How to boost your immune system…naturally!

After hearing about Joan’s wonderful experience at the Village Herbalist in Millerton I decided to check out the class about the immune system that I saw posted on Hammertown’s event calendar. Boy, am I glad I did, I learned so much!

As Autumn arrives and we head toward Winter we enter Cold and Flu season. When you work in retail, like me, you’re constantly exposed to viruses and germs.  Unfortunately, (at least in my opinion) there is a push to get the Flu vaccine, even though it is full of harmful ingredients (such as mercury) and there is no evidence it actually decreases the occurrence of the Flu.  Influenza-vaccine-cochrane-collaboration-study

Luckily, there is an alternative and that is herbal medicine.

Plants have been around for millions of years and have thousands of years old relationship with humans. Pharmaceutical medicine has only been around for a hundred years and looks at the human body as separate parts. Herbal medicine looks at the body as a whole and tries to bring it back into balance. Our bodies are bombarded by viral, bacterial and other pathogens and over 1500 chemicals everyday and our immune system is there to protect it. It is important to strengthen our immune system especially during this time of year.

I took a trip to Millerton on a Wednesday evening to find out more from Susanna Raeven of Raven Crest Botanicals who was giving a special class at The Village Herbalist in Millerton. The class was “Winter Health and Healing Herbs.”   There were seven of us there ready to learn all about the immune system and how to support it naturally.

First of all, there are lifestyle choices one can make to support the immune system. Getting enough sleep and exercising at least 30 minutes everyday are important. Get at least 15 minutes of sunshine and fresh air everyday. Learn how to deal with stress and relax. Maybe meditate, do yoga, get a massage, take a bath with essential oils or Epsom salt or find whatever helps you relax.

It is also important to eat nourishing foods. In fact “food is your first medicine.Avoid sugar and sodas. Drink more water and drink some herbal tea everyday, such as lemon balm or raspberry leaf. Traditional Medicinals makes some wonderful herbal tea blends such as “Gypsy Cold Care” and “Breathe Easy.”  Eat whole organic foods when possible, lots of dark leafy greens, fruits, and nuts. Use fresh herbs in your diet for anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial benefits. .

There are many healing herbs to help support the immune system:

  • For the common cold try Goldenseal, Oregon grape root, Osha root, and Propolis.
  • For a strep throat try Echinacea and Usnea.
  • For respiratory infections try Elecampane, Hyssop, Marshmallow, and Garlic.
  • For viral infections such as the Common Flu try Echinacea and St. John’s Wort. There are also herbs that generally build the immune system up such as Astragalus, American Ginseng, and Reishi Mushroom.

The Village Herbalist carries many healing herbs, tinctures and tonics. They carry some of Susanna Raeven’s own products.  Terry Lundquist, herbalist and owner, also offers consultations.  Look out for more educational classes on all things herbal coming soon.  I know I will be returning to The Village Herbalist very soon.


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