immune health

We are here to support your health and wellbeing in any way we can, particularly during this uncertain time. The most important thing we can encourage you to do is be kind and considerate to others, follow government recommendations with safety and hygiene to keep everyone around you safe and prioritise taking care of you and your family’s health.

As many of you are looking for ways to support your immunity, our team of Naturopaths put together the top 20 holistic ways you can do so (and many remain relevant all year round).

  1. Prevent contact with the virus. The first barrier to a virus is distance. Avoid contact with people who have flu-like symptoms. The second barrier is skin. The third barrier is mucous membranes, followed by immune system defenders.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds, particularly if you are in public spaces, returning home, before preparing and eating food and after using the bathroom.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough with a flexed elbow, or use a tissue, or wear a surgical mask when in public to stop the spread of germs. One sneeze can produce 100,000 droplets of mucus containing virus travelling 160 kilometres per hour.
  4. Keep surfaces clean, particularly door handles, handrails and eating surfaces.
  5. Don’t put your hands on or in your mouth. It only takes one viral spore from an infected surface to infect you.
  6. Avoid the sauna and steam room. Those with colds may use them to break up congestion in the lungs. Our skin softens when exposed to heat, making us more prone to infectious transmission especially in close proximity to others.
  7. Keep hand sanitiser with you. Keep some in your bag to limit the spread of germs.
  8. Change your pillowcase daily if you are sick. That way, you won’t continue to reinoculate yourself. Some viruses can survive up to 4 hours on soft surfaces and 10 hours on hard surfaces.
  9. Maintain nasal hygiene. Viruses get trapped in the sinus mucous that hardens in the nose. Use sinus sprays that contain tea tree or eucalyptus regularly to keep mucous moist and benefiting from these herbal properties.
  10. Clean your toothbrush. It can spread germs if not cleaned regularly.
  11. Make sure you get enough rest. Sleep deprivation decreases white blood cells and natural killer cells that fight viral infections.
  12. Drink plenty of water. 2 litres per day for an adult, to prevent becoming dehydrated. Definitely include consuming hot drinks where possible. Viruses do not like high temperatures. Herbal tea’s, hot water with lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar or Manuka honey are examples.
  13. Don’t get a chill. Reduced core temperature makes you more susceptible to a virus.
  14. Eat warming foods. Keeps your core temperature stable. Warming foods can include ginger, garlic, sweet potato, squash, oats, kale, cabbage. Avoid cooling foods like cold salads, cheese, juicy fruits.
  15. Avoid high sugar and high carbohydrates foods. Eat a balanced diet that is anti-inflammatory.
  16. Eat your veggies. Veggies contain essential nutrients and antioxidants to support a healthy immune system.
  17. Gargle salt water or Apple Cider Vinegar. It will help loosen mucus and flush bacteria and viruses in the throat. It may give some temporary relief for a sore throat. Dissolve 1/4 tsp of salt in 200ml water, gargle for 10 seconds and then spit, don’t swallow. If using Apple Cider Vinegar you may gargle 1 tsp undiluted and swallow after, however dilution may be necessary depending on strength preference.
  18. Reduce stress. Something most people need to work on. Stress impedes immune function by reducing white blood cells, natural killers cells and T-cells production.
  19. Exercise. Moderate exercise has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the immune function and may protect against upper respiratory tract infections. 
  20. Take herbs for immunity. There is good evidence for antiviral, immune-enhancing or immunomodulating herbs such as Andrographis, Astragalus, Olive Leaf, Echinacea, Garlic, Thyme, Licorice, Ginger and Elderberry to be effective against strains of influenza virus. Furthermore, there is also some great evidence showing that Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc, various medicinal mushrooms Reishi, Cordyceps, Shiitake and Vitamin C (liposomal form is best) are all amazing immune-supportive nutrients and for preventing respiratory tract infections.

Please note herbal medicine should be prescribed by a herbalist or Naturopath. Please get in touch with your practitioner if you would like to use herbs to support you and your family’s immune system. We can arrange an express immune phone or Skype consult. Practitioners include Carmen Cooper, Claire Luckman and Amanda Haberecht. Certain herbs need to be used with caution in individuals with pre-existing health conditions or those on medications.

To contact our friendly team regarding any queries or appointments please email reception@darlinghealth.com.au alternatively call 02 9555 8806.