It’s the lovely time of year where viruses, colds, and infections are in full force. And while we can’t always avoid who or what we come into contact with in a day, there are ways in which we can strengthen our immune systems and avoid getting sick altogether. I discovered these all-natural remedies after experiencing a host of chronic health issues, inflections, and autoimmune disease –so needless to say, my immune system had taken a beating. Now, they are regular part of my health routine, and I turn to these easy homemade ‘tonics’ to boost my immunity and bypass getting sick, especially this time of year. The health of your gut, determines the health of your body, mind, and immune system, so what you put into it is crucial for optimal health.
Here are five of my favorite all-natural DIY ‘tonics’ to help you fight off infection and beat the winter flu this season (or any season!).*
1) GINGER IT UP
Ginger is one of the oldest medicinal foods on the planet. After traveling its native region of South East Asia, I found a deep love for the healing properties of this little root. Asians put this powerhouse food into just about everything. And for good reason, it’s super good for you. Ginger’s therapeutic properties comes from gingerols, making it an anti-viral and anti-bacterial high in antioxidants and other nutrients that help to boost the immune system and fight harmful free-radicals and viruses like fevers, sore-throats, and an upset stomach. In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic practices, ginger is used to increase agni (digestive fire), and naturally detoxify the digestive tract; aiding in the removal of toxins and promoting blood circulation to help open up sinuses. Ginger also disperses body heat and has a cooling affect on the body, meaning it can help sweat out that flu fever. Because ginger is an anti-inflammatory, it can be used to reduce pain and autoimmune flare-ups that can come with a weakened immune system.
Sip on this Ginger Tea Tonic:
+ Make a cup of warm to hot (not boiling) filtered water
+ Chop up about an inch thick of fresh, peeled ginger
+ Let the ginger steep in the water for 2 minutes
+ Squeeze in the juice from a half of a lemon (Vitamin C!)
+ Add in a Tablespoon of raw, unfiltered (with the ‘mother’) Apple Cider Vinegar (also known to rid the body of nasty bugs)
+ Splash in a dash of Cayenne Pepper (increases blood circulation!)
+Sweeten (if needed) with raw honey or maple syrup.
I like to make a big batch in a mason jar and store it in the fridge for the week, warming a cup of it every morning, it’s the first thing I take upon rising in the winter!
+ OR go for the 100% ginger shot at The Juicery!
2) GO GREEN
A green juice is not only a great way to get in a hefty dose of vegetables and vitamins, but they’re also packed with nutritional powerhouses that keep the immune system strong. This hydrating, anti-inflammatory, and anti-viral recipe is lower in sugar (sugar can weaken the immune system) and contains a powerful punch of vitamin C and antioxidants, making it one good mixture of good health. Most people consider parsley as a garnish, but this under-appreciated herb is chock-full of vitamin c and chlorophyll and has been proven to suppress an over-stimulated immune response, helping you fight off allergies, inflammatory disorders, and illnesses.
Immune Boosting Green Juice Recipe:
(makes one small juice)
- 1 Hefty handful of Parsley
- 2 Cups of Spinach
- 1 Large Green Apple
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Small Cucumber
- 2-3 Celery Stalks
- 1-2 Inches of Ginger
Place all ingredients in a juicer, and enjoy!
+ OR try the Jungle Juice or add some Spirulina or Good Doctor Green’s into a smoothie from the Juicery!
3) GIVE GARLIC (and honey) A GO
Eaten in its raw form, garlic is a powerful immune booster that cultures around the world use as a cure for everything from colds to cancer. When the clove is chopped, chewed, or crushed, its agents produce allicin- an active compound with considerable anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic and antioxidant properties. However, these benefits are destroyed when garlic is heated, so raw is the way to go. Obviously, not something we, and our breath, are fond of doing. So let’s bring in honey. Raw honey is, in a nutshell: pure, unheated, unpasteurized and unprocessed. This means all the essential vitamins, enzymes and nutrients are preserved and not tampered with, which is quite different than conventional brands you’ll see on the market shelves. So it’s good to purchase your honey from a local source. Buying local, as in, honey that is obtained as close as possible to where you live, helps ensure the honey’s ability to fight off seasonal allergies. All in all, this sweet stuff has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties–killer ingredients in fighting off the flu and colds. When combined together, these two provide an all natural, powerful ‘drug’ to ward off infections and boost your immune system.
A spoonful of raw honey and garlic:
What to do?
+ Peel and separate a clove of garlic.
+ Cut, mince, chop, press or slice the garlic clove into smaller pieces. The alliicin is released in garlic by chewing and breaking the garlic up.
+ Let the garlic rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the enzymes to activate.
+ Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of raw honey onto a spoon.
+ Sprinkle the entire chopped up clove of garlic onto the honey spoon.
+ Consume and swallow as is or spread on a piece of toast.
+ Repeat this every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
+ Have a happy and healthy winter!
4) TRY TURMERIC
Turmeric is often referred to as the most powerful herb on the planet. This anti-inflammatory spice provides a wide range of health benefits, and thanks to curcumin, the compound in turmeric, boosting your immunity is one of them. Under Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has been prescribed to treat a variety of ailments from digestive issues to coughs to fighting off infections. And more recently, turmeric’s extremely potent medicinal properties is used in the treatment of cancer.
Try this recipe courtesy of Seacoast Nutritionist Erin Holt Health:
Rich Turmeric Tea/Golden Milk:
- 1 cup water (or brewed ginger tea)
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (I love this brand)*
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric Tea Mix (see below)
- 1-2 teaspoons honey
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and whisk over low heat until warm and combined. You could also blend if you want an extra frothy final product.
Turmeric Tea Mix:
- 3 Tablespoons ground turmeric
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon ground ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons ground black pepper* (optional)
- *consuming black pepper with turmeric helps your body absorb curcumin, the active constituent of turmeric
5) BEFRIEND BONE BROTH
Homemade chicken soup is a timeless remedy for the flu. And that’s because, according to modern research, it does indeed have medicinal qualities that can help eradicate infections and colds. Bone broth, which is made primarily from the bones and connective tissue of animals or fish, is known for its inherent healing qualities, and has been consumed by cultures all over the world for thousands of years. Bone broth is high in minerals, nutrients, and amino acids that help lubricate, nourish, and restore every system in the body. Particularly, the amino acids arginine, which is essential for the immune system, glycine which aids in detoxification of the liver and the quality of sleep, and L-glutamine and gelatin, which are necessary for healing the gut and overall gut health. Healthy gut = healthy immune system. Bone broth also supports detoxification and reduces inflammation.
If you’re looking for bone broth on the go, try my favorite, ready to heat, from a high-quality source: EPIC
And here is a homemade bone broth recipe courtesy of Seacoast natural skincare specialist, Jane Gee!
- 2 pounds (or more) of bones from a healthy source
- 2 chicken feet or extra gelatin (optional)
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- water (2 pounds of bones per gallon of water)
- optional: 1 bunch of parsley, 1 tablespoon or more of sea salt, 1 teaspoon peppercorns, additional herbs
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, improve the flavor by roasting them in a roasting pan for 30 minutes at 350°. Then, place the bones in a large stock pot ( use a five-gallon pot if you have one) pour (filtered) water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. Rough chop the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic) and add to the pot. Add in any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs that you are using.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it reaches a vigorous boil, then reduce heat and simmer for:
- Beef Broth/Stock: 48 hours
- Chicken or Poultry Broth/Stock: 24 hours
- Fish Broth: 8 hours
In addition to the above, staying hydrated (with filtered water), moving your body, eating a well-balanced diet, getting high-quality rest, and reducing stress all do wonders in keeping the immune system strong. Take care of yourself and stay healthy out there friends!
*DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor, so please consult an appropriate professional before making any changes to your diet or other applicable areas.