Weekly Musings: My Immunity Challenge
During 2015 I noticed my immune system weakened as I fell victim to sinus headaches, colds, coughs, a flu and tooth decay. For years I have enjoyed very good health with only minor ailments, all of which I use natural medicine to treat, so I was surprised to see this giant crop of symptoms seemingly sprout up like an overnight mushroom patch.
But I was not surprised either. Your body is your friend and knows the best timing for sickness and for health in your life. Our bodies often wait until we get a break in some strenuous work or lifestyle pattern, like years of Spirit of Change print deadlines or the completion of a longterm project or caregiving responsibility before calling our attention back to health. Illness is an opportunity to heal and to develop immunity against future viruses. In the process of healing we make our bodies stronger.
So I took this immunity challenge to heart and sought out new immunity boosting remedies and techniques to add into my general home healthcare routine. With every supplement I swallow and tonic I drink and tea that I brew I remember that I’m healing myself, creating new neural pathways of healing information in my brain and throughout my body. Please share your personal favorite immune boosting remedies in the comments section at the end and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Increase vitamin D3. Get sunlight when you can and take a D3 supplement if it’s winter in New England and warm sunlight is just not available! I use vitamin D drops, so it’s easy to increase to 5,000 IU or more per day without swallowing more pills. New benefits of vitamin D are in the news, which is why the US RDA recently increased from 400 to 600 IU, but most natural health practitioners will recommend many times that amount due to D's crucial importance to strong immunity and other vital functions. Vitamin D needs a good balance of magnesium and calcium to work well, along with vitamin K2 for peak efficiency. Eating greens and fermented foods will help maintain these balances. Find out everything you need to know about vitamin D at www.grassrootshealth.net.
2. Increase vitamin C. Like D3, the body uses vitamin C for numerous functions, including wound healing and repairing and maintaining the health of bones and teeth. This made increasing my C intake mandatory as far as my dental issues were concerned. Vitamin C is plentiful in fresh produce so eat plenty of that. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, which means your body doesn’t store it and excretes quickly what is not used right away, so if you are supplementing, taking smaller doses of 200-500mg throughout the day with food will keep a steadier amount available for your cells to use. You can never overdose on vitamin C.
3. Take epsom salt foot baths. Epsom salts contain magnesium, which is absorbed through your skin to help boost your magnesium intake (good for vitamin D balance). Salt foot soaks draw toxins that need to be eliminated from the body through your feet. Toxins deplete immunity. Despite the work in prepping for the soak and drying afterward, salt foot baths are a relaxing way to build immunity.
4. Brew immunity tea, tonic and tincture. For a tasty, nourishing tea to strengthen your immunity, brew 3-4 cups at a time, and refrigerate to use as needed, or cook a fresh pot each morning to drink throughout the day. Slice up about 2" of organic ginger with the skin on. Simmer in filtered or spring water for 10 minutes. Add one or more cinnamon sticks, slices of organic lemon, and fresh mint. Simmer about 5 minutes longer. Add honey and drink. A similar immunity tea — but with a much stronger kick — can be found in the traditional fire cider folk remedy. Healing Spirits Herb Farm offers a Deep Immune Tonic that you can brew at home including all the best healing mushrooms and herbs for a longer term treatment, as well as a convenient no-brew Total Immunity tincture in a bottle of traditional immunity herbs: echinacea, goldenseal, osha, horseradish, cayenne and garlic. Just the act of brewing healing teas and making your own medicine with fresh ingredients sends a powerful message to the brain that initiates healing before you even take the first sip.
5. Enhance oral health. After my third WaterPik stopped working after just six months, I switched to the electric toothbrush, which I’d previously derided as a ridiculously needless invention. Who can’t brush their own teeth? I loved the WaterPik’s floss-like action, but also heard stories it could promote gum disease due to the water stream pulsing too hard and pushing gums down away from the teeth. Amazingly, the electric toothbrush actually does promote longer brushing and people are much more likely to brush for the full two minutes when using an electric toothbrush, so I have heartily embraced it. Flossing twice a day is a must for me now and I rotate between saltwater mouth rinses and coconut oil pulls. Vigorously swish a teaspoon or two of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes, then spit the oil out in a garbage can (not your sink because it will clog your pipes.) The oil has an amazingly soothing but also sanitizing quality that will leave your mouth feeling healed and refreshed.
6. Meditate. I started meditating 20 minutes a day to see if I could access deeper calm, deeper wisdom, the inner healer. The latest research shows that meditation can actually affect your genes in a positive way to promote health and slow the effects of aging, as well as reduce the negative effects that stress has on the body. Although I’ve practiced yoga for 18 years, I’ve never had success meditating. This time will be different.
Carol Bedrosian the publisher of Spirit of Change holistic magazine. Email your immunity remedies to email@example.com