Natural Ways to Support Immunity this Winter

Winter season during those cold, dark months doesn’t have to be a scary time for families as there are many natural, safe and very effective options to keep us healthy, off of the couch and away from the tissues box! Here is what I’ve been doing with my family for the past few years with a lot of success!

Natural Ways to Support Immunity

Before I was a natural mama, acetaminophen and ibuprofen were my go-to medicines. I mean, that’s what the pediatricians recommend, right? Aren’t we supposed to be able to trust them? I don’t anymore. As soon as one of the kids got sick, I’d dose them up and hope it would go away, knowing full well that neither of those drugs treat viruses or boost immunity (but really didn’t know any other option). It actually wasn’t until about two years ago when I was pregnant with my third boy, that I started using herbs (like in this cough syrup recipe) and things like apple cider vinegar and colloidal silver to boost our immunity.

I learned how our bodies can heal themselves if given the right tools – that medicines mask symptoms but do not heal the root cause of disease. Now that we use these natural methods, we have not had to visit a single doctor or other medical institution for more than a year and a half! Think of all the money, headache and time we’ve saved. The answers for our health really do lie in nature! And the best part is, they have empowered me to be able to take care of my family at home – we are not at the mercy of our doctors, pharmacy, or insurance company!

Find a Naturopath or a Holistic Practitioner

Last winter, I decided to find a naturopath instead of always running to the pediatrician (this was before I really got into using essential oils). I love the naturopath (they are medical doctors but are trained in holistic medicine – the best of both!) because he would adjust us and give us medicine like Virex and Bac-T, which are just very concentrated herbal tinctures. They worked pretty well to help us when we got sick, so I bought several bottles of each last year. Plus, he gave me tons of dietary advice that has really helped with my eczema problems.

I have a new chiropractor this year and she also sells these types of herbal tinctures. I use them in conjunction with essential oils and we are better in a few days, without a single trip to the doctor!

Colloidal SilverApple Cider Vinegar and Colloidal Silver

I’ve written about both of these awesome remedies from nature before, but they really are helpful. When I’m sick, I’ll drink an apple cider vinegar tonic two times that day to help and I’ve noticed a big difference. One time, I was feeling feverish and there was quite a lot of blood in my urine. I drank two tonics before bed that night and woke up to clear urine and no aches! I did it one more time just to make sure it’d stay away, and it did. I will put it in apple juice and give to the kids when they are under the weather, too, along with essential oils.

Colloidal silver helps to fight germs and is totally tasteless, so the kids will take that one, too!

Food Can Heal or Destroy

My perioral dermatitis incident in 2013 shocked me into overhauling our family’s diet. Sadly, it often takes a health crisis before most of us will change our diets, including me. I’d be better off now if I had started sooner! I changed over all the food in our house to real food and started the GAPS diet. That’s when we started getting sick much less often and when we did get sick, we’d never end up with infections or major illnesses. When I cheat (like at bunco every month, which sometimes feels totally worth it!), I am much more moody, less patient and my eczema flares up for a week after.

To me, it is so simple. What goes in, comes back out – feed your body real, nourishing food and it will be strong and serve you well. Our bodies are machines like cars – give them the wrong fuel, and they will not perform. But the thing about bad food is that it slowly kills and causes chronic disease, so many think they are okay because they aren’t gaining weight and feel okay.

Real food is anything with less than five ingredients and all of those ingredients are food (not monosaccharide or dextrose) – shop the perimeter of the grocery store and buy as much organic as you can. See all my real food recipes here!

My Favorite Immune Supporting Supplements

Take Your Vitamins, Honey

I can feel a big difference when I’m not taking my supplements. It’s like a God-given barometer, a warning light that my system is not okay!

NingXia Red

This delicious drink is awesome for boosting immunity, among many other things. It’s very high in antioxidants due to the Ningxia Wolfberry that comes from Ningxia, China. It actually neutralizes four of the most dangerous free radicals! I suggest taking 1-2 ounces a day per the product recommendation for immune support. Once I start to feel something coming on, I do have another two ounces a day. The bonus is that it is delicious! I have found that it has really helped with my overall immunity, skin flare-ups and energy.

NingXia red also:

  • Promotes wellness, energy and vigor
  • Protects the body and contributes to better health
  • Helps maintain normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Supports a healthy immune system

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.) To read more about this amazing supplement, click here.

Fish Oil

Just like everything else, there’s fish oil, then there’s fish oil. You get what you pay for and grocery store fish oil just never made me feel any different or helped my skin, until I switched to ProOmega 3 by Nordic Naturals (Young Living also makes a really great one that I’m now using called OmegaGize³™, which also includes Vitamin D3!). What’s so special about fish oil? Well, according to WebMD,

“All diseases have a common genesis in inflammation,” says Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor and vice chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Co-author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory. Maroon says that in large enough amounts, omega-3’s reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions.

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.)

Liquid Vitamin D3

My chiropractor suggested I take extra doses of Vitamin D as taking it in the same pill as my fish oil was not enough. It has really helped with my skin issues (see those here). What I didn’t know is how much it would improve my immunity, mood and overall outlook on life. I can really tell when I forget to take my Vitamin D! (where to buy)

Essentialzymes

These are very high-quality digestive enzymes to help you digest your food! Why is that important? Because, due to our modern conventional lifestyles and the standard American diet, most of us lack the necessary enzymes in our stomachs and digestive systems to properly digest our food. And digestion is key to good health – if your body can’t use the fuel you give it properly, then it’s going to run low on fuel! I have found these particular enzymes (read more here) help tremendously after I eat a meal – I don’t feel bloated or (sorry) gassy, or sleepy. I give them to my kids, too (just open up the capsule and hide it in their food or some juice).

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.)

Probiotics

I love Young Living’s Life 5 Probiotics. I’ve tried a bunch of different brands, and some have worked better than others. This is one of those better ones! It has 8 billion cultures and five probiotic strains, with 2 super strains. Probiotics are essential for good health as they boost the good bacteria in the small intestines (gut), which keep the bad bacteria in check. I give my kids probiotics every day and it has really helped (along with Ningxia Red) to keep their skin from flaring up and keep sickness at bay! What I love about this particular brand from Young Living is that it contains five  essential in the capsule (along with other ingredients), like ginger, fennel, anise, rosemary and tarragon!

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.)

ImmuPro Chewable Tablets

This is a fruit-flavored chewable capsule (great for those who can’t swallow pills) that contains the Ningxia wolfberry, which is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants! It also contains beta glucan, which has been shown in studies to enhance the immune system’s response and to help maintain cholesterol levels. It contains other foods such as organic reishi and maitake mushrooms, which support the activity of antibodies and natural killer cells. It also contains minerals such as calcium, zinc, selenium, and copper, all needed for proper immune function. Read more here.

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.)

InnerDefense

This is a capsule that you can take when illness strikes, or when you think you’re coming down with something. It is an easy way to take essential oils internally. It contains quite a few very powerful, germ-fighting oils like clove, oregano, thyme, lemongrass, lemon, eucalyptus radiata, rosemary and cinnamon bark. It is diluted in virgin coconut oil and beeswax. Take 1-2 capsules a day to keep the immune system strong, or more when sick.

(This is not sold in stores – it is sold through Young Living and can be purchased here.)

Gelatin – Grassfed

Gelatin, which comes from the bones of cows, used to be a traditional food found in traditionally prepared soups, stews and sauces but has now almost all but disappeared from the American diet. However, I’m very excited to see that it is making a comeback with many of us switching back to real food, traditional diets like the one outlined in my favorite cookbook, Nourishing Traditions (where to buy). It is most known for its ability to aid in digestion and soothe the GI tract, which helps to support skin nail and hair growth, joints, digestion, and is a great source of protein!

I put it in my herbal tea every night make homemade jello with it, which is one of our favorite, real-food desserts around here. (where to buy gelatin from grass-fed cows)

 

About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.

Comments

  1. Hi Sara! What recipes have you used for jello?
    Cory

  2. Hi there!

    So nice to see you posting about natural ways to boost immunity….. however, it would be nice if we could eat more foods to do the same, rather than taking what often ends up to be expensive supplements.

    Also, I would challenge you to try something new next time you feel yourself coming down with a bug. I took a course on Jin Shin Jyutsu, which is an energy harmonizing modality and it is fabulous! The “hold” I use the most often is what we call the immune hold. My family has used it in the last three months since I took the course and have wonderful success with stopping bugs in their tracks!

    To do the hold: Put your right hand over your left shoulder, with your fingers reaching back towards your spine. Put your left hand in the crease of your leg at your groin. Hold these two points until you feel a pulse start – which is what you want to feel….then you can hold it a bit longer until both pulses match and are strong. Then switch hands and do the other side.

    We have had this stop sore throats before developed into anything more. I’ve also had several colds go from the sneezy/tickle nose start and then skip to the end where I had a still somewhat stuffed feeling nose, but that cleared quickly and I never had to go through the runny nose and miserable part of it! Needless to say, I’ve been so delighted with the results that I tell everyone now! 🙂

    • Hi Leanne! I totally agree with you about supplements – they can get so expensive. I’ve found that they are very helpful when you’re changing over from a conventional, processed diet and lifestyle to a natural one as the gut and organs are usually so damaged and not working correctly. They have really helped for me to speed healing, but thankfully, my body has healed so much in the past year and a half that my supplements have gone way down. I do eat a very strict mostly Paleo diet, so I agree with you, we can get our healing from the right foods!

      That is SO cool about the Jin Shin Jyutsu!! I’m going to try that for sure as that’s so easy! I’ve seen reflexology work before, so I believe it can be very effective. Thanks for sharing!

  3. You really have a lot going on there with the supplements. Glad you are opting for natural medicines instead of grabbing antibiotics on the first signs of cough. Thank you for sharing.

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