It’s always good to know how to keep your body in optimal health. Right now, more than ever, people are wondering what extra things can be done to boost the immune system naturally.
What’s great is that there are actually a number of practical ways to boost the immune system naturally. Things that you can do right now that are affordable and have as little prep as you are able or willing to do.
If you want to start from scratch with dried herbs, create tinctures and extracts, and stock up in bulk then that’s great. If you’d rather purchase items already prepared for you that is totally fine as well. Only get what you know you’ll make or have time to work with.
Boost Your Immune System Naturally
1) Sleep and Drink Water
Don’t underestimate sleep and drinking plenty of filtered water. Being fully rested and hydrated is more than half the battle! Prioritize it!
Continued sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of a full list of diseases. After all, sleep is when you heal and repair.
Don’t worry about buying filtered water. It’s usually just as good (or bad) as water straight from the tap. Instead, filter your own with a water filter like this one if at all possible. Remember the half ounce per pound you weigh rule. If you weigh 130 pounds then try to drink at least 65 ounces per day.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen (helps your body adapt to changes and stressors) and antioxidant. It helps strengthen the immune system by being a cell mediator. It has a lot of studies behind it as an herb that reduces anxiety, stabilizes brain cell degeneration, increase fertility, and lowers cholesterol and inflammation.
You can get some here.
How to Use:
One pinch to 1/8 teaspoon is good for a daily dose. Traditionally it is added to warm coconut milk with turmeric. You can also add it to your regular tea, chai, or add cinnamon, clove, and vanilla.
3) Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi is a mushroom that has many polysaccarides, beta glucans, and antioxidant properties. It is known to lessen fatigue and improve sleep not because it has a caffeine like effect, but because it helps reduce stress and anxiety and balances the bodily systems.
You can get some here.
How to use:
Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon to coffee or hot chocolate. If you’d like to avoid the sugar, but want the chocolate, just heat water, and whisk in some cocoa and the reishi and add a little honey or sugar to taste. I put both reishi and chaga in my chai tea and it tastes great.
4) Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga is considered a mushroom even though it’s more like a large black fungus that grows on Birch trees.
It is commonly used to reduce blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. It is an antioxidant, and is also used to fight inflammation and support the immune system. Chaga helps regulate the production of cyokines and help cells properly communicate with one another. Cytokines are produced to go attack an infection or foreign invader in the body. While this is a good thing, from my reading I’ve come to understand that scientists have seen that it can overwhelm one part of the body while ignoring others in some people (what is believed to have happened during the Spanish flu). Moderating them helps them to be produced in a way to spread throughout the body and attack all places needing help.
Chaga is also rich in:
- B-Complex vitamins
- vitamin D
- amino acids
You can get some here.
How to use:
Add 1/2 – 1 teaspoon to coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. If you’d like to avoid the sugar, but want the chocolate, just heat water, and whisk in some cocoa and the chaga and add a little honey or sugar to taste.
Astragalus is also an adaptogen. Many studies have shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s often used on injuries.
You can buy dried root strips, but it is probably cheaper in the long run to buy a powdered extract. You can get some here.
How to Use:
Astragalus is great to put in tea or steep in soup broth. Use 1 teaspoon per cup of tea for medicinal purposes.
Elderberry is a great berry to incorporate into your life because it’s yummy and not bitter when cooked. Always cook the berries before using, otherwise they can be poisonous in large quantities. This is nullified with boiled. When honey is added you end up with a delicious drink that helps stop a virus before it enters a cell to destroy and multiply, thus cutting the virus life.
You can make your own elderberry syrup with this recipe.
Finding elderberries was easy a few months ago. A one pound bag of dried berries typically cost $16. Now they are nearing $60 or more. Starwest seems to have the best prices right now: Find some HERE.
You can find an elderberry extract here.
Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc are the priority. Make sure all your vitamins: A, B and other vitamins and minerals like selenium and magnesium are up with some high quality vitamins supplements. Always choose a variety of fruits and veggies as your first course of action. But supplements are a great course when you know you aren’t getting enough.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and supports the barrier function against harmful pathogens at a cellular level. Many fruits are high in vitamin c: orange, kiwi, guava, goji berries, camu camu, strawberries, as well as broccoli. If good quality soluble vitamin C is sold out then look for some camu camu or acerola cherry powder to add to your smoothie or morning drink.
Zinc makes proteins and DNA, as well as aids the immune system in fighting bacteria and viruses. You can get zinc naturally in beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc, but it can also be supplemented.
8) Essential Oil
Carrot seed oil, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon leaf, red thyme and rosemary essential oils are among just a few that have shown strong antiviral and anti bacterial properties (1) Bergamot and Ecualyptus, were tested against the flu virus and showed effectiveness within ten minutes, while lemongrass, cinnamon leaf, and geranium after thirty minutes. These were also tested through diffusion with effectiveness (2). Also, tea tree was shown in a very popular study to be effective against the Herpes virus (3).
To put it in a list for you, here are some essential oils that have been shown in studies to be anti bacterial and anti viral:
- carrot seed
- cinnamon leaf
- red thyme
- tea tree
There are others that have a different blend of elements that help support the body in different ways. Combining essential oils can sometimes compound their effectiveness.
Always follow safety amounts! Never get carried away in thinking that more is better. Giving your body exactly what it needs and no more is always better with essential oils! Check out these essential oil safety guidelines.
You can find some high quality essential oils at a better price at Starwest Botanicals.
9) Lung Supportive Herbs
Corvid-19 or the coronavirus has led to pneumonia in many people, causing the biggest concern toward their well-being and recovery. Strengthening the lungs seems like an important step for everyone to take. There are a number of herbs that have traditionally been used to help improve lung function.
- Thyme. There’s been a number of great studies on thyme. One states, ‘Thyme extract might be an effective treatment of chronic diseases based on inflammatory processes when hypersecretion of mucus overwhelms the ciliary clearance and obstructs airways, causing morbidity and mortality. Moreover thyme extract, evaluated in H460 lung cancer cell line, demonstrated to induce cell cytotoxicity in addition to reduce inflammatory cell signals.”(4)
- The easiest way to utilize thyme is to make a tea. Steep 1 teaspoon in one cup of hot water.
- Lobelia. Lobelia eases congestion and thins mucous and is another herb that even pharmaceutical companies have taken part. Lobeline, the active element of the Lobelia plant, is similar to nicotine and can be toxic in high doses so taking internally is not recommended.
- Instead, traditionally, people use it extracted in an oil that is used in a salve that is rubbed on the chest. You can learn how to make a medicinal salve here.
- Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus should not be used around small children and some pets. But diffusing a few drops of essential oil in the home has been shown to clear nasal passages and dilate bronchioles.
- Lungwort. Lungwort is a SUPER strong antioxidant. It also helps clear mucous.
- Commonly taken as a tea but can also be taken in pill form.
- Oregano. Oregano is another definite on this list. I love it because of the studies showing that it not only helps decongestion and works as an antihistamine, it also has anti bacterial and anti viral properties.
- Like thyme, you can add fresh oregano to your food or eat in salads. You can also diffuse oregano essential oil in your home.
You can diffuse a few drops of oregano, thyme, eucalyptus, and peppermint for lung health. Add a drop of bergamot and tea tree to increase the diffuser’s efficacy against viruses and bacteria (5).
There are people who do not read any research, but completely blow off herbs and essential oils.
Before you comment, make sure to actually do some reading. With the popularity of herbs and essential oils over the past few years, the amount of studies being done has grown and many very well respected studies have been done.
When looking into essential oil studies, pay attention to the amounts used in the studies. Though some use amounts that are not practical or safe for daily use, other studies use only safe amounts and still show great effectiveness.