Don’t Make These Common Mistakes When Trying to Boost your Immune System

flusignOur immune system is comprised of many biological structures, and is quite a wondrous thing. Give it the tools it needs, and it detects and protects us from potentially fatal invaders including bacteria, parasites, and viruses.  As with anything else if you don’t put the right fuel in it’s not going to be able to perform at its best, so here I’ll discuss how to do that in a way that isn’t counterproductive.

With flu season upon us, “immune boosters” are all the buzz. No one wants to get sick! Nature provides medicine for every ailment – if you have even a bit of influence over whether you get sick or not or how quickly you recover from illness, why wouldn’t you want to take advantage?

However, there is such a thing as doing it wrong.

Let’s look at it as three different categories- immune stimulators, immune modulators, and immune essentials.

Immune stimulators:

Many people refer to these as “immune boosters,” but I much prefer to use the term “stimulators.” These are the warriors you keep in your medicine cabinet to launch an attack when you get an invader. They rev up your immune system for war- they can be used prophylactically after exposure, used to kick out a pathogen at the first sign of illness, or used to reduce the duration of an illness. They are not required for immune function, but they can be extremely effective at helping and most have the research to back that. (See a sampling of available studies below- 111 of them!)

However, you don’t always want to stimulate, or “boost” your immune system! These should only be taken on an as-needed basis, not daily. Think of it as sending soldiers out to war- fighting off the enemy is a really tough job. Imagine if you were to send those soldiers off every day to fight, whether they were needed or not. They’d get tired and burnt out after awhile, wouldn’t they? Generally immune stimulators want to be used for 3-4 days, or as directed for your particular ailment by your naturopathic practitioner or herbalist.  Immune stimulators are not ideal for those with autoimmune disease or those on immune – suppressing drugs.   The following are some of my favorite immune stimulators. But bonus- a few of these do TWO jobs- immune stimulating and immune modulating. Keep reading to learn what that’s all about!

Examples of immune stimulators:

  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea
  • Goldenseal
  • Boneset
  • Pokeweed
  • Tinder conk mushroom
  • Colorado reishi mushroom (also modulating)
  • Reishi mushroom(also modulating)
  • Maitake mushroom (also modulating)
  • Lions mane mushroom (also modulating)
  • Chaga mushroom (also modulating)
  • Turkey tail mushroom(also modulating)
  • Birch polypore mushroom
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Star anise
  • Andrographis
  • Cats Claw
  • Astragalus
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Wild echinacea purpurea near my house

 

 

Immune Modulators:

These are the immune regulators; it is their job to keep the immune system at a healthy baseline. Modulation means being strong enough for pathogens and foreign cells to be destroyed, but also not hyper-reacting to common foods, allergens, environmental organisms,  or your own body cells.  Take these daily as gentle therapeutics, use prophylactically after exposure, or to support your system in fighting off pathogens at the first sign of illness. Some modulators can also help to stimulate, but due to their regulating activities they are safe for autoimmune disorders.

Examples of immune modulators:

  • Colorado reishi mushroom
  • Reishi mushroom
  • Maitake mushroom
  • Chaga mushroom
  • Lions mane mushroom
  • Turkey tail mushroom
  • Shiitake mushroom
  • Panax ginseng
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Dried chaga chunks are used to make a delicious tea. Order my wild Wisconsin harvested chaga here and learn more about chaga at Eden Wild Food

Immune essentials:

Immune essentials are crucial nutrients that are required for functioning of the immune system. They are not optional. A balanced diet should provide most of what we need, however many times a supplement is helpful for filling nutritional gaps, especially if your diet is not ideal. In the presence of illness or as a prophylactic help, higher doses than the minimal amount to prevent deficiency can be helpful. For example, I like to take a gram of vitamin C every couple hours when I’m feeling under the weather. However, more is not always better for many vitamins and minerals- you want daily levels that allow the body and immune system to function at optimum levels, without overdosing. For example, overdosing on the vitamin D via supplementation can cause health issues such as a decrease in bone mass. Too much zinc (over 100 mg/day) can actually suppress your immune system. Consult your health practitioner for doses that are right for your body.

Examples of immune essentials:

  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Selenium
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Rose hips have 946% more vitamin C than oranges! Read more here.

So to sum up, these natural medicines can be a wonderful, effective way to stay healthy, but be sure to choose the methods that are right for you- rev up and/or regulate your immune system, and of course supply the vitamins and minerals that are the basic foundation of our bodily functions.

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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107. Antimicrobial properties of star anise (Illicium verum Hook f).

108. Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology Alena G. Guggenheim, ND; Kirsten M. Wright, BS; Heather L. Zwickey, PhD

109. Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide by Martin Powell

110. Mushrooms for Health by Greg Marley

111. Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets

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Wild watercress and nettles are sprouting in Wisconsin, and they are quite the culinary treat!

High in calcium, iron, vitamin c, beta-carotene, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, vitamin E, vitamin K, lutein, b vitamins, and many more, watercress is rich in potent antioxidants that help to fight cancer. It’s been found to help smokers or those exposed to secondhand smoke excrete the toxins found in cigarettes from their urine in just 3 days.  It’s also good for liver problems.

Stinging nettles are my go-to safe alternative to allergy drugs. They help hayfever and any type of allergies, supporting the immune system and anti-inflammatory response naturally, instead of just covering up symptoms like drugs. This mint can be used for prostate problems, PMS, asthma, bronchitis, sciatica, tendonitis, multiple sclerosis, gout, hives, kidney stones, sciatica, high blood pressure, & eczema. Just about one cup of this veggie will give you half the calcium you need for the day, with good amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, b vitamins, vitamin k, beta carotene, and potassium.

Both greens are excellent for treating anemia, purifying the blood, and for arthritis.   Note: Be careful not to touch the nettles without gloves- they bite!

Ingredients:

2 cups MSG-free vegetable broth

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or organic butter

1 small onion, roughly chopped

1 bunch of watercress

1 bunch of nettles

2 medium potatoes, peeled & chopped

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

¼ cup organic whole plain yogurt, extra to garnish (eliminate to make vegan)

Sprinkle of chives to garnish

Himalayan salt & black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Bring the broth to a boil, and add the potatoes. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, heat the butter/oil over medium heat. Add the nettles, watercress, and onions. Turn heat down a bit and cook until the onions are translucent. Once your potatoes are tender, add the cooked greens mixture to the pot and boil for a couple minutes. Place in your food processor or blender and puree until smooth. Add the yogurt, then season to taste with the salt & pepper. Ladle into bowls immediately and enjoy!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

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http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Wild Wisconsin: A Coffee Substitute in Your Backyard

My latest find- horse gentian! Watch the video to learn more about this wild coffee substitute. Below you’ll see a picture of the berries at different stages during the whole process. The final product smells sweet like apple pie, but it’s surprisingly bitter.

Enjoy this video? Be sure to follow us on YouTubeTwitter & Facebook!

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Raw berries

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After roasting

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Roasted, ground, and ready to brew

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Brewed and ready to drink!

Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Wild Grape Juice (The real stuff!)

Yesterday I was invited to a friend’s property to do a plant walk with her.  Lucky for me she had more fruit than she knew what to do with!  I left with a nice supply of autumn olives and wild grapes.

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We love to eat the autumn olives as a snack, or mix with local yogurt.

After getting rid of the bad grapes,  I ended up with about 40 oz. Straight to the juicer!

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Wild grapes are an excellent source of catechins, anthocyanins and resveratrol, as well as many vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and other phytonutrients. This gives this fruit anti-oxidant, stroke preventative, anti-allergenic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties.

Because they are so tart,  I added 3 organic apples to the mix to sweeten.  The end result: what a treat!  My toddler gulped it down.

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Thanks for visiting!

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221

Easy DIY Wild Rose Facial Toner

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June is the perfect time of year to forage for wild rose petals. Garden variety rose petals will do just fine, and if you can’t find fresh ones you can use dried.

The benefits of a rose petal toner:
– Anti-inflammatory, so will help sooth redness and irritation
– Anti-bacterial, so will help treat and prevent breakouts
– Helps heal wounds
– Eases sunburn
– Can reduce the appearance of dark circles under the eyes
– Keeps oily skin in balance

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Run your rose petals under cool water to rinse off any dirt or bugs. Fill a standard mason jar about halfway full with petals and buds, then add 16 fl oz of witch hazel.

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Most commercial witch hazels will have some alcohol added which is fine, but be careful to avoid any that contain chemical preservatives. Save the empty witch hazel bottle.

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It will take about 5 days for the witch hazel to absorb all the oils & phytochemicals of the rose petals. I mark the date I made the mixture on the top of the jar so I can keep track of time.

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Each day, gently shake your jar. Color will vary depending upon the color of the roses you use, but it will end up looking something like this:

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Once it is done steeping, strain the petals, buds, and any particles out with an unbleached coffee filter. My Chemex coffee maker (pictured) does the job perfectly. Pour your new toner in the original witch hazel bottle, and it’s ready to use!

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Warmly,

Megan Normansell (Kerkhoff), CHC, AADP, CFH

Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutritionist/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more recipes and healthy living ideas!

Get Even Healthier!
Get the answers you’ve been searching for, and heal your body for good… naturally and holistically.  We have successfully helped thousands of people across the country live a healthier life than they ever could have imagined, and specialize in dozens of different health concerns. Curious? 
Schedule your complimentary consultation with me today! Read the incredible reviews we’ve received over the years here!

http://www.aayushealth.com     –     megan@aayushealth.com    –    920-327-2221