My first blog and it’s the beginning of winter so what better than to talk immune health because there seems to be a lot of bugs flying around, sore throats, coughs and the like.

Prevention is better than cure, so good prevention tactics are to eat well, it’s the foundation of good health after all. Vegetables and fruit are packed full of vitamins and minerals so they are the bedrock of nutrition. Protein is integral for the immune system so focus on lean meat, fish, legumes and beans, nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, eggs. Avoid refined sugar and junk food as it reduces your immune system’s ability to fight the bug.

Vitamin C is a good preventative, 1000mg a day during the cold season can be real help.

So, you are feeling the beginning of something coming on, you know, tiredness behind the eyes, that heaviness, and your head feels thick, maybe you are even starting to feel a bit achy and the throat is getting sore. What to do?

Welcome the herb andrographis, which has an ability to reduce the duration of cold, sore throats and coughs. Think of it working to rally your immune system’s adaptive immune system to respond quicker to the pathogen that is invading your system. It pairs very well with echinacea which helps the innate immune system (think of it as your first response) and has also been shown to reduce the duration of a cold. Andrographis and echinacea can shorten the duration of a cold by 1-2 days, which is a lot when you feel sick. A word about dosage, when in acute sickness take the top adult dose recommended on the pack and consult a health care practitioner for a tailored dosage.

There is a home remedy that I like to make when I feel something coming on, it is called the ‘Flu Brew’.

What you need to make it.

  • 1 lemon squeezed (scrubbed if not organic)
  • 1 thumb size of ginger, well chopped
  • 1 chilli, well chopped (or use powder)
  • 1-2 garlic, well chopped
  • 1-2 large glasses of water

How to make it.

Place all ingredients in a saucepan (lemon juice and also throw the whole lemon in too), and bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and reserve the liquid, to the liquid add 1 tsp of honey. The ginger and chilli are known as circulatory stimulants they warm your body up, garlic is a great anti-bacterial, lemon is super astringent and reduces mucus, all work to soothe a sore throat and clear the sinuses.

Talking of things to make at home I do love chicken soup, it is the famous elixir of all ills – rich in nutrients including immune boosting lysine. It can be easily made – I like to make it after I have roasted a chicken – using the bones to make a stock and the left-over chicken flesh from the roast helps make it a protein rich meal.

What you need to make it

  • 1 organic / free-range chicken (already roasted and a meal enjoyed)
  • 1 table apple cider vinegar
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 1 tsp of sea salt (e.g. Celtic sea salt)
  • Parsley – bunch
  • Pinch of dulse flakes

How to make it

After roasting a chicken and enjoying that meal – allow to cool – then strip the chicken of all meat and reserve in a container.  Put stripped chicken carcass into a stock pot covering with water and adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (it helps get the goodness out of the bones). Place on the stove on a medium – high heat to bring to boil, once boiling reduce to a simmer, cover and leave to simmer for 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Once time has passed strain the water – throwing the bones and keeping the water (now chicken stock). In the now empty stock pot, put a little olive oil and then add the leek, onion allowing to soften, ensure it does not brown/burn and stays moist by adding a ladle or two of chicken stock. Meantime chop and add the carrots. Add the rest of the chicken stock and cover leaving to simmer for 30 minutes. Add the chicken flesh then leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add the parsley at the end to boost the mineral density. Add a cup more of water if a less thick soup is desired.

Next blog, I will talk specifically about sore throats and coughs. Meantime, feel well this winter with a vegetable rich diet, immune boosting herbs when needed and utilising the ‘flu brew’ and chicken soup as excellent nutrition.

Did you know – I offer short consults specifically to address your symptoms and get a fast acting remedy to you ASAP.