The frequency of colds and flus begin to increase in fall. Regardless of whether you or kids spend time indoor or outdoor we all seem more susceptible to catching the latest bug. Consider incorporating herbs and nutrients in sneaky and simple ways that can help support healthy immune function for the entire family through this challenging time! Here are some of ways to incorporate immune-supportive medicines into food and drink in a way that is easy, economical and doesn’t send the kids running from “medicine”:
- Brew 2 cups of an immune support tea [consider: elderberry (Sambuccus nigra), echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia or E. pupurpea), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), or your other favorite immune herbs]. Allow the tea to cool; then mix with 2 cups of your favorite juice. This can be frozen into popsicles for a healthy treat or drunk as a diluted juice (decreasing the sugar intake of your children or pediatric patients at the same time)!
- Consider incorporating immune-supportive mushrooms like reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), shiitake (Lentinus edodes) and codonopsis (Codonopsis pi/osula) into the diet. These mushrooms can be decocted (simmered for a couple of hours) to make a strong mushroom broth/tea. Freeze this tea in 1 cup portions and use as a substitute for broth or water when you cook quinoa, rice or other grains. Consider adding a bone (long bone with marrow) to the broth when simmering to add additional flavor and traditional immune support. They’ll never know they’re eating their medicine!
- Consider a breakfast smoothie: smoothies allow you to hide a number of immune-supportive products and get them easily into picky kids (and spouses)! Consider a berry smoothie with added elderberry syrup (a flavor that blends right into one with blueberries). Add a probiotic powder to any flavor smooth ie, which blends in without any texture or flavor, as probiotics have been demonstrated to support healthy immunity.
- Use food as medicine: remember that whole foods supply nature’s balance of minerals, vitamins and macronutrients. Consider including seasonal foods high in zinc (such as Swiss chard, collard greens, winter squashes, lamb, and mushrooms) and iron (such as thyme, parsley, cinnamon, tofu and animal proteins). Vitamin C can be found io high amounts in winter squashes as well as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale.
- Think of boosting the immune system with the spices as well! Spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic and onions all have powerful immune-supportive actions as well. Not only will food be delicious, but it will provide additional support to keep the entire family healthy.
By Jaclyn Chasse, N.D.
Tag: elderberry, Sambuccus nigra, echinacea, Echinacea angustifolia, E. pupurpea, astragalus, Astragalus membranaceus immune support, probiotic powder, blueberry, cinnamon, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, oregano, garlic, onions