People keep asking us here at the Apothecary what we are doing to stay healthy during the cold & flu season, so we decided to share with you some tips and favorite recipes!
Faith Rodgers (Clinical Herbalist & Apothecary Owner) – One of my favorite ways to stay healthy during the cold and flu season is to make Reishi Brews. Reishi Mushroom is a deep adaptogen tonic herb that strengthens the immune response and is very helpful for people who tend to pick up sickness easily. It also strengthens and nourishes the adrenal glands which are responsible for regulating our stress hormones. When stress goes up, immunity goes down, so taking Reishi can help bring your body back into balance. I also like to mix in Astragalus, an herb that raises immune resistance and improves energy levels. Blended with a warming, anti-inflammatory blend of Turmeric, Ginger, Cinnamon and Vitamin C-rich Orange Peel this recipe is a must have for me this time of year.
Immune Boosting Reishi Brew
- 6 Slices Reishi Mushroom
- 10 Pieces Atsragalus Root
- 1/4 cup Chaga Mushroom
- 1 Tbsp Ginger
- 1 Tbsp Turmeric
- 1 Tbsp Cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp Orange Peel
- 1 tsp Licorice (optional)
There are two ways to prepare this blend. You can do it in the crock pot by adding the herbs to the crock pot with 4 quarts of water and cooking on low for about 4-6 hours. Or you can add the herbs to a stock pot with 4 quarts of water and simmer on the stove on low for about 30-45 minutes. Drink several cups throughout the day. Extra brew can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days
Elder Berry is also a wonderful anti-viral, immune supporting herb that is great for children and adults. You can find my simple Elder Berry syrup recipe here
Amber Wood (Clinical Herbalist & Nutritionist, Apothecary Manager) –
Essential oils are great to keep in your winter medicine cabinet. Many essential oils are highly antimicrobial and are effective against viral, bacterial and fungal infections. I love using these oils in hand and surface sprays and in diffusers to help clear a space of pathogens. Here is my favorite recipe for a Hand Sanitizer / Disinfecting Room Spray
Hand Sanitizer Recipe with Essential Oils
- 2oz Spray Bottle
- 2 fluid ounces of an alcohol solution (at least 60% alcohol)*
- 13 drops Fir Balsam Essential Oil
- 10 drops Black Spruce Essential Oil
- 7 drops Thyme linalool Essential Oil
- 7 drops Juniper Berry Essential Oil
To make the hand sanitizer, combine all ingredients together in the spray bottle and shake well. Spray on hands, surface or in the air.
*For the base 60% alcohol solution you can either make a combination of 60% Grain Alcohol & 30% Aloe or use a simple 70% Isopropyl Alcohol solution that you can pick up at your local pharmacy. The option with aloe is a little easier on the hands!
Liz Faermark (Clinical Herbalist) –
Smudging with aromatic herbs can be a great way to clear the air in your home or office. You can burn herbs that contain antimicrobial oils like Artemesia (local sage), Cedar or Juniper to get rid of germs. You can also burn tree resins like Myrrh. Myrrh resin is a powerful antimicrobial that has been burned throughout history during large gatherings to prevent the spread of contagious disease.
Courtney Hughes (Clinical Herbalist & Nutritionist) –
One of the most important ways to stay healthy during flu season and beyond is to make sure you are nutritionally replete. This includes eating a healthy well balanced diet and limiting sugar consumption. Sugar has been shown to suppress immune system function by up to 40% for up to 8 hours.
There are also immune supporting supplements that can help you stay healthy this season. One supplement I highly recommend is Vitamin D. Vitamin D has been shown to help facilitate normal immune system function and reduce your likelihood of getting the flu. I also recommend the micronutrient Zinc. Zinc has the ability to boost immune function and fight inflammation. Stay Healthy!