Boosting your Immune System, Naturally

What an interesting time we are living in! It’s hard to think of anything else except the coronavirus, COVID-19. Whilst we are all aware of the hygiene policies in place to decrease the spread of this virus, the naturopathic principal of ‘prevention is better than cure’ is like a neon sign flashing in my brain right now.

Below I have outlined a number of herbs and foods that, whilst not directly associated with treatment for COVID- 19, will help to stimulate your immune system to make sure it is primed to fight whatever immune attack it is faced with. 

It is not only COVID-19 that is circulating at the moment. The change in seasons has caused an increase in colds and flu and therefore anything you can do to enhance your immune system at present is recommended.

Here are my top recommendations to help boost your immune system, naturally: 

1. Garlic:

Increase your garlic intake – with bonus points given if you can eat raw garlic. Garlic is an anti-viral as well as an antibacterial and anti-fungal. It also enhances the function of specific white blood cells. In other words it is the super hero for our immune system and luckily, it tastes great. Eating it raw increases the benefits. Try squishing the garlic clove with the edge of your knife and then cutting it into 4 pieces and swallowing it like a tablet. If you are around someone who has a virus or cold, try eating a piece every 3-4 hours.


2. Onion:

Onion contains the same constituent as garlic, allicin, and therefore eating raw onion will get your white blood cells in action. Adding raw onion to a salad is easy and delicious. Luckily, in this time of self-isolating you don’t even need to worry about your breath!


3. Vitamin C:

Vitamin C is well known for its role in immune support. Vitamin C helps to stimulate the immune system by increasing and activating white blood cells. 

Your body can only take up 1000mg of Vitamin C at a time, so swallowing a handful of vitamin C tablets wont be as beneficial as taking 1 every few hours. When I’m sick, I take up to 4 a day, spread out over the day.

4. Zinc:

Zinc has been found to decrease the severity and length of the common cold. If you have low levels of zinc your immune system is compromised, making you more susceptible to bacterial, viral and fungal infections. 

If you can’t get your hands on zinc supplements, increase the following foods: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sun-dried tomatoes, tahini, cashews, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and brazil nuts.

5. Echinacea:

Echinacea is a beautiful herb and has both immune stimulating and immune modulating affects. Echinacea has been used for treating infections for centuries and is my number one go to herb when you feel that tickle in the throat. 


6. Licorice:

Licorice is a tasty herb and a potent anti-viral. High doses of licorice was found to block the replication of the SARS associated coronavirus. Licorice is great as a tea, but if you want it in a therapeutic dose, contact me or another naturopath. 

7. Elderberry:

Elderberry is a delicious fruit and also a potent anti-viral, with studies proving its ability against the flu virus. Unfortunately elderberry syrup off the shelf won’t cut it. If you want to boost your immune system before the next flu season, please get in contact. 

8. Water:

Increase your water intake. Water is the liquid of the gods and drinking filtered water will help to flush out toxins and foreign invaders. Drinking 2-3 litres a day will allow your body to function well and allow good blood flow to transport all those healthy nutrients you are eating.


9. Organic Fruit and Vegetables:

The best way to prevent illness is eating for your health. A diet rich in organic fruits, vegetables and whole grains will give you all the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy immune system. Avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar as these are toxins for your body, increasing the work load and using up precious energy