I thought this might be a good time to share some ideas about natural methods of boosting the immune system. There’s plenty you can do for yourself to keep the immune system strong… Links provided for more detail
1. Get Plenty Of Sleep
Lack of sleep significantly impairs the function of the immune system. I know that it’s not always as simple as just saying ‘I’m going to sleep more’, but at the very least, pay attention to your sleep-hygiene and pre-bed routine, and give yourself as much time as you need to get your nightly shut-eye.
2. Use Probiotics
The health of your digestive bacteria directly impact the strength of your immune system. The best way to keep it healthy is regular consumption of a range of different live, fermented foods such as komucha, sauerkraut and kimchi. If you buy these, make sure they’re LIVE and not pasteurised, so the bacteria are still present. Better still to make your own. I’ve written a lot about this, search the blog or take a look at my Beginner’s Guide To Fermentation.
If you can’t or don’t want to make or eat fermented foods, the next best thing is to boost your gut bacteria with some good probiotics. They’re easy to get these days, and it doesn’t seem to make a massive difference which type you get. I normally use Higher Nature
3. Supplement with Vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for immune function, and a lot of people are deficient, especially in the winter as we haven’t had much exposure to the sun. Vitamin D absorption depends on adequate levels of Vitamins A and K2, so it’s ideal to take all 3 together, and the best source is natual, unrefined Cod Liver Oil (most commercial Cod Liver Oil is highly processed, and doesn’t have the vitamins in) – I use Armorica Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
4. Reduce Sugar
Even small amounts of sugar have an immediate immune-lowering effect, from around an hour or so after eating. To boost your immune system, lower your sugar intake to a minimum.
5. Use Medicinal Mushroooms
All mushrooms contain polysaccharides with immune-boosting functions, and the so-called ‘medicinal mushrooms’ especially excel in this regard. Shiitake muchrooms are readily available fresh and dried, and can be eaten regularly. Among the mushrooms taken as supplements, Cordyceps and Chaga both have proven antiviral effects. This 7-mushroom extract is excellent: MycoNutri Organic PS7 (For anyone coming to my clinic, ask me if you’d like some – I’m keeping in a supply of it)
6. Eat Garlic and Fresh Ginger
Both of these foods have strong antiviral effects, and can be eaten regularly. Note that ginger needs to be fresh to work in this way – dried ginger has a completely different effect. You can use slices of fresh ginger to make a tea. My Chinese herb teacher in China, Dr Feng, has the habit of keeping a chunk of raw ginger in his cheek in the winter, and munching on it during the day to keep colds and flu at bay! Garlic oil is also available in capsules as a supplement.
7. Get Some Moxa
Moxibustion involves burning Chinese mugwort to apply heat to an area or specific acupoint. It has a very long history of use for strengthening the Qi and preventing illness and disease. There are various techniques. Contact your local acupuncturist to ask about this kind of treatment (If you’re in or near Bristol, contact me to ask about getting some moxa done for yourself)
Note.. If you CATCH coronavirus, these tips still apply, but you also want to consider herbal medicine – click for more info on Chinese Herbal Medicine For Coronavrius/COVID-19