Nature naturally prepares us for winter time. The natural hedgerow pharmacy is brimming with plants designed to boost our immunity against viruses and bacterial infection. There is much you can do to help strengthen your defences.
Simple hand washing and disposable tissues ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’. I suggest carefully burning the tissues if you have an open fire or burner in your home. The virus can live on surfaces for quite some time.
Minimise processed, refined and ready made meals and eat more freshly harvested and prepared local fruit and vegetables instead.
Turmeric spice has anti-viral properties and can be added to stews, casseroles and curries. This herb can also be taken in capsule form.
Natural Liquorice can be a beneficial treat with its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties.
Multi-vitamin & Mineral
A good compliment of vitamins and minerals are essential for immune function. Naturally it is best to eat a varied diet rich in fruit and vegetables to ensure good nutrition. Children can benefit from a little helping hand in autumn and early winter, particularly if they have a limited diet.
Floradix Floravital Liquid Iron and Vitamin Formula €9.95 for 250ml. Take as directed.
Food State Multivitamin & Mineral €12.95 for 60 tablets. Take one tablet daily.
Solgar kangavites €8.99 for 60 chewable tablets. Take as directed.
Floradix Kindervital €8.95 for 250ml, is a liquid formulation. Take as directed.
Vitamin C has proven anti-viral properties. Seasonal vitamin C –rich foods such as berries (fresh blackcurrants, blackberries, elderberries, bilberries, and rosehips), leafy greens (watercress, kale) and citrus fruits will boost levels. Larger doses may be beneficial during an infection and can be supplemented under advice.
Quest Vitamin C 1000mg timed release €8.00 for 60 tablets.
Higher Nature Fizzy C 500mg €5.60 for 20 effervescent tablets.
Zinc is a vital mineral for a healthy immune system. Natural sources include; stone-ground organic wholegrain flour, organic brown rice, dried fruits, molasses, onions, garlic, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Solgar Zinc picolinate 22mg €9.95 for 100 tablets.
Make sure you have adequate levels of vitamin D, also necessary for a healthy immune system.
Solgar Vitamin D3 2200IU €8.90 for 50 capsules.
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra fruct.)
Many previous peer-reviewed studies offer strong evidence that elderberry significantly decreases the duration and severity of influenza A and B infections.
This is a traditional spiced fruit syrup recipe for coughs, colds and flu’s. This recipe is suitable for all the family and can be taken when pregnant or taking other medications.
Gently remove the stalks and gently rinse just picked elderberries. Place them in a pot and just cover with water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and measure the liquid. Pour back into the pot and for every 570ml (1 pint) of liquid add;
225g (8oz) sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 inch of fresh ginger grated
Simmer for a further 30 minutes and then pour into labelled, sterilised bottles. Drink diluted with warm water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
A plain syrup made with 1lb sugar to every pint of strained elderberry liquid can also be made. This can be stored by freezing in large ice cubes (individual portions).
Provides a rich source of vitamin C and anti-oxidants and has a proven anti-viral action. The juice can be bought from your health food store and added to the daily drinks for school etc. As well as being useful in actively fighting a flu (It has been proven to reduce length of recovery from flu by 50%), it boosts the immune system and actually tastes delicious, providing a ‘kid friendly’ base for sneaking other herbs into!
Sambucol – a concentrated elderberry syrup, formulated for children €11.15. Take as directed.
Original ‘Sambucol’ (€10.80) from your local health food store.
Dose: Adults: 10ml (2tsp) 4 times daily
Children (under 12yrs) 10ml (2 tsp) twice daily
Bee Pollen (Propolis)
This is an excellent nutritive and tonic supplement for building up the immune system and helping the body to cope with stress. Pollen contains 21 of the 23 known amino acids, many of the B vitamins, Vitamin A and numerous minerals. It also contains powerful anti-oxidants.
Bee Health Propolis liquid €5.40 for 30ml
Childrens Propolis Herbal Elixir (Lemon and honey flavour) €10.95 for 200ml. Take 2 teaspoonfuls daily (Not suitable for children under 2 years of age).
Also available as tablets, lollipops and lozenges (€4.75 for 12)
Higher Nature Citricidal, Grapefruitseed extract €10.10 for 45ml.
Add as many cloves as liked chopped or crushed to stews, soups etc. It will add anti-bacterial power to your food when added at the end of cooking to preserve the active constituents.
Kwai Garlic (one a day) €5.65 for 30 tablets.
Fresh ginger is warming and will help clear congestion and phlegm in the upper respiratory tract. Added to foods or taken as tea.
Omega 3, 6 ,9
Omegas 3, 6 & 9 are also vital to your immune health
Eskimo-3 €29.25 for 210ml
Eskimo Kids €11.99 for 105ml
Eye q baby (6months – 2 years) €11.10 for 30 capsules
There are two types of Echinacea species Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea. It is generally accepted that the angustifolia is the stronger of the two species in immune stimulating action. Most research done on this herb focuses on the root portion of the plant having proven effectiveness. It is important when buying the tincture that you look for this. While the angustifolia is the stronger in action of the two species, research has found a synergy in action between the two types of
Start taking Echinacea now and continue periodically over the winter months to help prevent infection. Taken in larger doses, more often, it is a proven immune stimulant when taken at the first sign of an infection (see your medical herbalist for individual prescribing doses for acute infection).
Caution if you are sensitive to members of the daisy family of plants. Chamomile and Mmarigolds are also members of this family. Allergic reaction is extremely rare but can happen in sensitive individuals
Dosage: Over the Counter (OTC) Childrens preparations, as directed per product. Available in tincture or tablets
Your medical herbalist may prescribe you suitable larger doses, more often during times of acute infection.
A.Vogel Echinaforce €10.50 for 50ml.
A.Vogel Echinacea Junior €6.75 for 60 chewable tablets.
Naturlife Kids Echinacea €12.99 for 100ml (contains Echinacea angustifolia root)
To be inhaled in a bowl of hot water – could do it every day. If you felt a cold coming on you could increase it three times a day if convenient. Ideal for those who suffer with ongoing sinus problems.
You will need . Eucalyptus essential oil and lavander essential oil
1. Take three drops of each and drop into a bowl of steaming water.
2. 2. Position your childs head over the bowl and let them inhale slowly and deeply as long as can be tolerated while holding a towel over their head.
Helpful Hint! For children too young to safely do an inhalation, add 3 drops of essential oil to the bath water.
Rosemary, Thyme and Tea tree essential oils also have anti-microbial actions and can be used in your oil burner or as an inhalation.
Eucalyptus €4.50 for 10ml
Rosemary €6.95 for 10ml
Tea tree €5.95 for 10ml
Thyme €9.95 for 10ml
Anti-infective skin oil:
Tea tree essential oil
Lavander essential oil
Sweet Almond Oil (Carrier oil)
Tea tree is (antibacterial anti-microbial) and lavender is both (antibacterial and relaxing) oils – put them in the bath (10 drops), or in a bowl and allow steam inhalation – (put a few drops in a bowl water and put towel over your head.
Tea tree €6.49 for 10ml
Lavender €11.90 for 20ml
The sweet almond oil can be used as a base oil; add 3 drops of each essential oil into 30 mls of base oil. It is ideal to rub the oil onto the skin around the lungs and around the glands below the ears and under the throat. It can be a nice part of the evening routine, a light relaxing massage before bed.
€3.75 for 50ml
Never use undiluted essential oil on the skin.
Lavender has a nicer aroma than the tea tree – antiseptic and anti bacterial properties relax and calm children ..
Please note that the advice given in these notes is not intended to be a replacement for professional medical advice and treatment. Always visit a fully qualified medical herbalist or G.P. for diagnosis. If you are pregnant, have an existing condition or are currently taking medication consult a medical herbalist to see which herbs are appropriate for you to take.