From the Blog
If there is an illness going around the classroom or the kids have been exposed to someone who is unwell, I will often pop a dose of Ferr Phos and a dose of Silica in their water bottles for the next few days. Ferr Phos is known for oxygenating the blood and is the homeopathic remedy for the first sign of illness, while Silica is good for swollen glands, recurring colds and ear and throat infections.
During the flu season, Anas Barb can be helpful as it is usually taken as a preventative for colds and flu. It can be taken fortnightly or monthly, depending on the susceptibility, or a dose when you’ve been in contact with a person who is unwell – a family member, a work colleague or someone who sneezes on you at the supermarket.
Australian Bush Flower Essences can also be helpful when addressing physical ailments as well as emotional issues. The Dynamis blend is intended to kick-start one’s vital life-force and improve energy levels. One of the essences in Dynamis, the Illawarra Flame Tree, is the essence for the immune system. On the days that I am lagging energy or feel I need a boost of energy or immune function, I will add this essence to my water bottle, or take a dose in the morning and night for a couple of days. I have also put this in my kids’ school water bottles if they are a little under the weather, but no obvious symptoms have appeared.
Recently, I have formulated an immune supporting flower essence blend, called Bulletproof, that helps support a healthy functioning immune system at times of stress. I will often put seven drops of Bulletproof in my children's water bottles for school as a preventative and also during times of illness.
The Purifying blend acts on the organs of elimination – the liver, kidneys, bladder and bowels, so taking this essence can help clean out any toxins that are having a negative impact on your digestion and elimination. It’s a good idea to take this remedy after a period of illness and particularly after gastro or stomach aches. By supporting and purifying the organs of elimination, the inflammation and burden on the body is reduced, therefore improving immune function. Emotionally, this essence is designed to release and clear emotional baggage and can leave one with feeling spring cleaned!
Immediately when I think of immune-boosting essential oils, I think of the Thieves blend. It contains powerful oils, such as lemon, clove and Eucalyptus radiata, to defend and protect. It can be diffused around the home if a family member is unwell, or added to coconut oil for an immune-boosting chest rub. I regularly apply a drop of oil on the soles of my children’s feet as either a protective measure if exposed to illness, or to assist their body with fighting an illness.
ImmuPower is a blend specifically formulated to support the body’s natural defences. It contains oils such as hyssop (great at expelling mucous), ravensara (supports healthy respiratory system), clove (antiseptic properties), oregano (anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties) just to name a few.
And of course, single oils such as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, and citrus oils like Lemon, Lime, Lemongrass and Orange also have positive effects on the immune system*. Just be sure to do your research when using essential oils on children under two. Also, citrus oils are usually photosensitive so be mindful if they are applied to areas exposed to the sunlight.*
Recent research is making links between how our diet impacts on the level of stress or inflammation in our body, and how stress/inflammation over an extended period of time can cause disease. The immune system cannot function effectively if the body is burdened with constant inflammation relating to food. Generally, the most common allergens are tree nuts, eggs, wheat and dairy.
Obviously removing the allergen from the diet is the simplest way to reduce inflammation in the body, however sometimes that’s easier said than done. Perhaps the foods causing inflammation have not been identified, or the list is very extensive and requires time to eliminate from the diet. To help keep the immune system on track, there are many nutritional food-derived supplements that can help.
Camu Camu is a berry, grown abundantly along the Amazon River, which has 460 times more Vitamin C than the average orange!! In the powder form, this berry has a citrusy flavour and is not unpleasant. Being a food-based product, the body can assimilate the Vitamin C quickly and easily and put it to good use, fighting off coughs, colds, flus and infection. Sprinkle over museli or yoghurt, or sneak in smoothies and juices. Suitable for children and adults of all ages.
Dehydrated Bone Broth is a convenient and versatile way to improve the health of one’s gut, therefore boosting immune function and reducing inflammation. Bone broth is a natural source of minerals extracted from bones that our bodies can easily absorb.
Colloidal Minerals are minerals, trace elements and nutrients suspended in de-ionised water making them easier for the body to absorb. Minerals such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium, and trace minerals such as zinc, iron and iodine are all part of maintaining good health. With next to no taste, these are a very simple addition to one’s diet to ensure the right balance of minerals and nutrients.
Most of us aren’t very good at eating our ‘greens’ and everyone knows how good the leafy green vegetables like kale, wheatgrass, spirulina and alfalfa are for us as they are full of helpful anti-oxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Adding a green powder, such as the Supreme Green Blend, to your diet is often easier than most think. Sprinkling a small amount over salads or fruit, adding to juices and smoothies, or adding to any meal after it’s finished cooking are just some suggestions. In our household, a smoothie with a green tinge has gone through phases of being Shrek’s juice to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle juice to these days being the Green Ninja’s (Ninjago) juice.
No wellness blog on boosting the immune system would be complete without mentioning probiotics. Many are aware of the benefits of probiotics in terms of boosting immune function and re-populating the gut with good bacteria after illness, and particularly after antibiotics and medications. We use Changing Habits’ All Natural Probiotics as they are a food-based product made from fermented vegetables, herbs, seeds and nutritious grains. One of my children will eat it straight off the spoon, otherwise I mix it in smoothies, dressings, dips and homemade nut butters.
There are plenty other home remedies for fending off illness and here’s a brief list of some other measures you might like to experiment with:
- Chiropractic Adjustments: From our own experience, I believe that a chiropractic adjustment can improve the body’s overall function and boost the efficiency of the immune system.
- Onion and Honey Drink: As soon as my husband gets a scratchy throat, he goes straight for this onion and honey drink. He places one or two slices of onion in a bowl and drizzles some manuka honey over the top, covers it for about 15 minutes and then using a teaspoon, sips the ‘juice’.
- Garlic Socks: Some grandmothers I know strongly believe in putting a clove of garlic on the soles of your feet while wearing socks to fight off illness and boost immune function.
- Onion in the Room: If your partner is sick or you have multiple children in one room, one home remedy is to cut an onion and place it in a bowl in the room and this will reduce the chance of the other people catching the illness.
- Olive Leaf Extract: Available from most chemists, it has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and can also help with parasites. It can be taken as a tonic to keep you fighting fit or in times of illness. Be sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage.
- Plenty of sleep: Ensuring adequate rest will promote more efficient digestion, immune function and regeneration of cells. Sometimes, easier said than done, but try and remember that your health is important.
- Reduce sugar intake: It has been known for some time that too much sugar creates an acidic environment which is the type of environment that virus and bacteria like to thrive.
- Manage stress levels: Again, easier said than done, but well worth considering. Most of us are aware that when stress levels are too high for too long, your health becomes the victim, in more ways than one. Try and engage in activities that reduce stress such as meditation, exercise, catching up with friends or family, etc.
Ok, so I hope these ideas and information has helped you plan on how you are going to stay well this winter. Remember to always do your own research and learn what works for your body. Now, go forth and be Sickness-Busting Warriors!
If, for some unfortunate reason, you do succumb to the dreaded flu or a headcold, check out my wellness blog on Headcolds or Coughs to help minimise the impacts of the symptoms and speed up your recovery time.
*Citrus oils should not be applied to skin that will be exposed to direct sunlight or ultraviolet light within 48 hours.
1. Owen, J. (2010). Homoeopathy for the home prescriber. Western Australia, AUSTRALIA: QDirect.
2. White, I. (2009). Happy Healthy Kids. From conception to age 7 with Australian Bush Flower Essences. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin.
3. Young Living Essential Oils. (2011). Essential Oils Pocket Reference (5th ed.). United States of America: Life Science Publishing.
4. White, I. (1999). Australian Bush Flower Healing, Terrey Hills, New South Wales, AUSTRALIA: Bush Biotherapies Pty Ltd.
5. Owen Homoeopathics. (n.d.). Back to School. Homeopathic Factsheet.
This blog is not intended to replace the service of a qualified practitioner. Any application of the recommendations set forth in this blog is at the reader’s discretion and sole risk.