No matter how you feel about the change of season upon us, one thing is for sure: Its time to stock the herbal apothecary with easy to use and effective home remedies to keep colds and flus at bay.
I find that the easiest way to stay healthy during the winter cold and flu season is to add immune-boosting herbs, spices and food into your everyday life. The best way to negotiate the winter influenza mayhem is to not get sick in the first place. That’s right. It’s all about prevention.
If you’re like me, you don’t have time in your busy schedule to get sick, stay sick, and then recover. What I do have time to do is add a few extra things into my daily regime that helps to keep my immunity in high gear. You'll be surprised to know that many of the top 20 herbs for immune health are hidden in the cupboard. Here are a few of my favorites. Simple, easy, organic and safe is the way to go!
Garlic, Onions & Spices: As the weather gets colder and the kitchen gets busy with fall harvest cooking, try adding more onions, garlic, ginger, hot peppers and spices to your food. Think of your spice cabinet as your secret immune-boosting powerhouse.
Raw Honey: Honey is overflowing with great uses to treat a variety of conditions. Raw unfiltered honey is known to have antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immune stimulation actions and it tastes great! I use it regularly with my kids to add a touch of sweetness and make their herbal teas more enticing.
Use honey on a regular basis to stay healthy, add it to teas, yogurt or to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or use it more aggressively if you feel like you are coming down with something. I will make a strong pot of ginger tea; add a heaping spoonful of honey and the juice of half a lemon. It won’t let you down!
Elderberry Syrup & Echinacea: My winter apothecary would not be complete without a large jar of elderberry syrup and a few ounces of Echinacea tincture. At the first sign of cold in my house, you are tucked in bed and fed spoonfuls of warm Elderberry syrup along with a dropper full of Echinacea by the hour. Elderberry’s are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and have strong antiviral properties. I use echinacea for acute situations to give the body an immediate boost to fight off anything from a sore throat to the first symptoms of a cold. Elderberries and Echinacea are a must have to keep my family healthy this year.
Astragalus Root: Astragalus root is a historically revered herb that helps to build, strengthen, and tonify your immune system. I toss a few of the long flattened roots (available online or in any health food store) into any soup or stew as it cooks. The flavor is mild and slightly sweet. It will give your ordinary meal an immune boost. Fish out the roots and compost them before you serve. You can also make a tea or take a liquid tincture on a daily basis for the days, weeks and months prior to winter to get your system primed.