Well it’s cold season… at least in my house.
Yes yes, it IS still summertime here in the US and cold season doesn’t (un)officially start until hmmm maybe October.
But my husband’s an elementary school Assistant Principal and school just started last week. This means it’s a very busy, stressful time of year and his immune system is suppressed, AND he’s surrounded by lots of little unwashed hands and germs all day long. So lo and behold, poor guy already has a cold.
Of course when things are busiest at work, it’s not the ideal time to catch a cold. So I’ve been loading him up with ALL of the natural immune boosters we’ve got!
Here are my 5 must-have immune boosters that I always keep stocked in my natural medicine cabinet.
And of course, it’s equally important to eat well, stay hydrated, and rest up as much as possible to kick a cold or the flu!
5 Natural Immune Boosters for Cold & Flu Season
Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano is a potent antibacterial but also has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a hard-hitter and powerful natural immune booster.
The oil does come in a dropper bottle, but I use and recommend capsules since it’s so much more convenient (and the oil has a VERY strong taste!).
Well really, I take these everyday. But with up to 80% of the immune system residing in the gut, probiotics are especially helpful in boosting immunity when under the weather.
Elderberries have been used in folk remedies for centuries. There’s no wonder why: studies have found that flu patients who took elderberry juice recovered more quickly than those who did not (in 2-3 days vs. 6). The doctors who conducted the study concluded: “Considering the efficacy of the extract in vitro on all strains of influenza virus tested, the clinical results, its low cost, and absence of side-effects, this preparation could offer a possibility for safe treatment for influenza A and B.” And because of their proven medicinal value, elderberries have been included in the Mosby’s Nursing Drug Reference for the treatment of colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever.
Gaia makes a great elderberry syrup and even has one specifically for kids. You can also make your own elderberry syrup pretty easily if you’re up for it! Check out my Homemade Elderberry + Manuka Honey Cold & Flu Syrup recipe.
Scientists from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of echinacea and concluded that it can reduce the chances of catching a cold by approximately 58% and can reduce the duration of a cold by 1.4 days!
Of course! The immune-boosting benefits of vitamin C are probably what its most well known for. This antioxidant vitamin increases the body’s production of white blood cells and antibodies that fight viruses and bacteria.
Not all vitamin C supplements are created equally. I prefer a raw vitamin C supplement made from whole foods sources. Camu camu powder also acts as a single-ingredient, whole foods source of vitamin C. Good food sources of Vitamin C include red bell peppers, green bell peppers, kale, strawberries, and broccoli. Notice how I didn’t include orange juice!? Well oranges juice may be packed with vitamin C but it’s ALSO loaded with sugars, which suppress the immune system. Best to steer clear of sweet juices when under the weather.
Do you have any other tried-and-true immune boosting must-haves?
Please share with us below in the comments!