Honned In: How to Keep Your Immune System Strong Naturally

As a clinical herbalist, I believe in and use herbs to boost my immunity this time of year during Cold & Flu Season, and now with ”super” viruses coming into play like the Coronavirus, I thought I would share what I do in hopes that it may inspire you with some new ideas, or remind you of ones you already are aware of. Though we may feel sniffly from time to time, rest assured, our bodies are incredibly resilient, and we respond to herbal remedies very well. After all, they’ve stood the test of time. Think about how long we have co-evolved with plants, here we are, advanced in our evolution and the plants stay sturdy, still here to support us in many ways. Here are just a few of my go to’s for health and wellbeing. I hope these tips help relieve some stress and empower you to proactively take care of your own health.

Herbs and Vitamins I grew up in an herbal-happy home, so I developed a taste for herbs early on...though I will warn you: not all herbs taste great, and some can be quite challenging to get down. For example, Osha root is one plant that I cannot seem to pallet even to this day, but my husband loves it. We all are different and what works for one does not translate to another, so be open-minded AND patient with yourself.

  • The Essential Vitamins (Always important for Health and wellbeing): Vitamins A, C, D3, E, and B.

  • Probiotics help to keep the gut healthy to ensure the immune system is functioning well.

  • Zinc has been shown to reduce the duration of flu and cold symptoms from 7.6 to 4.4 days. Boosts immunity and speeds wound healing. take with food to avoid feeling nausea.

  • Fresh crushed garlic has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal activity. One raw clove a day for prevention. Crush the clove and let it sit for 10 min to release the immune-enhancing compounds of garlic.

  • Astragalus (Astrafalus membranaceus) boosts immunity by restoring T-cell count to normal ranges, antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory capabilities.   Good to use preventatively throughout cold and flu season.

  • Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea/angustifolia) enhances the immune system’s resistance to infections and reduces the duration of the common cold by almost one half. For Respiratory issues, strep throat, cold and flu as well as any infection.

  • Lomatium Root (Lomatium dissectum) is especially great for respiratory ailments it has been used by Native Americans for centuries. Was used in the influenza pandemic of 1917 with good results.  An antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic.

  • Osha Root (Ligusticum porter) has been used by Native Americans for many ailments. This antiviral and immunomodulator is excellent at the onset of a viral infection mixed with Echinacea, Lomatium, Lemon Balm and Elderberry. This will help to get rid of mucus and has a drying effect. Please note Osha root is an endangered herb on the United Plant Savers 'at risk list', and it is not possible to cultivate it on a farm. It grows in the wild in high elevation in Colorado and New Mexico and has become increasingly difficult to source.

  • Lemon Balm (Melissa officianalis) boosts immunity, relaxes and helps with insomnia. For colds, flu, stomach viruses and stress.

  • Elder (Sambucus nigra/canadensis)- The berries, leaves, and flowers are all useful for immunity and flu.  Elderberry syrup is delicious and therefore easy to get down the hatch and kids love it.

  • Tulsi Tea or Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) Used for Respiratory ailments. Tulsi may relieve symptoms of asthma, bronchitis, colds, congestion, coughs, flu, sinusitis, sore throat, and similar ailments. All that and it tastes great too.

A Family favorite Tea Remedy Lemon, Ginger, and Honey hot tea, not only tastes great, but is also easy to make, and is full of healthful benefits. This blend strengthens the immune system and soothes cold and flu symptoms. INGREDIENTS: ·   4 cups boiling water ·   2-inch piece ginger root, thinly sliced ·   1 lemon, sliced INSTRUCTIONS: 1.  Remove boiling water from heat. Add sliced ginger and lemon to hot water. 2.  Allow steeping for about 20 minutes. Strain. Serve warm or cold. Add honey and a tiny pinch of cayenne (if tolerated). Go-To Essential Oils

  • How to use: In a diffuser, to clean air inside, spray the environment with Essential Oils, or add to a bath (just a few drops goes a long way!)

  • Try: Lavender, Rosemary, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, thyme or Lemongrass

Often overlooked, Fresh Air is a great cure!

  • Get outside, breathe deep and enjoy the sunshine. Get your circulation going with the exercise of your choice. Yoga, walking, running, and swimming.

  • Open the windows in your house and let it air out once a day to release stagnant air, and energy.

  • Stay away from crowded places/Self-quarantine

  •  Clean up your diet Eat healthy whole foods that boost your immunity, stay away from sugar, it is your immune system's number one enemy.  Eat lots of green leafy vegetables, high-quality protein, and high fiber and complex carbohydrates.

 And of course, Rest and Relaxation! You can try:

  • A Digital Detox/ Media Fast, which reduces stress to your nervous system

  • Meditating, which clears your mind and restores your nervous system

  • Sleeping at least 7-8 hours, which boosts your immune system, decreases stress. And allows your body to heal.

  • Laughing often

  • Enjoying the Sauna, which aids in the detoxification process

  • Stay well, and please pass these tips along to someone else who may benefit from staying healthy the natural way.

This information is intended as a general reference and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.


Author: DeeAnn Tracy

DeeAnn is the owner of Peak Scents. She believes in products so natural, you could eat them. She enjoys her natural life in Arizona and encourages mindfulness, abundance practices, and joy - just as mother nature intended.