3 Tips for Staying Healthy During Cold and Flu Season
With the cold/flu season in full force I want to share some basic self-care tips for boosting your immune system. In Traditional Asian Medicine, the protective immune system is called Wei Qi (or Fierce Qi). When it’s strong, this energetic force that circulates on the surface of the body fiercely defends us against pathogens. What stregthens this defense system over time are basics like good diet, sleep excercise and stress management. Building your Wei Qi can and should be done throughout the year.
Take Care of Your Gut
The health of our digestive system, particluarly the beneficial gut bacteria (microbiome), is essential to our overall health and the strenth of our immune system.
- Eat plenty of vegtables and legumes – plant fiber helps good gut microbes flourish.
- Eat gut flora enhancing foods daily like miso, sauerkraut, kimchee and yogurt.
- Eat warm, cooked foods. Avoid raw foods unless paired with warm foods.
Take Beneficial Herbs for Immune Support
The powerhouses of the plant world for enhancing the immune system are Astragalus (Huang Qi) and Reishi Mushroom (Ling Zhi).
- Astragalus: Supports digestive and respitory systems. Best taken in the formula Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen). Pharmacologically, Astragalus stimulates the immune system by increasing the number of white blood cells and multinuclear leukocytes.
- Reishi Mushrooms: Reishi has the ability to distinguish between an immune system that is deficient and an immune system that is overreacting to pathogens. It will regulate the immune system, rather than just stimulating the immune system.
3. Get Acupuncture, Moxibutsion and Cupping
Acupuncture (and even acupressure) along with the complementary modalities of cupping and moxa have been shown in multiple studies to promote immune responses.
Easy self care acupressure.
Acupoint Stomach 36: Good for digestion and immune system. Locate 4 fingers below the outside “eye” of your knee – next to the bone. Massage clockwise for a few minutes each day.
So what if you do get sick? There a multiple ways I can support you depending on your symtoms. Some general herbal anti-viral/bacterial remedies to consider having on hand are Gan Mao Ling, Elderberry syrup, and oregano oil. All can be found locally at health food stores, online or from me. Please reach out if you want more information on how best to use these remedies.