With flu season in full swing, peaking from December through February (according to the CDC), we would do just about anything to ward off the evil bug. From hand sanitizer to popping extra vitamin C, we try to avoid flu germs, well, like the plague. So what’s the best strategy in the fight against germs? Beside incorporating standard precautions such as good hand hygiene, exercising and eating real, unprocessed foods, have you ever considered using plant-based, natural products to help boost your immune system and keep germs at bay? Take a look at three of our favorite immune boosting and germ fighting natural remedies below.
Dating back to the 15th century, thieves oil was a concoction created by a group of four thieves who robbed graves. The thieves covered themselves with aromatic herbs and oils because they didn’t want to contract disease and germs from the bodies of the gravely ill and deceased. When their crime spree was up and they were apprehended, they disclosed their recipe in order to receive a less severe punishment for their crimes. Little did they know, they were actually on to something. In fact, studies conducted at Weber State University showed thieves oil to have a 96 percent success rate against airborne bacteria and it has even been shown to be effective against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Trust us, it is amazing! Want to make it yourself? Check out our recipe below:
Thieves Oil Recipe
2 tsp. Clove 100% Pure Essential Oil
1 1/2 tsp. Lemon 100% Pure Essential Oil
1 tsp. Cinnamon Bark 100% Pure Essential Oil
3/4 tsp. Eucalyptus 100% Pure Essential Oil
1/2 tsp. Rosemary 100% Pure Essential Oil
How to Use Thieves Oil
Topical Application: Apply diluted 1:4 ratio, 1 drop of thieves oil to 4 drops carrier oil(we use organic sunflower oil or fractionated coconut oil) to arms, hands, legs, soles of feet, back, chest and stomach. Caution: Do not use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Diffuse: Diffuse thieves oil in an essential oil diffuser or in a pot of simmering water on the stove. Studies have shown that when diffused, thieves oil kills up to 96% of airborne bacteria.
All Purpose Spray: Add 3-6 drops of thieves oil for every 1/2 ounce of distilled water, a 1%-2% dilution. Shake well before use. Happy disinfecting!
Elderberries contain natural substances called flavonoids which help reduce swelling, fight inflammation, and boost the immune system. According to an article written in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, elderberry extract has been found to inhibit replication of human influenza viruses Type A and B which cause the annual influenza epidemics. Studies have also shown that elderberry extract eases symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, fatigue, cough, and body aches. According to the study, “A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days.” The benefits seem to be greatest when started within 24 to 48 hours after the symptoms begin.
How to Use Elderberries
For flu relief or prevention, some studies have used 1 tablespoon of an elderberry syrup four times a day. Also available are elderberry lozenges, with added zinc, which are taken numerous times a day after a cold begins as well as elderberry extract capsules (follow manufacturer’s directions).
Did you know that low vitamin D levels correlate with a greater risk of respiratory infection (as well as depression and different types of cancer)? Sunlight triggers the skin’s production of vitamin D but during the winter months it isn’t as easy to get in the recommended 10-15 minute exposure (minus sunscreen). No wonder influenza runs ramped during the winter months! According to a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, supplementation with “vitamin D3 during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A” and this was found to be especially true in children.
Recommended Daily Allowance: Visit the National Institutes of Health website for the daily recommended allowances of Vitamin D for all stages in life.
Now that you know our favorite natural immune boosters, we would like to know how you boost your immune system during the winter months? Post your comments below!
Note: The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Contact your physician prior to taking new supplements or starting a new exercise or diet regime.