As the season turns down the temperature dial, we can become more vulnerable to seasonal sicknesses such as cold, flu, depression, asthma, ear infections, strep throat, bronchitis, migraine, joint pain, and sinus infections.
Wow! No wonder so many people hate winter!
But there is one defense that combats ALL of them. Your immune system!
So today I have some tips to strengthen your immune system and treat minor ailments.
However, if you have a chronic condition, your immune system may require most specialist care with higher doses of specific vitamins, and herbal medicine.
Work with a natural health practitioner to improve your immune function to be able to tackle winter ailments fast and effortlessly. BOOK HERE
“Came in feeling about absolutely exhausted with no energy or motivation. After taking supplements for a few months, my energy levels and motivation returned and kept improving. I also noticed my goiter reduced in size with the iodine supplements.” – L.S.
Understanding Your Immune Response
- 85% of our immune system reside in our gut. Dysbiotic bacteria, food intolerances and inflammation play a big role in any immune related disorder.
- T-helper cells (abbreviated as Th) are lymphocytes (types of white blood cells) that recognize foreign pathogens, or in the case of autoimmune disease, normal tissue. In response to this recognition, they produce cytokines, which are hormonal messenger proteins that are responsible for the biological effects of the immune system.
- Th1 cells are involved in what is called “cell-mediated” immunity. They are the body’s first line of defense against pathogens that get inside our cells such as viruses and certain bacteria. They tend to be pro-inflammatory and are involved in the development of organ-specific autoimmune disease.
- Th2 cells are involved in what is called “humoral-mediated” immunity, which deals with bacteria, toxins, and allergens. They are responsible for stimulating the production of antibodies in response to extracellular pathogens (those found in blood or other body fluids). They tend not to be inflammatory and are involved in systemic autoimmune disease and other chronic conditions.
- When the th1 cells of the immune system are overactive, they can suppress the activity of th2 and vice versa. So we want them to be in a nice balance.
- If you have a chronic immune imbalance, you will have a higher need for immune system specific vitamins and usually need to supplement – Vitamin D, Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin A.
- Other factors that influence nutritional dosing factors: obesity, age, activity level, stress, diet.
Working with a functional practitioner will mean running pathology to discover your true levels of nutrients, inflammation, hormones and other required tests, and then treatment based on these tests to get your levels right.
Toxins, medication use, and digestive function also influence nutritional correction, so again dosing will need to be adjusted to accommodate the individuals needs.
Herbal medicine has been our ally to support and correct the immune system for thousands of years, and we love them here too! Some favourites are Hemidesmus, Echinacea, Astragalus, Andrographis, Bupleurum, St Johns Wort, Thuja – just to name a few.
Cold and Flu Rescue – Tips
- Avoid cold food and drinks – hot drinks are a better choice. Particularly hot herbal teas with the occasional spoon of raw or manuka honey. (Add honey no more than 3 times a day for your blood sugar balance)
- Garlic. Crush a clove onto a teaspoon, and coat it in honey and eat some food.
- Hydration is essential preventatively and if infection presents, as it will thin the mucus in the lungs. If a fever presents, use electrolytes to remain hydrated several times a day. If you don’t have electrolytes, a pint of Himalayan salt in your glass of water, and if you have it, a pinch of Cream of Tatar in the water will help your electrolyte balance. Or drink coconut water.
- Inhalation of eucalyptus oil or clove oil in a facial steam tent twice a day for sinus infections. Add 3-5 drops of oil to a bowl of just-boiled water. Use a towel over the head to create a tent and breathe in the vapors for 5 minutes. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, do this every 2 hours until it clears. The faster the better – you want the volatile oils to kill the bugs BEFORE they infiltrate your tissues and enter the lymphatic system. However, even if the infection is set in, this will ease congestion and speed up recovery.
- Sore throat – gargle with betadine gargle or saltwater 2-3 times a day or more if needed at the first sign of a sore throat.
- Reduce stress – Stress affects our immune system immediately, and prolonged stress is detrimental to health. Develop a stress management plan with meditation, mindfulness, counselling, or relaxing bodywork to keep your mental health strong.
- Broth – homemade chicken bone broth is the best healing food if you get sick, plus a great preventative as it has the trace nutrients in it to keep the gut membranes strong and healthy.
- Herbal tea – sip on hot herbal teas all day, especially if you have a throat infection. Try fresh lemon, ginger and honey added to your favourite calming tea, such as chamomile or calendula.
Get your immune health strong and balanced with a holistic approach based on pathology. Book a consult to get started!