In this article, I want to show you how to support your immune system with potent essential oils derived from plants as well as proven oral supplementation for both prevention and cure so you don't have to turn to medicine, which can have some negative effects you want to steer clear of.
Immune-Boosting Essential Oils
While there are so many sources for essential oils out there, I like to go with companies that have pure oils that haven't been diluted with anything else. I especially like the Young Living brand for its "Seed to Seal" quality commitment. Their process delivers essential oils of unmatched purity by ensuring premium seeds are planted, quality botanicals are cultivated and distilled, and pure, precious oils are delivered. While they carry literally hundreds of oils, these are some of my favorite for immune-support:
Thieves Vitality is a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils. Not only does it smell amazing (especially this time of year!), but it tastes great and works wonderfully! I like to use it as preventative maintenance this time of year or when I travel, when sickness is going around, and when I'm sensing something coming on myself. If you're not adding to your tea or water, you can just rub 1-2 drops on the bottom of your feet either before you go to bed or before you head out of the house each day. I love how this smells so I like it in the morning to reinvigorate me and love the way my shoes smell too!
Copaiba Vitality is a single oil from the resin of a tree in South America. This oil not only smells amazing (like wood), it also promotes wellness, making it a great addition to your daily health regimen. I even use this for sprains and some use it for better sleep, which is really important when you need extra immune support.
Oregano oil is my all-time go-to natural antibiotic! When I'm just starting to get sick or already sick, I do two things before going to bed:
1) Swallow one chopped garlic clove (another naturally powerful antibiotic) with a glass of water
2) Rub two drops of oregano oil on the sole of each foot. (You can also take it orally by placing a couple of drops in a capsule with olive oil or can buy it in capsule form.)
YES! My bedroom smells like an Italian kitchen that night and the next morning, but who cares? I usually only need to do that for 2-3 nights and the sickness never sets in. If you use this remedy, just be sure to take probiotics in the morning or during the day; don't take them within two hours of taking/using these natural antibiotics because they won't survive in your gut.
Raven is another Young Living blend, containing ravintsara, peppermint, eucalyptus radiata, lemon, and wintergreen essential oils and is great for help with breathing. You can rub it on your chest, just like Vick's Vapor Rub, inhale it, or diffuse it for inhaling. For help with clearing your sinuses, get a hand towel to place over your head, then boil a cup of water, adding 1-2 drops of Raven oil. Put the towel over your head, hanging outside the cup to keep the steam toward your face and inhale deeply. *BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO PUT YOUR FACE TOO CLOSE TO THE STEAM, AS IT COULD BURN YOU.
Lemon oil is important as an antiviral, antimicrobial, so you can create your own immune-boosting sanitizer with water and lemon oil.
Frankincense is a powerful anti inflammatory and can help your body to produce more white blood cells, thus boosting your immune response.
(Refer to PubMed or your Practitioner for suggested dosaging.)
Vitamin D is probably my favorite, all-star vitamin, as it supports so many functions of the body, your immune system, in particular. When you don't have enough of it, you just don't feel well, with low energy levels being a main symptom. Vitamin D is actually a hormone, with sunshine being your best source, then some fish, eggs, and mushrooms. This time of year it can be hard to get enough sunshine, which is a good reason to look to supplementation for extra support. Vitamin D is also essential for calcium absorption, also important for proper immune response. Therapeutic dosages are recommended when you are immune-compromised. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so be sure you take it with a meal or with fat so it gets absorbed. I suggest you use a supplement with fat as as well added Vitamin K, as too much vitamin D can cause a buildup of calcium in the blood, which can cause cardiovascular issues, including death.
Vitamin C is so useful for extra immune support, especially when we're experiencing highly demanding times in our life and are taxing our adrenals too often. Remember what I shared in the last post about glucose: it has the same receptor as vitamin C, so be careful you don't take them together. That's why orange juice isn't a good idea when you're sick, or cough drops with added vitamin C, if they also have sugar in them (They usually do.).
L-Lysine is an amino acid that is essential for protein synthesis. Because it isn't synthesized in the body, it must be obtained in the diet. Lysine has many biological functions, including the synthesis of connective tissues, conversion of fatty acids to energy, and maintenance of healthy immune function. I used to get cold sores a lot when I was a teenager and young adult, and I remember my doctor suggesting this amino acid when I felt rundown. I know some people who swear by this supplement.
Zinc provides extra immune support by its involvement in more than 200 enzymatic reactions and plays a key role in genetic expression, cell division, and growth. Zinc Picolinate in particular is a good supplement for proper digestion and absorption of the zinc.
Olive Leaf Extract contains oleuropeins, compounds that have demonstrated antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties. In addition, extracts from olive leaf can help maintain a healthy balance of cytokines, which are proteins secreted by cells of the immune system that act as chemical messengers, helping to regulate the body's immune response and inflammatory response. Evidence suggests that olive leaf extract is beneficial for dilating coronary blood vessels, thus supporting blood flow to the heart and helping to maintain already normal blood pressure and cardiac rhythm.
Blends: I like the following blends from one of my favorite supplement providers:
1. Phytogen is a blend of Thorne Researching, combining four American and Chinese botanicals – Echinacea, Coptis, Astragalus, and Schisandra – in a formula that promotes optimal immune function. It's potent combination can activate natural killer (NK) cells and enhance the ability of other cell types to engulf foreign substances, has the ability to naturally enhance the number of white blood cells, as well as promotes immuno-protective of the respiratory system.
2. Moducare is a blend of plant sterols and sterolins that help promote a balanced immune system. These ingredients are fats that are found in fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants and have been shown to enhance the activity of various cells in the body that are recognized as having a positive impact on immune function by improving the balance of T-helper 1 to T-helper 2 cells, enhancing cellular immunity, and down-regulating an overactive immune response. It also helps maintain a normal ratio of the two adrenal hormones, cortisol and DHEA, which helps to buffer negative stress responses.
3. Myco-Immune is a blend of mushrooms by Thorne Research, available in liquid form. Mushroom extracts have been used medicinally by many cultures for thousands of years and have been shown in numerous studies to provide significant benefits to immune function, possessing protective activity against harmful microorganisms.
I hope these lists have provided you with some ideas for immune support during this highly susceptible time of year. Please contact me to order any of these oils or supplements with high quality ingredients and processed in a safe way.
Stay well and remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!