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Can you believe it is almost October already?? Some of you across the country may be experiencing cooler weather (it's been in the 90s here in San Diego), which also means that cold season is upon us. This is why I want to share my favorite immune system boosting products and supplements that I find work the best for me! I myself rarely get sick anymore, but when I do I use these products religiously. I also use some of these products daily or often as a preventative measure to keep colds away.
Of course eating a healthy diet, reducing stress, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep all help prevent illness, but sometimes they happen! We all need a boost once in a while. Just to set the record straight, my immune system used to be HORRIBLE. After I had mono (I was sick for eight months when I was 18-19), I would get sick every season, multiple times. The first time I ever tried elderberry syrup (#1 below) was when I had mono, only because my Mother made me try it.
I have used many of these products (maybe not the exact brands) for years in place of conventional products, even before I started studying herbs, homeopathy, and holistic nutrition in May.
Disclaimer: All of these products include herbs, botanicals, or superfoods, except for the neti pot. This is in no way a post to diagnose or treat any kind of medical symptoms, just suggestions on products and wellness. Please consult your doctor before taking supplements if you are on any kind of medication!
Onto the goodness!
1. Nature's Answer Sambucus Immune Support Okay, I put this product at number one because it is AMAZING. I have tried many other sambucus (elderberry) syrups, and this one blows all of them out of the water. When I first tried this product, the concentration was 5,000 mg per 1 tsp serving of elderberry. Now it is 12,000 mg. Most competing products don't even hit 2000 mg. Not only is this product packed with elderberry, it also includes zinc, echinacea, astragalus, which are all known immune system boosters. Word to the wise, it is best to take elderberry syrups as soon as you feel something coming on. I did this when I felt the flu coming on right before a trip, and I was well in THREE days. Seriously, this stuff is a must to have on hand at all times! I usually dilute it in water. The 12,000 mg concentration is a bit more expensive, but the 5,000 mg concentration is still available in 8 oz for $5-15 depending on where you buy it. I personally love Vitacost.com but purchase many products at Sprouts!
2. NOW Foods L-Lysine I originally started taking lysine years ago to help clear up my acne after reading multiple message boards that it works. While it did help my acne, I started to notice that I was getting sick less often due to taking lysine daily. Lysine is an essential amino acid, meaning it cannot be produced in the body and must be consumed through diet. Lysine has been shown to have antiviral effects, which makes sense as to why it helped my acne. Lysine has also been used for cold sores and herpes. I have tried SO many brands of lysine, and the lysine by NOW Foods is one of the best!
3. NOW Foods AlliBiotic CF If you can't tell from above, NOW Foods is quickly becoming one of my favorite brands. That's because they have quality products! I recently discovered this product which is made up of elderberry (obviously), olive leaf extract, garlic extract, oregano oil, and rosemary oil. All of these ingredients are known for their antimicrobial or antiviral properties. Taking one of these daily is an easy preventative method to boost your immune system.
4. GT Synergy Drinks Enlightened Kombucha Gingerade I'm probably going to get some eye rolls or pinched noses for this one, but I LOVE kombucha. Especially this one. Kombucha has so many amazing benefits, mostly from the bacteria cultures that create it. The ginger in this one is an added bonus, and it tastes great too! I've said it before, and will continue to say it: GUT HEALTH IS ESSENTIAL FOR OVERALL WELLNESS! Having a healthy gut keeps all of your systems regular (Reference my post on fermentation and New Chapter Vitamins for more info on that HERE). Kombucha isn't just trendy, it's actually good for you! Just watch the sugar content. This gingerade only has 2g of sugar per serving.
5. Traditional Medicinals Seasonal Tea Sampler I have such a love for herbs, especially since I have started learning about them in school! Herbal teas are what started turning my health around when I had mono, and ever since I have been hooked. Traditional Medicinal teas are BY FAR my favorite bagged herbal teas. I chose to post the sampler, because I use all four of the included teas during cold season. The teas include: Gypsy Cold Care, Echinacea Plus, Throat Coat, and Breathe Easy. These are also sold individually as well. I just love their whole line of teas, and drink various teas of their's daily (their peppermint tea is THE absolute best)! Note: herbs are like medicine. Be mindful when brewing herbal teas, as some are much stronger than others. Certain herbs can interact with medications as well.
6 & 7. Himalayan Institute Neti Pot and Neti Stik Neti, what? A neti pot is a container used to irrigate and cleanse the sinus cavity of mucous and anything else in the way with salt water. It can relieve symptoms from allergies and colds. Just make sure to use sterile water! If you have issues with mucous, neti pots are AMAZING. Gross, but amazing. I tend to use a neti pot almost daily in the shower because I get allergies in San Diego. The neti stik is also a very handy thing to have when having respiratory issues. I actually keep one in my purse or pocket, and on my night stand. It is a mixture of eucalyptus, peppermint, menthol, and lavender essential oils. It works wonders on stuffy noses, or if you need a boost to breathe deeper!
8-10. NOW Foods Essential Oils in Peppermint, Eucalyptus, and Lavender As you can see from the neti stik above, these three essential oils are great for respiratory ailments, among many other things. Eucalyptus globulus has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. It can be used topically for respiratory issues such as asthma or colds in a salve or balm. Lavender and peppermint oils also help with breathing, as well as things like headaches. I use these three oils daily. I either diffuse them, use them topically is a salve, an aromatic spray, or aromatic epsom salt bath. Applying peppermint oil (with a carrier oil) to the forehead, back of neck, and temples can make headaches go away. I get sinus headaches from time to time, and doing this little trick works wonders!
11. Amazing Grass Superfoods in Tangerine Immunity Defense Amazing Grass is one of my favorite superfood brands. I've been using their products for years! I love their Raw Reserve, as well as their new Protein Superfood (it's vegan!) I specifically chose this product though, as it is targeted to the immune system and is PACKED with immunity boosting phytonutrients, veggies, fruits, herbs, and botanicals. The ingredient list includes things like spirulina (my favorite!), chlorella, wheat grass, mushrooms (reishi, shiitaki, turkey tail, maitake, cordyceps), elderberry, ginger, acerola extract, olive leaf, astragalus, rose hips, green tea, acai, beets, and probiotics. All of which are organic, by the way! I just got two containers at Sprouts for the price of one during their BOGO promotion. This stuff is amazing for the immune system, and I've been drinking it daily in a protein shake or smoothie! Any kind of green powder that's organic and includes similar ingredients is a good idea to add to a daily routine for optimum health!
12. Quantum Health Thera Zinc Elderberry Lozenges Last but not least are these elderberry zinc lozenges. Are you seeing the elderberry trend? It's because it really works! I like to have these bad boys on hand just in case I start to feel ill. These have saved me while at work and I feel something coming on. I've also given them to friends in similar situations, and they've told me that the lozenges helped! Just be aware that they turn your tongue a purplish black color :).
**I should mention that I do not use all of these products at the same time. I do overlap some if I am not feeling well, but in general I stick to the superfood and lysine daily and use the other products when I find it necessary. Please only use what you feel is best for you, and pay attention to directions. Some vitamins and supplements have better absorption on an empty stomach, as well as some vitamins diminish absorption if taken together.**
I hope you enjoyed these! Please comment below if you have any questions!
A, 2013. (1997a). Lysine. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from University of Maryland Medical Center, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/lysine
A, 2013. (1997b). Elderberry. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from University of Maryland Medical Center, http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry
DrAxe. (2015, August 2). Antiviral herbs boost immune system & fight infection - Dr. Axe. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from Dr. Axe, https://draxe.com/antiviral-herbs/
Petersen, D. (2015). NAT 101: Nutrition, Bodycare, & Herbalism. Portland, OR: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Some common spices and plants with Antimicrobial and therapeutic properties. Retrieved September 29, 2016, from University of Hawaii, http://www2.hawaii.edu/~johnb/micro/m140/syllabus/week/handouts/m140.8.3.html
Vanquishing viruses - 10 natural antiviral remedies. (2004). Retrieved September 29, 2016, from Institute for Optimum Nutrition, http://crm.ion.ac.uk/information/onarchives/vanquishingviruses