lemon, Orange or other citrus oils- have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties.
Cinnamon bark- is an immune stimulant, has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic properties.
Melaleuca or Tea Tree oil- is a strong antiseptic, has antiviral and antibacterial properties.
Many essential oil companies offer a protective or immunity blend that blends clove, citrus, cinnamon bark and other oils.
Herbs can be taken as a tea, tincture or supplement.
Echinacea contains polysaccharides which can aid in the production of white blood cells, which fight infection. Has antiviral and antibacterial properties
Elderberry contain quercetin which is an antioxidant with antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry is commonly found as a syrup
Garlic- is an antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties.
Ginseng (panax)- Is a known adaptogen, it has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties
Vitamin C- Is an antioxidant and although it isn’t fully understood it is a vital nutrient to both reduce stress and support the immune system. It is quickly depleted by most illness and disease conditions. It isn’t stored by the body, so it is recommended to either supplement or eat foods high in Vitamin C daily.
*The safe upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day for adults, but lower dosages can cause stomach irritation or GI discomfort.
Vitamin D aka the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and it works with your DNA. Vitamin D turns on a key peptide in your immune system that triggers an anti-microbial response. Although you can get vitamin D by exposing yourself to sunshine, the farther from the equator you are the fewer months the sun is in a good position to provide it. There are a few foods that are a significant source; fatty fish, eggs and mushrooms.
Zinc- balances the immune system. It isn’t fully understood how it works, but it appears zinc helps the immune system not overreact, limiting the amount of inflammation created by an immune response, which can shorten the duration of a virus. About 1/3 of the population are zinc deficient, a simple blood test can determine if you are. If zinc is not part of your supplement routine, you can take it as needed when you feel you may be coming down with a virus and stop when you are over it. Foods that are high in zinc are pumpkin seeds, grass-fed beef and lamb, cashews, chickpeas and mushrooms.
If you'd like to learn more about natural remedies for Immune Health tell me what you'd like to learn more about in the comment section below.