What interesting times we live in. Normally, at this time of the year I would often be writing about weight loss and detox, and the thought of winter viruses would not even be on our radar. However, with customers now asking for advice on antiviral supplements, I thought perhaps it was time to write about some of my favourite herbs for ‘winter’ cold/flu/virus prevention.
One of the most important defences against many illnesses and especially viruses, is a good immune system. I have often written about a particular herbal formula which I love and have taken myself, for many years to help my immune system. This is a formula which I often take if I know I’m likely to be under a lot of stress, maybe working extra hours, or when winter is coming and I may feel my immune system needs a little more protection. Interestingly, I began taking these herbs again late last year because I was working extra hours renovating our store, then the bushfires hit which of course was exhausting and stressful and now we have other concerns for our health, so it seems these herbs will be a part of my supplement regime for a while yet.
So why do I like this formula so much? I’ve found this formula containing Astragalus, Reishi Mushroom, Siberian Ginseng and Licorice is a great formula for prevention as well as recovery from viruses plus colds and flu. We also often suggest this formula for anyone suffering from Ross River Fever, Glandular Fever, Barmah Forest Fever and even for those recovering from chemotherapy. I was once prone to urinary tract infections and took these herbs long term with other herbs to help prevent recurrences of this debilitating illness.
It’s believed Astragalus increases our body’s production of white blood cells, which are the cells which aid our immune system in preventing illness. There’s also a belief that Astragalus may help kill bacteria as well as fight viral infections.
Reishi Mushroom is also understood to be an immune enhancer as well as containing anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Licorice is a great immune regulator with anti-viral properties. Siberian Ginseng is often added to Astragalus because it not only assists with immune health but also helps with energy levels. Schisandra is another immune enhancer plus may help with energy levels.
If we are prone to lung and respiratory problems, it can also be helpful to take herbs which can protect our lungs and respiratory tract. As with many potential illnesses, it may be helpful if we are prepared and help our body by taking preventative herbs (ie. begin taking the herbs before the anticipated virus/cold/flu season hits). Last flu season I was well prepared and took my immune herbs as well as lung herbs prior to, and right throughout the cold/flu season and was happy survive the season without any colds or bronchial problems. The previous winter I had been hit hard with a bronchial problem and was determined not to suffer similarly last winter.
I wrote recently about the impact ongoing bushfire smoke may have on our lungs and respiratory system. Some of the herbs I mentioned were Grapeseed, Thyme, White Horehound, Albizia and Ivy Leaf. This is a formula I have been taking for a few weeks and intend to take right throughout this year.
Grapeseed and Thyme are powerful antioxidants. Thyme also helps relieve inflammation of the respiratory tract and acts as an expectorant. White Horehound, Albizia and Ivy Leaf are herbs which have been found to be helpful in relieving coughs, clearing mucous and congestion from our lungs, chest and respiratory tract.
When it comes to childrens’ immune health, there are a couple of options we can look at. A liquid herbal formula containing once again Astragalas as well as Elderberry and Zinc. If children are reluctant to take a liquid, another option is a chewable childrens’ formula containing Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C.
Finally, we know 80% of our immune system is found in our gut. It is therefore important that we ensure we have good gut health. It’s obvious to maintain good gut health, we need to eat healthy, wholesome foods. Taking a good probiotic with prebiotics is also extremely helpful in maintaining good gut health.
For more information on how you can boost your immune system, call in to see Bev and the team at Go Vita your health shop in North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737. Don’t forget to tune into Bev on 2EC for Go Get Healthy every Wednesday at 12.30pm.