Cold and flu season always seems to sneak up on us, and this is the time of year when it is important to take a holistic approach to prevent sickness. Rather than wait around until you get sick just to take medicine to relieve the symptoms, why not prevent the sickness in the first place? If you incorporate these herbs into your lifestyle this Fall, you will be on track for a healthy season, free of the cold or flu.
Here are six herbs to prevent sickness this Fall.
Shiitake mushrooms are antiviral and help keep the common cold away. In addition to shiitake mushrooms, there is reishi and chaga. These two don’t taste as delicious as shiitake mushrooms, so take them in powder, capsule, or tincture form. It’s easy to add these medicinal mushroom powders to your morning smoothie or cup of coffee. Check out Four Sigmatic for some of the best medicinal mushroom powders and teas.
Burdock root is full of vitamins and minerals, and its inulin content is currently being studied for its beneficial effects on the immune system. Burdock root has been known to be particularly beneficial in supporting the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. Instead of using a powder, you can actually eat burdock root (it happens to be in season too!). Add it to your stir fry, sushi, or pickle it for garnishing your meals!
This herb has complex polysaccharides that act as immunomodulators, and the vast amount of nutrients nourish the body. For this herb, it is best taken as a supplement or powder.
Garlic is incredibly antiviral. Compounds in garlic boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells when faced with viruses. Not only does garlic ward off the cold and flu in the first place, but if you already have a cold or the flu, garlic will help lower the duration of your sickness. Make sure to buy fresh and organic garlic and preserve allicin, the active compound, by adding garlic to your recipes at the last minute. Over-cooking garlic will cause it to lose those benefits. Consume 2-3 cloves a day in soups or salad dressings for best results.
This popular immune-boosting herb is best known for being taken in the form of elderberry syrup. Elderberry extract has been shown to drastically shorten the duration of the flu and reduce the need for medication. If you feel sickness coming on, take 3 tablespoons of elderberry syrup each day.
Ginger is a super herb. Ginger beats the chills, reduces aches and pains, relieves digestive symptoms, and helps boost immunity. You can enjoy a soothing ginger tea, add it to your recipes, or simply drink it raw from the juice bar!
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate