Herbal and nutritional remedies help to boost the immune system and act directly on infections.
I also like to supplement these botanical remedies with hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy is a great cost-effective way to treat colds and flu and stimulate your immune system.
No specific dosing information for the botanical remedies is provided below as that would be a very individualized process. Please see your licensed ND or MD for dosing and further information.
How To Boost Your Immune System With Botanical Remedies
Many people have heard of Echinacea, or purple cone flower, for infections. It’s found in many prepared cold and flu remedies and for good reason. Echinacea stimulates the immune system to attack infections, and prevent infection progression, reduces inflammation, and promotes healing (vulnerary) when applied topically to sores and cuts
When choosing a product with Echinacea, make sure that it was made with the root of the plant, which has the most active ingredients. Echinacea is very safe, but those on immune-suppressant therapy should be very cautious.
Elder flower (Sambucus nigra)
Elder is a wonderful herb, especially for children, as is it very safe to use and pleasant tasting. It is very effective against colds and flu that have a lot of sniffles and congestion, and it can even help break a fever by inducing sweating. Be sure to find a formulation that uses the flowers of Sambucus.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
In my opinion, garlic is an all-around superstar. Amongst its many useful properties, it is highly anti-microbial. It can kill both viral and bacterial infections, without harming the beneficial gut bacterial – win-win!
The key to taking garlic for infections though is to take it raw. I once chewed a raw clove of garlic – it burns somewhat, and it’s really pungent but doable. If you’re feeling brave or curious, try it, or chop it up and swallow like a pill before bed. For kids, you may want to combine it with the next of the most useful foods to boost immune systems, honey.
Raw honey was recently shown to be more effective against coughs than dextromethorphan (DM) cough syrup. In its unpasteurized form, honey has marvelous anti-microbial properties that can be taken internally or applied topically. Soak chopped garlic in a bit of unpasteurized honey on a sunny window to create your very own infection-fighting syrup. Never give unpasteurized honey to children under 1 years old!
P.S. Learn how the Magic Socks Recipe can help with a cold and flu.