Most of us only notice our immune system when it is working hard. Normally it exists under the radar, removing unwanted guests with every breath. But when germs have penetrated its initial defenses, the immune system kicks into high gear. The battle to restore health leaves us with unwanted side effects that are meant to protect, but often irritate—fevers, coughs, runny noses, sore throats, stuffy heads, aches, and pains.
It is time to nourish our immune system. To build our initial defense so germs can’t penetrate, the best defense is a good offense. Ancient wisdom tells us that health comes when we live in harmony with the cycles of nature. So as temperatures cool, the sun moves north, and we start spending more time in close quarters, it is time to nourish our immune system.
Lifestyle and diet are important factors. Get sufficient rest, exercise, and sun each day; increase digestive power with warm, simple, and spiced foods; and support vital energy with proper vitamins and minerals. A daily neti wash and frequent hand-washing will also remove unwanted germs.
Another source of immune power comes from our herbal allies—plants that offer their healing powers to support our lives. Three well-known immune tonics include:
Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) This cluster of tiny berries has been used for centuries by cultures around the world to keep people healthy throughout the year. Modern science shows that the proteins and bioflavonoids destroy the ability of a cold or flu virus to infect our cells. Taken daily, it does wonders for keeping viruses at bay. Yet it can also be used at the onset of cold and flu symptoms. A tonic dose is ½–1 Tbs. for adults, ½–1 tsp. for kids per day, but for acute situations just up the serving dose to every 2 to 3 hours. While it is easy to find Elderberry syrup (or Sabuca) at most stores, it is just as easy to make at home with honey, water, and berries.