It started with the kids. First the little one. When she got better the big one came down with it. Then my husband. Finally, once I had them all back to fully-functioning, it hit me. And it was one nasty bug, bringing on the fever, body aches, headaches, and sore throat with a vengeance.
I guess I got a little cocky, getting through the best of winter without a sickness-induced shutdown at our house. I let up on our winter-immune-system-routine a little early. One day of temperatures in the 60’s and I’m all like “IT’S SPRIIIIIING!” (in my best Oprah voice).
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nutritionist, herbalist, or professional healer of any variety. I am just a mom who uses what she knows to work from experience and from learning from others. Please learn the proper and healthy way to use any of these natural immune system boosters, and always talk to your doctor about any changes to your diet and before taking any supplements.
Normally, if one of my crew gets a bug any time of the year I am all over boosting my own immune system so that I can continue to care for these guys at my best. But this time I failed miserably at that.
This bug had my kiddos up through the night, which meant I was up through the night. For almost a week, I was a mom-zombie (or a mombie, if you want to get really cute), working on very little sleep and drinking mostly coffee all day every day. Looking back, I know I drank very little water, I am sure I forgot my vitamins at least a couple of days, and I was not eating properly. Not to mention, I did absolutely nothing to boost my immune system to head this bug off at the pass.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the number one way to keep your immune system healthy. Eating right, being active, drinking plenty of water. Those are all essential.
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There are also measures you can take in addition to a healthy lifestyle to help boost your immune system when sickness strikes those close to you. Here are a few of my top picks.
1. Vitamin C – The old standby. Vitamin C is the classic immune system supporter. You don’t have to take it as a supplement either – citrus fruits (among many other fruits and veggies) are a great source and have other healthy benefits as well. But if you want to get a big dose, a high-quality supplement as well. Camu camu powder is a great one because it is an all-natural source of vitamin C. The best way to use it is in smoothies (my opinion, of course).
2. Echinacea – Another classic. You can take this in capsules, but I prefer to drink echinacea tea. My favorite is this one by Traditional Medicinals. Their teas are not just designed to taste good. Their herbalists actually use Traditional Herbal Medicine to create herbal combinations that are known to work. They also use plants sustainably grown in their native environment, pay fair wages, and are against GMOs.
3. Elderberry Syrup – I started using this one when I had kids. I actually thought elderberry syrup was something just for kids, until I actually started using it and learning more about it. Turns out, grown-ups can use it too! Many people make this syrup themselves, but I haven’t gotten that brave yet. I use this one and my kids use this one.
4. Astragalus Root – A rather new one to me, astragalus root has actually been a staple in ancient Chinese medicine. You can take it as a capsule or drink it as a tea. When I first learned about this, the first thing I did was try to find a Traditional Medicinals tea containing astragalus root, but I don’t think they have one. You can get it from Mountain Rose Herbs though.
5. Ginger Root – Ginger root is well-known for supporting digestive health, and is a popular remedy for upset stomach. While it isn’t specifically known as an immune system booster, I do like to drink Ginger Aid tea regularly and believe health digestion is really important for keeping up your defenses against seasonal sickness. You can also simply use it in everyday cooking rather than drink it as a tea.
6. Garlic – Garlic is widely known for its health benefits. Garlic’s natural germ-fighting properties make it a fantastic addition to your sickness prevention arsenal. The best part is that just using garlic in your cooking is a good way to get it in. My family loves garlic, so this is a really easy for us. If you or your kids don’t like the taste of garlic, you can find supplements online (like here and here).
7. Sunshine – Yep, good old fashioned sunshine. Exposure to sunlight helps your body absorb vitamin D, which is essential to immune system health. And not to get all hippy-dippy on you, but I truly believe just being in nature has amazing healing benefits too. There is something about breathing in fresh air and being surrounded by nature that seems to give me a boost.
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How do you keep your family and yourself from catching the bugs going around? Do you use homemade remedies? I’d love to know your recipes! Share your tips with us below!