Flus, Colds and Viruses love the winter months when people spend more time indoors. The majority of the population generally spends less time getting fresh air and that daily dose of natural Vitamin D that we’re accustomed to during the summer months.
We can do all the usual things to ward off a flu, cold or virus like getting lots of rest, drinking lots of vegetable broths and herbal teas, washing hands, cleaning high touch surfaces, getting lots of Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc and a whole plethora of other immunity building vitamins and supplements. However, when the immune system has been lowered, when we’re tired or stressed, sometimes those nasty germs and viruses can really knock a person down.
And, I’m the type of person that does not like getting knocked down, so will undertake a variety a methods to build my immunity and purify my space naturally to ensure the best possible outcome. Because there are so many environmental factors that add detrimental toxins to our daily lives, I look to nature and ancestral knowledge to keep me and my family safe.
Before COVID, I was always questioning and mildly suspicious of the big idea and easy answer. And, during these times of partial truths and outright lies, I am finding it to be an especially important time to conduct research from reputable sources, engage common sense and shift inner knowing into high gear to point the direction.
This year is just like every other year in that I want a purified, cleansed and healthy space to thrive when flus, colds and viruses are having their party elsewhere. This year is different in that if any of us exhibit symptoms of a cold, flu or virus, our governments have mandated employers and essential service providers to prevent admittance to work, education, health, art and social facilities and the list goes on.
So, here we find ourselves, all of us, in a situation that makes building up immunity more important than ever. If we look past the propagated fear and division, we can find a gem in the virtue of living clean, naturally and wholistically, just like our self-sustaining ancestors who lived off the land did.
This knowledge, tradition, expertise and empirical evidence is available to all who look for it.
Here are some of my top tricks for naturally maintaining the immunity of myself and my family. Like everything you read, hear or watch, do your own research because even natural remedies can have adverse side effects.
1. Boiled Grapefruit and Lemon Peel infusion
This grapefruit peel and lemon peel infusion has analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, antimalarial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and astringent properties. Here is the recipe I use to extract the therapeutic properties from grapefruit peels and lemon peels by boiling:
Peel 3 lemons, 3 grapefruits and place the peels into a pot
Cover with water (fluoride free water is best), about 3 inches above the peels
Put a glass lid on the pot if you have one. A metal lid makes a decent second choice.
Simmer the infusion for about 2 hours
Keep the lid on the pot until the infusion cools completely so that the oils of the peels slowly drip into the liquid below. I usually simmer my batch in the evening and allow it to cool over night.
Squeeze and strain the infusion after it has cooled and transfer the liquid to sealed glass jars. Dark coloured glass jars are best.
For general immunity maintenance, use 2-4 tbsp of liquid per day on an empty stomach.
You can add the liquid to a cup of water and add honey to sweeten. Without honey, the drink is quite bitter. Taste aside, the honey adds some extra immunity building, anti-inflammatory properties on its own.
Herbal teas are excellent choices at any time, but more so during a bout of a cold or flu virus. Teas are useful during a time a virus hits because they warm you from the inside out.
3. Foot Bath containing fresh, garlic, onions, and ginger
With anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-viral and immuno-stimulant therapeutic properties, this foot bath is something I experienced plenty of as a child growing up during cold prairie winters. And, as a mom to four, I’ve used it plenty!
There is plenty of anecdotal and empirical evidence – so-called Old Wives Tales - that share stories of its efficacy. This is what I do in my home:
chop a head of garlic, an onion and a 1 inch knob of ginger
add to a large pot of boiling water and then turn heat down so that the mixture simmers for 15 minutes.
after the water, garlic, onion and ginger mixture has cooled, pour enough of the contents of the pot into a container that is big enough to place your feet into it.
make sure your feet are covered with the water and then sit back to relax with a blanket and a toque upon your head while the soles of your feet absorb all the anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-viral and immunostimulant therapeutic properties.
4. Teaspoon of honey and garlic
Honey is known to assist with many physiological concerns, ranging from healing wounds to bronchial asthma to throat infections, all the way to treating cancer. Honey contains many anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Garlic is known to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular and liver diseases, reduce cancer risk and provide antioxidant, antimicrobial and detoxification effects.
5. Original Immunity Essential Oil Blend
When viruses hit our house, I pull out the big guns to disinfect and KILL the microbes and germs. My go-to natural disinfecting, anti-microbial and anti-viral cleaners typically contain a mixture of Clove Bud, Orange, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Lemon and Cinnamon Leaf essential oils. These essential oils are meant for aromatherapy benefit. Do not ingest them.
This broad spectrum combination of essential oils, aptly named Original Immunity, was inspired from a folklore set during the infamous Bubonic Plague, a significant point in history from which humankind eventually won. The usual story is that a group of thieves during the outbreak were robbing the dead and sick and remained immune to the virus while surrounded by it. When caught, they offered to exchange their secret recipe of herbs, spices, oils and vinegar in exchange for leniency. Versions of this recipe are known by many names and some have graced the walls of museums in Paris.
There are many other combinations of essential oils containing anti-viral, anti-infectious, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. When three or more essential oils are combined, they have the ability to fight a microbe on many fronts.
To use this virus fighting essential oil blend, you can:
· Create a household cleaner. In a one litre spray bottle, add 50 drops of your essential oil blend to equal part vinegar and water. The usual disinfecting, antiviral and antimicrobial DIY household cleaners call for distilled water. Honestly, though, when I’m going guns blazing I don’t care if it comes straight from the tap, simply because I use it so quickly to clean the high touch points in our home. All door knobs and handles, hand-grazed walls, the toilet, countertops and faucets get their dose of this germ fighting, homemade powerhouse. And, when I’m cleaning, I just love being close the smell, inhaling the mixture as I clean – a much better option than inhaling bleach and other chemicals detrimental to health.
· Diffuse in the air. When you are going to be in one place for a period of time, using a diffuser is a great option. If there’s a lot of extra germs around, use 5–10 drops of essential oil per cup of water with your diffuser. Be mindful of the precautions listed with each essential oil as many should not be used in the presence of children, people with medical conditions, pregnant women or pets.
6. Food, Supplements and Herbs
This list of immunity building supplements below is what works for me and my family whenever we need to go the extra mile in upgrading our immunity. In fact, because I personally take each of these supplements and teas listed below on a regular basis, I haven’t caught a cold, flu or other virus in close to three years. Never before have I experienced that length of time of not catching a virus! Other members of my household have caught viruses here and there over the past three years, but when I bring out the big guns listed below, their discomfort is incredibly short lived. Anecdotal and empirical evidence? Absolutely. I’m one to take note of things that have worked for others.
7. Dry brushing for lympathic drainage and movement
The concept of dry brushing for lympathic drainage and movement was a new concept to me when I went into the deep dive to figure out why I had a lump and slight pain in my armpit. That journey opened up new avenues of learning about the function of the lymphatic system and how that correlates to immunity. In very simple terms, the lymphatic system functions to expel toxins and produce immune / antibody producing cells.
So, what is dry-brushing for lymphatic drainage? Watch this video, Dry Brushing for Lymphatic Drainage - Shown the Best way by a Lymphedema Physical Therapist to learn more.
8. Spend time in nature
Have you ever noticed that you open up more and feel so good when you are out in nature?
Consider spending time connecting with the trees, the dirt, the rocks, flowers, plants, rivers, and streams and feel the energy coming off all forms of nature.
Read about what the Japanese have termed shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing in this Time article here or about the health benefits and healing potential of terpenes in forest air in this Semantic Scholar article here.
The natural, clean and refreshing air that you breathe in when amongst trees contains pinene. Pinene is a naturally abundant terpene that provides the fresh, clean scent of many plants, including pine needles, rosemary, and basil. Pinene acts as a bronchodilator, allowing more air into the lungs. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect and may fight against some infectious germs when inhaled.
The transformative nature of the simple, effective and powerful practice of being in nature provides the time and space to reconnect with the world around us. It allows us to process thoughts, improve physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being and unlock creativity.
9. Eliminate dairy, eggs and chicken
The foods we put into our bodies can either help prevent viruses or help feed and support viruses. I follow the advice of the Medical Medium, Anthony Williams when selecting supplements and foods to incorporate or eliminate from my diet. The reason I follow his advice is because I have first hand experience on the healing that takes place when his advice is followed. As always, however, do your research and engage common sense and inner knowing when making decisions. In his book, Thyroid Healing: The Truth behind Hashimoto's, Graves', Insomnia, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules & Epstein-Barr, Anthony Williams discusses eliminating dairy, eggs and chicken from our diets to help prevent viruses:
Dairy products. You might feel fine after eating a piece of cheese or drinking a glass of milk, but these dairy products can silently create chaos by feeding any virus, including a flu virus, Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, any of the HHVs (learn more about the herpes viruses here ); bacteria, such as streptococcus, E. coli or MRSA; and parasites or worms. If you're looking to avoid health issues, including a flu virus, eliminate milk, cheese, butter, kefir, yogurt, ghee, and other dairy products. If you already have the flu, eliminating dairy may reduce your symptoms.
Eggs Also feed pathogens. If you're not willing to give up eggs, bring a hearty amount of raw garlic into the meal. Even though the eggs will feed the flu virus, the raw garlic will help combat the bug.
Chicken. Flu viruses can feed off birds, and they especially love chicken. Bird flu viruses tend to feed off the bird's adrenal glands and flesh cells, which often leads to dangerous and damaging outcomes.
10. Essential Oils
While my go-to antibacterial / anti-microbial / anti-viral properties essential oil blend, Original Immunity, was described in point five above, there are so many more that you can play with when you feel creative. Whenever I have the time and inspiration to concoct something new, I’ll open up the “Sort Essential Oils by Therapeutic Property” spreadsheet to come up with a list of options. I’ll go to my supply of essential oils, take stock of what I have on hand and begin blending. I’m always sniffing along the way, because while the natural therapeutic properties are important, so too is the scent for you, personally. Having a pleasing scent makes the process of cleaning so much nicer; you know that you’re killing the microbes while having a simultaneous healing experience – at least that is how it feels to me! It is like a marriage between the antivirals and the esoteric upliftment of spiritual countenance come together in one magnificent symphony. How does it get better than that?!
Yours in creation,