Today I worked with a client whose immune system was compromised by stress. Serious Stress. We are taking an 8 on a 1 to 10 scale. As I was putting her protocol together I realized that many people think of the immune system as the first line of defense against invasive critters like bacteria and viruses. This is true; your immune system is the number one factor that keeps you healthy when everyone around you is getting sick.
What many people don’t know, are the many factors that can affect the immune system adversely and how the immune system affects the rest of the body. So, before we get to this fabulous Immune Boosting Tea recipe I created for her, let’s take a look at what you can do to optimize the conditions for your immune system to thrive.
Factors Affecting the Immune System
The health of your immune system is in direct proportion to what you put into your mouth. A diet rich in whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, animal proteins and quality fats are key to maintaining the health of your immune system. Eating processed food, sugar, fast food, and other man made or synthetic foods are nutrient depleting, and leave the body without the nutrients it needs to heal itself.
If you are suffering from chronic or long term stress you are at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, digestive problems, autoimmune conditions, and a weekend immune system. Stress increases cortisol in your body, which suppresses inflammation during a response to stress. However, if it is present in your blood for prolonged periods of time, your body develops a resistance to cortisol and doesn’t respond to it properly. Instead, it can ramp up production of substances that actually promote inflammation. These pro-inflammation substances are associated with chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crones disease, Irritable bowel, diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Get rid of as much stress in your life as possible and offset the stress you do have with plenty or rest, relaxation, and meditation.
Failing to get enough sleep decreases your body’s production of important T cells. A T cells is a lymphocyte that actively participates in the immune response. In simple terms, sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. The more 60 hour work weeks you pull with limited sleep and recovery time, the more likely you are to decrease your body’s ability to respond to colds or bacterial infections. Support your immune system by getting plenty of rest and prioritizing sleep.
Exercise increases circulation and removes toxins from your body. It also helps flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other illness. Exercise can also increase the production of antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. When you don’t move, fluids and toxins stagnate, creating the perfect environment for disease. Find an enjoyable way to move vigorously daily.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is essential to your body’s immune system because it helps immune cells make new antibodies. It’s absolutely incredible how fast adequate levels of vitamin D can be restored by sunlight. The human skin produces approximately 10,000 IU of vitamin D in response to 10-30 minutes of summer sun exposure. That’s more than 16 times your daily requirement for vitamin D. Even better, six days of 10-30 minutes of sunlight exposure, without sunscreen, can make up for forty-nine days of no sunlight exposure. As your skin gets darker, it produces less vitamin D and you can stay out longer without burning. Sunning yourself for 10-30 minutes is generally recognized as a safe way to obtain more than adequate amounts of vitamin D.
The microorganisms inside your body and intestinal tract make up what is called your Microbiome. You depend on a vast army of microbes to protect you against germs, break down your food, and produce vitamins. Gut health is directly linked to your immune system. Things that can destroy your gut’s natural balance and lower immune system function are:
An unhealthy diet (fast foods, processed foods, sugar, pesticides, and genetically modified foods)
Taking probiotics daily can have a significant healthy impact on your Microbiome.
Certain immune boosting herbal teas can also help support and improve your immune systems ability to deal.
Herbal Immune Boosting Tea
Now, on to this fabulous recipe!
The ingredients used in this recipe are combined synergistically, supporting, enhancing and working together for maximum immune benefit. This immune boosting tea recipe can support and strengthen your immune system and empower your immune system to stay strong in the face of any encounter.
1 part elderberries
1 part echinacea herb
1 part eleuthero root
1 part astragalus root
1 part peppermint leaf
1 part rose hips
½ part cats claw
½ part nettle leaf
½ part hibiscus flowers
Measure and purchase the parts of each of the herbs listed by volume not weight. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Store in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and store in a cool dry location. Will keep in a cool, dark place for approximately 6-8 months.
Using a tea ball, use 1 teaspoon of Immune Boosting Tea per 1 cup of hot water and steep for at least 20 minutes or overnight for a more potent herbal infusion. Loose tea may be brewed using a French press. For larger batches or iced tea, combine loose tea in a large pot of boiling water. Turn off heat and steep for 30 minutes or longer for a stronger infusion. Cool then refrigerate for iced tea.
More About These Herbs Elderberries – These are very efficient at inhibiting influenza, herpes, and bacterial infections. Elderberries are known for their outstanding ability to ward off and cure the common cold and/or flu virus and are perfect for this immune boosting tea recipe. Elderberries are rich in antioxidants and have proven to be more effective at fighting the flu than Tamiflu. In one study published in the Journal of International Medical Research, 90% of Norwegian influenza patients who took the elderberry extract were free of the flu virus within three days, compared to six days for the control group who took placebos. Echinacea – Native American populations have used Echinacea for generations as a powerful natural antibiotic and immune booster. Echinacea helps speed up healing and is naturally antibacterial and anti-fungal. Eleuthero root – A powerful adaptogen and tonic herb, eleuthero helps the body properly respond to stress. This is a great herb to support the immune system. It is also known as Siberian Ginseng. Eleuthero is a gentle, yet powerful herb, which is why research suggests it’s the safest and most efficient immune-stimulant available for children and is perfect for any immune boosting tea recipe. Astragalus Root – Boosts and supports healthy immune function and offers protection against viral infections. Astragalus is considered an immune boosting “super herb” that aids in adrenal gland function and strengthens the digestive system. Studies in the US have shown Astragalus to boost cancer patient’s immune system during and after radiation therapy.
Peppermint Leaf – Due to its powerful antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral agents, peppermint oil is commonly used for those with low immune systems and immune disorders. Peppermint also enhances the flavor of this immune boosting tea, making it more enjoyable and easy to ingest. Rosehips – A rich source of vitamin C and bioflavonoids, rosehips help the body by boosting the immune system and shortening the duration of an illness. Rosehips also give a yummy flavor to any immune boosting tea blend.
Cats Claw – Boosts Immune Health. Animal and human studies suggest that, in addition to exhibiting powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, cat’s claw naturally boosts the immune system, strengthening its defenses against the multitude of pathogens encountered each day in the air, water, and environment.
Nettle leaf – Nettle is a nutritive herb rich in vitamins and minerals and is great for nourishing and supporting the immune system during times of stress. Nettle stimulates the lymph system to help the body stay hydrated, boost the immune system, and remove toxins.
Hibiscus flowers –The high amount of vitamin C in hibiscus tea is considered a great immune system booster, and it can help prevent against colds and the flu and enhances the flavor of any tea blend.
*Always check with your physician before using any herbal tea to stimulate your immune system.