Immune Builders

Previously by Margaret Durst: Reducing Cholesterol

Flu — we all want to avoid it. Here are some natural options that will help build your immunity so you do not get it.

Olive leaf enhances immune function and helps keep viruses from replicating. I see many people who tell me that they have not been sick since they began taking olive leaf daily. With olive leaf, quality is very important. The active component, oleuropein, should be 18% at a minimum. The best brands contain over 20% oleuropein.

Elderberry is another herb that builds immunity and keeps viruses from replicating. Elderberry is a mild herb that can be taken daily, and has some positive side effects — its antioxidant properties help reduce LDL cholesterol and it is good for vision. I recommend a blend of elderberry, echinacea, olive and royal jelly called Elderberry Defense — it comes in capsules and a chewable version.

Echinacea is famous as an immune builder and can stop an acute oncoming cold, flu or infection if used in large doses at the first sign of symptoms. Echinacea can also be taken preventively since it stimulates the immune system. I like echinacea because it is a blood cleaner and tends to counteract some of the less beneficial aspects of the standard diet. For serious symptoms, it needs to be combined with something that has anti-viral properties such as olive leaf, grapefruit seed, oregano, or colloidal silver.

Grapefruit seed extract is another good preventive. I recommend a combination called Defense Plus that also has echinacea, astragalus, vitamin C and more. It is good to take for prevention and also to have on hand to help speed recovery from cold and flu.

Vitamin C is also used as a preventive for colds and flu. Vitamin C cleanses the tissues very gently and makes our bodies a poor host for viruses.

Zinc is another immune booster. Zinc enhances white blood cell activity and helps prevent and reduce severity of the flu. I recommend adding zinc if you are deficient, or if you aren’t getting 10+mg. in your multi-vitamin. There is a great zinc taste test for those of you that want to come in, otherwise, if you have white spots on your fingernails, you are probably zinc deficient.

Vitamin D is also important in boosting the immune system. Much of the available research on vitamin D has to do with bone health, but newer studies are linking D to better immune function. I have noticed that most of the colds and flus that go around the school seem to happen after several days of significant cloud cover. I think it is a good idea to keep your vitamin D levels up, especially during flu season.

Colostrum is another immune booster. Colostrum has many benefits, including increasing the anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties of our own blood.

Oscillococcinum or Oscillo is a homeopathic that helps reduce the severity and duration of flu-like symptoms. For some, this product is almost magic. It works well when taken at the first signs of flu-like symptoms. It comes in a children’s version too.

There are many natural supplements that will boost immunity and also help you recover from the flu fast if you happen to get it. The trick is to find what works for you. Stay well.

Note that as I am posting this article, my son is home sick. He has had perfect attendance for 3 years taking Elderberry Defense. Since he is 12 and in 7th grade, I have been trusting him to take it. I fill a little pill box and put it at his place at the table. He only took 2 last week and is suffering the consequences in more ways than one. Football players that miss practice, don’t learn the new plays, and don’t get to start. We’ll see if he remembers from now on.