As the days get shorter, the promise of cooler fall days greets us each morning. After a summer of unprecedented heat and humidity, the changing season brings with it the promise of colds and cases of the flu. During this transition of seasons— how do we keep ourselves healthy?
For those of you that have access to good quality herbal products like those we carry in-house including Mediherb, Honey Gardens, and our Chinese Medicine suppliers, there are some herbal remedies that may help boost the immune system. For children or those with more sensitive constitutions, Elderberry syrup is a good place to start and we’ve even found some easy-to-take elderberry gummies that work well. There was some concern that elderberry could increase the risk of a cytokine storm with Covid initially in 2020, but further research has shown that to be unlikely and it is considered generally safe for any respiratory infection2. Mediherb has an outstanding Echinacea extract which works very well when taken daily before you get sick. They also carry something called Andrographis Complex which contains a combination of immune-boosting herbs including echinacea (but it’s not recommended for long-term use and is more suitable for a “boost” before you travel or at the first sign of illness or exposure).
For those who don't have access to quality herbs, Vitamin C, either as a supplement or from teas like hibiscus and rose hips, or foods such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes and cruciferous veggies, can be helpful. I also recommend Lysine to boost the immune system against viruses. Lysine can also be very effective at shortening the duration of cold sores that may emerge this time of year. Supplemental Vitamin D can also be helpful and we recommend a liquid form from Metagenics that's easy to take and readily absorbed by the body. Be sure to get your D levels checked at your annual physical!
As far as Chinese herbal formulas, it's important to check with an experienced herbalist before taking them. Yu Ping Feng San (aka Jade Windscreen Decoction) can be very helpful for those that have weak immune systems. Herbal formulas like Microgard which regulate the microbiome in the gut may help improve immune function as well. We will cover what kind of herbs to take if you find yourself with a bug in a future article—so stay tuned!
Lastly, nasal rinsing with buffered saline solution can rinse out any viruses before they have a chance to pass through the mucous membranes. This is also a helpful practice during allergy season to keep pollen and dust out of your nasal passages. We recommend the Nasopure bottles for ease of use and safety or the Xlear Nasal Spray with xylitol for those times when you don’t have time to do a full nasal rinse.
For even more high-quality recommendations, please visit our Fullscript Immune-Boosting Store!
If you take any prescription medications, it is important to check with your healthcare providers before adding any herbal remedies or supplements to your routine.
1 Salleh MR. Life event, stress and illness. Malays J Med Sci. 2008 Oct;15(4):9-18. PMID: 22589633; PMCID: PMC3341916.
2 Wieland LS, Piechotta V, Feinberg T, Ludeman E, Hutton B, Kanji S, Seely D, Garritty C. Elderberry for prevention and treatment of viral respiratory illnesses: a systematic review. BMC Complement Med Ther. 2021 Apr 7;21(1):112. doi: 10.1186/s12906-021-03283-5. PMID: 33827515; PMCID: PMC8026097.
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