The fluctuating daytime temperatures coupled with chilly autumn evenings can definitely put a strain on your immune system. You already know how it goes – the sore, scratchy throat, the run-down feeling, then the next thing you know, you’re down for the count. That’s why holistic health care practitioners say now – early fall – is the time to reinforce the immune system so your body can effectively fight those nasty bugs you will face as the weather gets colder. But where do you start? What are some basic remedies you can stock up on now? Consider just a few of the most popular and readily available remedies.
Immune Wellness Tonics
Astragalus…If we were to compile an A-Z list, this restorative root would be on the top for sure. Astragalus is used in traditional Chinese and East Indian medicine for its immune-supporting and tonic properties. In the famous Chinese herbal text, Shen-Nong (circa 206 B.C. – 8 A.D.), Astragalus is classified as an herb to ” strengthen the exterior” or to enhance the body’s defenses.**
Elderberries…These potent berries have been used in herbal folklore for centuries – and with good reason! It’s said that ancient healers, including the 1st-century Greek physicians Hippocrates and Dioscorides, praised Elderberries for their beneficial properties. Modern herbalists value Elderberries for their extraordinary ability to boost the body’s defenses and to support respiratory health. Get the super easy recipe to make a tasty Elderberry syrup that even the kids will love.**
Ginger…There’s nothing quite like a hot cup of Ginger tea with a little bit of lemon and sweet honey. The spicy root gets in the body and quickly warms from chills; encourages perspiration – one of the body’s ways of detoxifying, soothes respiratory discomforts, AND calms a queasy, upset stomach. Sip on a hot cup of Ginger tea or blend with other seasonal favorites such as Elderberries and Rose Hips.**
Mullein…Okay, okay, so technically, Mullein is not classified as an immune support herb, but both the leaves and flowers deserve a place in your seasonal wellness cabinet because of their superior soothing ability. They offer targeted, soothing support for the throat, bronchial, and upper respiratory passages. Brew a tasty tea by blending with Ginger, Peppermint, or Eucalyptus. **
Oregon Grape Root…While not an herb you often see on the shelf, this herb commonly found in Oregon (hence the name) is an effective and more sustainable alternative to the popular Goldenseal Root. It, too, contains the powerful immune-supporting plant compound, Berberine found in Goldenseal. Plus, Oregon Grape doubles as an amazing detoxifier, which supports healthy liver and gallbladder function. It is just as bitter as Goldenseal, so if taste is an issue for you, opt for the capsules instead.**
Wild Oregano Oil…The powerful oil extracted from the wild variety of this Mediterranean spice is sometimes called the “Swiss army knife” of herbal remedies because of its amazing versatility. Its therapeutic properties are likened to Goldenseal, Echinacea, Tea Tree combined! It contains carvacrol and other naturally-occurring compounds that provide significant immune and respiratory system support. Look for capsules or formulas that provide at least 70% of carvacrol. **
**Caution: Consult a healthcare practitioner before using any of these herbs if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition.
Essential Cold Season Oils
Essential oils play a big part in a wellness kit, even though they’re used externally. Why? The therapeutic compounds in these concentrated oils have been used for centuries by cultures worldwide to help purify the air and support sinus and upper respiratory wellness – key concerns during the cold season.
These pure botanical oils can be diffused into the air, used in steam inhalations therapy, or inhaled during the day. Some of the most recommended essential oils are:
One of the most effective ways to experience essential oils is as a steam inhalation therapy.
Steam Inhalation Directions: For immediate respiratory support and sinus comfort a steam inhalation is a quick and effective option.
In a heat-safe bowl add 3-5 drops of essential oil to 2 cups boiling water. Hold head over steam and cover with a towel to form a “tent”. Close eyes and inhale deeply for at least 10 minutes.
This is by no means an extensive list, just a quick starter of some of the most-requested herbs and essential oils from our customers. Of course, there are Rose Hips, Thyme, Garlic, Myrrh, and a host of other remedies waiting to be discovered. What’s your favorite or go-to seasonal remedy?