Immune System Boosters—Natural Ways to Fight Colds + Flus

I’ve noticed a lot of people getting colds and flus this year—seems more than usual, so I decided to share with you some of my go-to strategies for boosting the immune system.

In 2013 I apprenticed with naturopath Sara Hart in Traditional Chinese Medicine when I lived in Boulder, Colorado. Through the program I learned that there are many viruses and bacteria in the body at any given time, yet we don’t express symptoms of sickness because the immune system is doing a great job at holding them back.  When the immune system is overloaded, stressed or weakened that’s when we start feeling sick and symptoms start showing.  Thus, taking care of the immune system is an important part at preventing illness.  

I’m not a formally certified herbalist and before you take any herbs do your own research to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Here are some tips that you might find useful:

  1. Nettle Tea.  Nettle tea is packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s great at preventing illness and you can drink all year round to nourish the body.  You can purchase the herb at local food co-ops and herb shops.  Tastes like a green tea.

  2. Reishi Mushroom Tea.  This is another good immune system booster.  Reishi mushroom tea can help strengthen body to fight bacteria and viruses.  It also has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.  I used this when I had Lyme Disease and it was an important part of my healing process.  Reishi mushroom can be purchased at some herb shops (call ahead, not all of them have it) or prepackaged in a teabag at most local food co-ops. Has a woody taste that can be tapered with cinnamon, ginger and/or honey.

  3. Elderberry Syrup.  This is probably my favorite on the list.  I recently met a local herbalist Kristin from Apothicare who makes it.  It can be taken as a preventative or upon onset of colds or flus.  It tastes really good too!

  4. Sleep, Rest, and Downtime.  I notice that whenever I get sick, it’s usually because I have been overdoing it.  I’ve either been working too much or not sleeping enough—or both.  

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Although getting colds and flus are natural and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for getting sick, it’s also helpful to know about natural resources that help us take care of our bodies and prevent illness when we can.