6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Winterize You: 6 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System

 

 

Now is the time to begin to prepare your body for the cold months where people are more likely to deal compromised health issues, such as the flu, colds, pneumonia, and various viruses. You can even start as early as August. For those of you that have kids, we all know how they seemingly have a knack of bringing home those little extra special surprises while they were having so much fun playing with sick little Jimmy or Kim.  Since we can’t put our kids in a bubble to protect them like the movie “Bubble Boy”, or stay in our house like a hermit until it gets warm again; then we may want to consider a more balanced approach.  We take certain measures to winterize our homes every year, why not do the same for our bodies?  One of the best ways to do this is to boost your immune system.

 

First, let’s take a brief moment to understand some basics on how our immune system works. Our immune system involves parts of all of our other systems down to the cellular level in helping it keep us healthy.

It’s somewhat like our body’s superhero; always busy working to stop the bad guys to keep the good guys safe. But even Superman fell helpless when around kryptonite, as our immune system does when exposed to an overload of what it considers to be foreign elements, such as bacteria, viruses, and toxins.  Let’s look at 6 natural ways to give our superhero system a boost of strength.

 

 

Elderberry picElderberry

We all know that vitamin C is an immune booster, but so is elderberry. This deep, purplish fruit has been used for its medicinal benefits for centuries throughout the world.  It has more Vitamin C than oranges, and is high in flavonoids and antioxidants. It also has Vitamin A and B, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, mildly laxative, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties. Viruses have spikes that help them penetrate cells to get in and multiply. Evidence indicates that elderberry’s potent antiviral properties may help to neutralize those spikes so the virus can’t invade the cell. Studies suggest that elderberry could shorten the duration of the flu or cold by around 3 days, may help relieve nasal congestion, break fevers by promoting sweating, promotes good circulation, and enhances immune function. There are several ways that you can use elderberry. Only use the fruit or flower of the black elder.

Tea: Steep 3 – 5g of dried elder flower in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 – 15 minutes. Strain and you may drink it 3 times per day.

Tincture: You may take between 20 – 60 drops, 2 – 3 times a day.

Syrup/ Lozenge/ Nasal Spray: You can also find elderberry in the ingredients of popular products.

 

 

olive-leaf-extract2Olive Leaf

We are familiar with using olive oil in healthy cooking, or hair and skin products. But the olive leaf extract is another beneficial part of the olive tree. Researchers have found it to have antioxidant, antiviral, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory properties making it a strong immune system enhancer. Studies suggest that olive leaf compounds such as oleuropein, interferes with a virus’s production. In other words, it has the ability to halt the virus’s activity to penetrate the cell, replicate, and spread. This is why olive leaf may be beneficial in fighting common colds, influenza, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or known as Mono, and other viral infections. This herb is commonly taken in pill and liquid form.

 

 

Astragalus Astragalus pic

This herb is most known for its immune enhancement abilities. It’s often used in Chinese medicine to build and strengthen the immune system. Research shows that astragalus has the ability to restore the activity of a suppressed immune system, improve T-cell activity (immune system soldiers so to speak), and be effective against the common cold and upper respiratory infections. It’s often combined with other immune boosting herbs such as Echinacea for a short-term, immune booster power punch. The root is the part of astragalus that’s used in tea, tincture, ointment, powder, and pill form. Here are some helpful guidelines for usage.

 

 

 

 

Echin

Goldnseal

 

 

 

 

 

Echinacea/Goldenseal

I know that these two herbs have been scrutinized over the years, but they have been used for centuries for their medicinal benefits. They are like the Batman and Robin of immune support. Both potent herbs are known for their antiviral, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Research has shown that echinacea may boost immune system activity resulting in faster recovery, fight a variety of infections, promote skin wound healing, and reduce inflammation. Studies suggest that a compound in goldenseal called berberine, has the ability to soothe infected or inflamed mucous membranes, boost the immune system, shorten the duration of colds, flu, and other respiratory infections, and inhibits bacteria from adhering to tissue surfaces.

They can be used individually, but are often used together because they complement each other so well. It’s better to use them at the onset of cold, flu, or other respiratory infections, rather than as an ongoing preventive method. Read more on usage tips and the variety of ways echinacea and goldenseal can be taken.

 

 

Colloidal-Silver1Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver was more commonly used as a natural antibiotic and disinfectant for many years until the modern antibiotic medications became more popular in the 1940s. It has been said to have exhibited antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties when used in its best form, very tiny silver particles (the smaller the better). It has been a controversial supplement, but I will only speak about what I know through research and experience. The International Space station and the Russian Space station, Mir, used colloidal silver to purify water, and the World Health Organization (WHO) uses it to disinfect drinking water in third–world countries. This has been a staple in my home for 15+ years. I initially began using it because my youngest son, a baby at the time, kept catching whatever my oldest two brought home from school. And my daughter would easily get ear infections every year. I was just tired of conventional medicine that was no longer effective. As parents, you know that you’ll search high and low for effective solutions when your kids are sick, for their sake and yours. You just want things to get back to normal. Colloidal silver helped my family do that. My son eventually stopped getting sick so often, and if an illness did sneak up on us, then it wouldn’t last long. The same went for my daughter and those dreadful ear infections. Since then, I’ve experienced positive results for its usage with pink eye, colds, flu, other viral and bacterial infections, aid in wound healing, acne (accidently stumbled across that one), irritated skin or rash, and sinuses. Colloidal silver hasn’t been a ‘cure-all’; no supplement, herb, or medication is, but it has been beneficial to my family and others that I’ve met in many ways. I’ll leave the door open for you to decide if it’s a good option for you and your family.

 

 

GarlicGarlic

Garlic is a great way to utilize food as an immune booster. Of course you can use the supplement too. But garlic’s therapeutic power punch is more potent when the raw bulb is chewed, juiced, or crushed and consumed within 10–45 minutes. It’s known to have antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Research has shown that one of garlic’s compound, allicin, blocks key enzymes that helps viruses and bacteria invade cells and damage tissues. Studies have also shown garlic to effectively be used as an immune enhancer, decongestant and expectorant for common colds, mucus regulator, improve circulation and much more. I know many of you may be intrigued by the information about garlic, but then think of the smell. Cut the bulbs up and add them last to a great tasting bowl of soup or other food. Parsley and real peppermint are also good counters for the strong odor, so you can still reap the benefits of a powerful superfood.

 

 

You may find that any of these or a combination of them may become one of your favorites in helping you to winterize you. So, after (or before) you finish with your trip to pick up your winter essentials from Lowe’s, Home Depot, or wherever you go, then stop on by House of Health and do the same.

 

Stay warm and healthy!

 

 

 

Disclaimer

These statements are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

 

References

Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. J Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.

 

Barak V, Halperin T, Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6.

 

University of Maryland Medical Center/ Elderberry

 

Panizzi L et al. The constitution of oleuropein, a bitter glucoside of the olive with hypotensive action. Gazz. Chim. Itla; 1960; 90: 1449-85.

 

http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-olive-leaf.html

 

Zhao KS, Mancini C, Doria G. Enhancement of the immune response in mice by Astragalus membranaceus extracts. Immunopharmacology. 1990;20:225-233

 

http://www.wholehealthmd.com/astragalus

 

Shah SA, Sander S, White CM, et al. Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2007; 7(7):473–480.

 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/goldenseal

 

http://www.wholehealthmd.com/echinacea and goldenseal

 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/garlic

 

http://www.wholehealthmd.com/garlic

 

Weight Loss – Many Roads Well Traveled

 

weight loss sign 2

In the age where the answers to anything lie at our fingertips, it’s a wonder why we still haven’t found the perfect solution to losing that tire around our waists or the thunder on our thighs. For all of our similarities and the things that biologically bond us as human beings – it’s often that same biology that sets us so far apart. What gave you your muffin top may not be what gave your mother-in-law her turkey neck, or your buxom co-worker her seemingly unachievable “assets.”

 

So where do YOU start? Why did “this” diet work for so-and-so, but left you with a bigger waistband and a few bucks poorer? These questions are all too common, however, the solution can often be found in the problem. Finding the cause of your bloated issue can be the biggest part of your weight loss challenge.  And that is where we come in.

 

Knowledge is power, and the guiltless bliss barely ever lasts past New Year’s; when you regret each meal since Thanksgiving. The information is there and your answer is waiting. Take a look on the next pages at a few of the most successful, popular, and scientifically-backed “Schools of Nutrition” or “diets” as you may know them.

 

Coconut Oil 101

 

 

 

Coconut Oil 101

 

We all know that there is no such thing as an “All-in-one” solution when it comes to our health. But it’s great when we come across a product that may address more of our needs at once to help us gain and maintain optimal health. You may find coconut oil to be a good fit. It’s a rich source that can easily be incorporated into your busy life, and may provide a wide variety of benefits to add to your health arsenal.

 

Did You Know?

Coconut oil has been used in many countries for centuries. Though it has grown in popularity these days, researchers in the United States have been studying its structure and benefits since the early 1920s. Coconut oil got a bad rap for a while but has come back in stride as more people become educated about it. It was once thought to be unhealthy in the U.S. during the 80’s. Several domestic food organizations launched an anti-saturated fat campaign that claimed it contributed to heart disease due to its saturated fat content, and linked it to trans fat, an unhealthy fat.

 

Why Did That Happen?

The claim was based on the results of a researcher who used fully hydrogenated virgin coconut oil on mice which increased the level of cholesterol. Misinformation about coconut oil spread like wild fire. The campaign was successful in minimizing the usage of imported oils. Meanwhile, domestic oils were being promoted instead of the once preferred choices of U.S. food companies—palm and coconut oil. However in 1988, N.W. Istfan of Harvard University Medical School’s Nutrition Coordinating Center reported: “For the U.S. consumer, the use of coconut oil does not increase the role of heart disease.”Scientific evidence by other researchers also demonstrated that coconut and palm oil, unlike other saturated fats, are healthy fats with many benefits.

 

What is the difference?

You may be thinking, “But coconut oil is a saturated fat. Isn’t that bad for you?” Yes, coconut oil has a rich saturated fat content, but it’s not an unhealthy fat like trans fat. The fatty acids have a different molecular make up. Most people are familiar with the classification of fats as you read them on a food label: saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Fats are also classified by the size of the molecule and the length of the carbon chain that makes up the molecule. There are 3 types of saturated fats: short, medium, and long.

 

◦   Short fatty acids that have a carbon length of less than 6.

◦   Medium chain triglycerides (MCT), also known as medium chain fatty acids that have a carbon length of 6 to 12.

 

◦   Long chain fatty acids that have a carbon length of more than 12.

 

The body works longer and harder to breakdown long chain fatty acids such as margarine, animal fats, and canola oil. However, short and medium chain fatty acids such as butter and coconut oil are easier for the body to digest and convert to energy. Research implies that one of the reasons why plant-based coconut oil has such a positive effect on the body, is because it’s mostly composed of MCT and lauric acid.

 

Benefits

Thousands of studies have been conducted over the years. Studies suggest that coconut oil and its components may provide numerous health benefits such as the ones listed below and many more:

 

◦   Reduces inflammation

◦   MCT help the body efficiently metabolize fat

◦   Lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

◦   Reduces bad (LDL) cholesterol and increases good (HDL) cholesterol, which improves cholesterol ratio levels

◦   Helps to regulate blood sugar

◦   Supports thyroid function

◦   Improves calcium and magnesium absorption, which aids in the development of strong teeth and bones, and protects against osteoporosis

◦   Conditions and strengthens hair

◦   Kills various bacteria, fungi, yeast, and viruses

◦   Enhances digestion and absorption of a wide variety of nutrients, minerals, amino acids, vitamins such as A, B, D, E, and K

◦   Moisturizes skin and has anti-aging properties

◦   Helps to form a barrier on the skin to protect against infection when applied topically

◦   Strengthens the immune system

 

 

 

It’s my hope that this has helped you have a better understanding of coconut oil. I encourage you to research and learn more about this terrific food source. Here are additional links to research the studies of other benefits:

 

Coconut Research Center                                                       Coconut Oil

 

 

Enjoy healthy living through healthy choices!

 

 

 

*Disclaimer

These statements are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.

 

**References

Detox Bath Essentials

Detox Bath

 

Why would I want to take a detox bath? Don’t I have organs that take care of that? If that thought ran across your mind, then you’re absolutely right. We do have organs that detox our bodies on a regular basis such as: the liver, kidneys, blood, bowels, and skin. However, our bodies are constantly bombarded at a higher level these days through our food, environment, and various products that we use. This is where we can be a great support system for our bodies by doing things such as taking a detox bath. What a great way to have a “Calgon, take me away” moment too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

What you’ll need:

     

  • 1 cup Epsom salt

  • 1/2 cup baking soda

  • 4 tsp ground ginger or grated ginger (more or less depending on your tolerance)

  • Essential oils (any essential oil that suits you) – I encourage you to research to see which essential oils would be your go-to-oils of choice.

 

Here are some essential oil suggestions based on how you may feel that day.

 

  • Lavender – calming, relaxes muscles

  • Peppermint – fatigue, helps relieve stress, tension, and headaches

  • Citrus oils (Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange) – uplifting

  • Tea Tree – helps ease joint pain and reduce inflammation

  • Rosemary – soothes aching and fatigue muscles, exhaustion

 

Run a tub of very warm/hot water, only as hot as you can comfortably stand it. Please be careful not to scold yourself. Remember, you want to be able to sweat, because sweating is a natural form of detoxing. Hot water opens the skin’s pores, while sweating helps to eliminate toxins. It also relaxes your muscles.

 

Pour the ingredients in the tub under the running water to help them dissolve more efficiently. You should still stir the water to make sure they dissolve and mix as much as possible. Grab that book you’ve been trying to read for the past couple of months, or listen to your favorite music. Get in, and enjoy your bath while you detox. For better results, soak for 20 – 40 minutes.

 

Make sure that you drink water to stay hydrated after your detox bath. You may even want to be proactive and drink some water during your bath, because you are going to really sweat; some more than others. Expect not to be very active after your bath. It’s normal if you find that you’re tired or still sweating afterwards. Carefully get out of the tub and allow yourself to rest. After all, you deserve it.

 

 

Important Tips:

  • If you have heart problems or high blood pressure, then use warm water instead of hot. Also, don’t add the ginger in your bath because of its heat, and avoid rosemary essential oil if you have high blood pressure.  

 

  • Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate (scientific name) has been known to neutralize the chlorine that is added to most city water sources.

 

  • You can also use these ingredients individually in a detox bath, such as an Epsom salt and baking soda bath, ginger bath, or an essential oils bath.

 

Ginger Tips:

If you use freshly chopped or grated ginger, then you may want to put it in a tea bag, muslin bag, or something similar to avoid a clogged drain.

 

 For those who may not know or need a quick reminder, ginger is a hot herb. Meaning it adds heat to whatever you put it in. You may still sweat after your bath depending on how much ginger you use. Some people are okay with it because of its beneficial properties. But if the ginger is too hot for you, then remove it from the ingredients you use for your bath. It won’t make it any less of a detox bath, so you’ll be fine.

 

Here’s an idea to test and see if the ginger is too hot for you before taking a bath with it. Add some ginger to a cup of warm to hot water (whatever temperature you would use for your bath). Let the ginger sit in the water for a couple of minutes, then let your fingers sit in the water for 5 – 10 minutes. If the heat is too much for you, then you know. 

 

 

Important Detox Tip:

Keep in mind that you may feel worse before you feel better during your detox process. This occurs because your body is ridding itself of more toxins at that time than it normally would on a regular basis. For example, you may feel tired after your detox bath, but experience increased energy levels the next day. Understand that all of the toxins in your body will not come out in one detox bath. However, doing this continuously over a period of time will contribute to the elimination of toxins from your body to at least help lessen them.

 

What a great way to treat yourself to a relaxing bath and detox at the same time! Talk about dual cleansing. Read about another way to bathe your toxins away. 

 

Tell us how you enjoyed your detox bath or share your detox bath recipe. We would love to hear it!

 

 

Detox Bath 3c

 

 

 

Disclaimer

These statements are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products or applying this information.

 

 

References

 

 

 

 

How to Detox with a Clay Bath

   clay_bath

There are many different ingredients you can use to detox while bathing: Epsom salt and baking soda, essential oils, ginger, and more. Bentonite clay is another ingredient that you may enjoy using in your bath. It’s known for cleansing the skin, and its detoxing properties.

 

What you’ll need:

  • 1-2 pounds (2-4 cups)                                                                             *Note: beginners may want to start with 1 cup

  • 1-2 cups of natural sea salt (start with one)

 

 

 1)    Pour the sea salt in the tub first, and then 1-2 pounds of bentonite clay in very warm/ hot water as you’re running your bath. Remember to break up any clumps as you do this. Avoid pouring the clay in only one area of the tub to help keep it from clumping. Whisk the clay around in the tub (don’t use metal) to help it dissolve in the water. You can also pre-mix the clay in water in a bowl or container (preferably glass or BPA free plastic), and then pour it in your bath. This is another way to minimize clumps. Get in and enjoy! For better results, soak for 20 – 40 minutes. When finished slowly get out of the tub to avoid getting light-headed.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Or

 

2)    Mix the clay in water to create a thick muddy consistency. Do as mentioned above, except rub the clay paste all over your body, let dry for 5-10 minutes before sitting down in the tub. This provides direct skin contact and is known to aid in the elimination process of the skin. If you have some wet clay left over, then you can squish it in the tub.

    

 

Cleanup

It’s best to clean your tub soon after you’re finished with your bath. Wear protective gloves to avoid contaminating yourself with the very toxins you just released. You may want to push a cloth (that can catch fine material like cheesecloth) into the drain as the water goes down. This minimizes the amount of clay going into your septic tank and disrupting the balance. It’s also a good practice for those that are connected to city sewer systems. Even though the city sewage can handle the clay better than a septic tank, minimizing the clay going down the pipes can help protect them from potential clogs. You can use a washcloth or towel to clean the remaining clay from the bottom of the tub.   

 

 

Important Tips:

  • Don’t let the bentonite clay come in contact with anything metal, because it reduces its effectiveness.

 

  • A good quality bentonite is odorless and should be a grey, cream color. It also has a very fine, velveteen feel.  

 

  • If you can only tolerate the clay bath for less than the mentioned time frame above (e.g.-15 minutes), then that is fine; you are still getting some of the benefits of the bath. Allow yourself to slowly increase your time.

 

  • Don’t be startled if you see that the clay at the bottom of the tub turned black or green after draining the water, especially the first several times. You are seeing toxins and wastes that were eliminated from your body.

 

  •  Adding 1-2 cups of natural sea salt can help increase the ionic charge (negative/ positive charge) capability of the clay in the bath, and it helps the clay dissolve in the water. 

 

  • If this is your first time taking a clay bath, then use less clay. The more clay that’s used, the stronger the effect, and faster your body will detoxify. This may sound great, but it can cause what’s known as a “cleansing reaction” or “detox symptoms” to occur. This occurs when the body’s elimination process is going faster than it can properly dispose of the toxins. Oftentimes, one or more of our detoxification organs (skin, colon, blood, lymphatics, liver, and kidneys) may be sluggish, which makes the others work harder.  The temporary cleansing reaction can be mild to severe depending on how toxic your body is. They may include headaches, nasal or sinus congestion, acne, or flu-like symptoms to name a few. Though you may experience it slightly anyway, using too much clay, too soon can heighten the level you experience. You can always slowly increase the amount of clay you use as you take clay baths to give your body the opportunity to adjust to how it disposes of the toxins.   

 

 

Important Detox Tip:

Something important that I’d like to mention concerning detoxing of any sort. You may feel worse before you feel better during the process of detoxification. This occurs because your body is ridding itself of more toxins at that time than it normally would on a regular basis. For example, you may feel tired after your detox bath, but experience increased energy levels the next day. Though you may be excited about your chosen detox protocol, I encourage you to allow yourself to be patient and balanced as well. Balance is far more important than speed when it comes to a lot of things, especially detoxing.

  

 

Understand that all of the toxins in your body will not come out in one detox bath. However, doing this continuously over a period of time will contribute to the elimination of toxins from your body to at least help lessen them. Read about other ways to support your body through detoxification.

 

 

Tell us how you enjoyed your detox clay bath or share your tips. We would love to hear it!

 

 

Clay 2

Disclaimer

These statements are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information and these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products or applying this information.

 

References