Autumn Immune Newsletter
It’s time to get Winter ready!
The Autumn chill has arrived and with the change of season comes possible illness for those with weakened immune systems. What causes the immune system to weaken? Stress, fatigue, emotional upset, not enough sleep, working long hours, poor diet, previous illness that hasn’t been completely cleared from the body….and the list goes on. No one is exempt – it can happen at any time to anyone…..you then come into contact with a nasty pathogen and your body struggles to fight it off leaving you suffering.
So what can we do (besides get enough rest, eat well, find lifestyle balance and manage our stress) to remain as healthy as possible and prime our immune systems in preparation for the colder months? Below are some useful tips that I use and recommend to clients for this time of year:
Look after your Gut Health
Western Medical Science has finally confirmed what Eastern Medicine has known for centuries, that the foundation of the immune system lies in the Gut. Therefore, a healthy gut will assist to build a strong and healthy immune system. So how can we ensure our gut is healthy?
Firstly, I always recommend that clients take a probiotic supplement – I feel that we should all take one daily, however it is especially imperative during times of illness, while taking synthetic medications or when wanting to boost health. A practitioner prescribed product will be superior in quality and concentration to those you can buy over the counter, so please get in touch if you would like to find out more.
Bone broth is such a lovely food at this cooler time of year, and has so many therapeutic benefits. The slow cooking of animal bones releases many nutrients essential for healing and priming the gut. My preference is chicken, but any animal will do, but please ensure you use Organic bones. Cover the bones or pieces in a large pot with filtered water, add a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and stand for 30 minutes. This process leeches out vital minerals and goodness from the bones. Add whatever vegetables and herbs/spices you like (usually put in some garlic, parsley, bay leaf, carrot and celery but you could make your own combination), bring to the boil and then reduce to a very low simmer. Cook for a minimum of 6-8 hours, but the longer the better particularly with chicken. I usually leave my chicken broth on for 12-24 hours. You can also do this in a slow cooker. Strain off the liquid and store in the fridge and/or freezer. A cup of bone broth first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day, otherwise you can just use it like soup, or to cook other foods in (e.g saute veges, poach eggs, cook rice/quinoa etc). This is a great thing for kids to ingest too even in the smallest of quantities.
Fermented foods are great for the gut – products such as sauerkraut/kimchi, sourdough bread, kombucha, kefir and good quality (no sugar added) yoghurt or cheese are all useful.
Vitamin C & Zinc
These are two vital vitamins for the immune system – not only for treating illness when it strikes, but also in priming the body to fight off any invaders. I personally like a powdered Vitamin C as it is absorbed nice and quickly by the body and is easy to take in large quantities. The product I prescribe for clients also has Zinc added and tastes delicious, so the kids like it too! If taking a tableted form of Vitamin C, I suggest a minimum dose of 1000mg per day. It’s a good idea to take this all the way through the colder months as part of a vitamin regime.
Cover the neck!
In these colder months try and never leave the back of your neck exposed. Stock up on scarves in all different textures and colours and make it part of your winter wardrobe! According to Chinese Medicine the ‘wind gates’ sit at the back of the neck and upper back. These points are vulnerable to invading ‘wind’ and pathogens if left exposed. Have you ever had a stiff neck and or back with a cold? This is a clear sign that your ‘wind gates’ have been attacked.
Some useful supplements
If you are unfortunate to come down with a lurgy this Autumn/Winter then there are some great products which I always suggest having the medicine cabinet.
Panaxea AV/AT is a great anti-viral that if taken at the onset of illness will shorten the duration and severity. Also, being an anti-viral it is useful for when standard medication isn’t suitable for your presentation.
Panaxea Antibiobotanical is another great product to have on hand. This natural antibiotic is a safe and effective alternative to conventional antibiotics.
Yin Qiao San is an ancient Chinese Medical formula used for upper respiratory infections marked by sore throats. It’s always important to have this formula prescribed by a practitioner to ensure you are presenting with the appropriate symptoms for it’s usage, but if you have it on hand you can always do this via an email or phone call.
Schuessler Tissue Salts are particularly useful for children, however I use them myself if needed and prescribe them for adult clients when they have a stubborn cough or cold. The two used for flu’s and colds are Kali Mur and Ferr Phos. Kali Mur is a great glandular tonic and useful for mopping up an excess of mucus. Ferr Phos can prevent colds from developing further and becoming inflammatory.
Lotus Leaf cough syrup is a great one for phlegmy coughs and great for children as it tastes great. There are a few different brands that are available.
Happy to help.
As well as the above products there are hundreds more which are useful for both adults and children alike, as well as Acupuncture treatment and cupping, so please do get in touch if you or your loved ones fall ill this season, and after a short consultation the appropriate regime can be determined. Appointments are held in my Frenchs Forest clinic, but Skype and email consults can be organised as well for those that are not in the local vicinity.