Your immune system is your body’s security system and sometimes needs an immune boost.
The immune system deters foreign invaders like bacteria, parasites, and other microbes that cause infections. Disorders of the immune system range from common conditions such as mild, seasonal allergies to more serious autoimmune diseases. Stress, lack of sleep, and other common lifestyle and environmental conditions can contribute to a weakened immune system, which can make you vulnerable to infections. Diet, vitamins, and acupressure can work side-by-side with healthy sleep, hydration, and stress relief in order to boost immunity in adults and children.
Acupressure To Support Immune Boost
Acupressure is a comfortable and accessible way to help your immune function. By applying pressure to the same points as acupuncturists use with acupuncture needles, you can stimulate your body’s Qi (energy) and natural healing responses. Apply finger pressure in a slow, rhythmic manner to enable the layers of tissue to respond. Never press any area in an abrupt, forceful, or jarring way. Make slow circles for about 30 seconds for each pressure point. Points are located on both the left and right sides of the body.
ST 36 is an acupressure point that can be found on the front of the lower leg. While sitting down, with your legs in front of you, measure roughly four fingers below the knee cap on the outside edge of your shinbone. You will know you’re in the right place if you point your toes backward and feel the muscle (tibialis anterior muscle) below tighten.
Stomach 36 has a nickname of being a Vitamin C point because it is one of the most effective acupuncture points for the immune system, recovering fatigue, and boosting endurance, just like Vitamin C.
Large Intestine 11
LI 11 is located close to the tip of the elbow. The easiest way to find it is to bend your arm and look down to the outer side of your forearm towards the elbow. LI 11 lies where the elbow crease meets the joint.
This point runs along the Large Intestine meridian. It works to reduce fevers and is used to help prevent cases of flu and immune compromising conditions. It is used to clear heat and is like a vent for the body to release steam.
This is a great immune-boosting point for common colds, cases of flu, asthma, bronchitis, and any other lung issues. This point descends lung and stomach Qi (energy) and stops coughing.
LU7 is located on the inside of the arm just before the wrist. To find this point, interlock your fingers (palms snuggly together) and direct your attention to your lowest thumb. On the outer edge of your thumb, you will find the crease of your wrist. The point lies roughly one inch down, toward the elbow, in a depression between the sinew and the bone.
LU7 is another helpful point for symptomatic relief of cough, headache, and/or stiff neck. It is used to help the lungs in any way (providing relief from asthma, wheezing, bronchitis, cough, congestion) and can help with symptoms of a weakened immune system.
Herbal Remedies For Immune Boost
The herb astragalus or Huang Qi in Chinese supports your immune system while assisting the body to adapt to daily stress. Astragalus is a foundational herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It promotes healthy resistance from the occasional physical and emotional stressors, and it also supports healthy immune functions.
Immune Boost Soup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 3-6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
- 4-6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 3-4 pieces astragalus root
- 10 cups vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- Salt & Black pepper (to taste)
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cup chopped scallions
How to prepare Immune Boost soup:
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the onions, garlic, and ginger
- Saute until soft and translucent
- Add shiitake mushrooms, carrots, astragalus root, and vegetable stock
- Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45-60 minutes
- Add tamari and adjust the seasoning with salt as needed
- Add the broccoli florets and cook until tender, about 2 minutes
- Remove the astragalus root pieces
- Serve soup in bowls and garnish with scallions
Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibiotic properties. It’s also a natural decongestant.
Garlic Lemon Honey Tea
- 3 cups of water
- 3-6 cloves of garlic, halved
- Honey to taste
- Lemon to taste
How to prepare:
- Put water in a medium saucepan and add garlic
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes (the longer you simmer, the stronger the tea will be)
- Remove from heat, add honey and lemon juice
- Sip 1/2 cup, three times per day
- Refrigerate for 3-5 days
Elderberry is a commonly used medicinal plant that is known all around the world. Elderberry is excellent for flu prevention, but it is contraindicated if you have an illness that manifests with a cytokine storm. This includes the flu and COVID-19. Do not take elderberry if you think you have the flu or COVID-19. Ask a qualified practitioner for more details.
Whole-body Support Tea
4 oz. Astragalus
4 oz. Elderberry
4 oz. Eleuthero
4 oz. Rose Hips
4 oz. Cinnamon Chips
How to prepare:
- Mix all herbs together and store in a clean, dry jar
- Simmer 1 tablespoon herbal mixture in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes
- Add honey to taste
- Drink 1-3 cups per day
Personal Protection Steps for Immune Boost
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for 20 seconds or more
- Avoid touching your face
- Cough and sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue, then throw away the tissue
- Avoid close contact with people you do not live with- stay at least 6ft apart
- Stay home when you are sick
- Clean and disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces
- Clean your produce thoroughly with water
You can make a lovely and effective disinfectant spray quite easily. Fill a 16 oz spray bottle most of the way full with 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Add the following essential oils:
- 30 drops tea tree essential oil
- 15 drops lemon essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
Lung Exercises for Immune Health
Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends Qi Gong, a gentle exercise of movement of Qi (energy). The ancient exercise is a mind and body wellness practice integrating movement, posture, breathing, and awareness in a new category of exercise called “meditative movement.” Meditative Movement is defined by (a) some form of movement or body positioning, (b) a focus on breathing, and (c) a cleared or calm state of mind with a goal of (d) deep states of relaxation. You can try Qi Gong at home with these samples online. Expect to feel relaxed and calm, and focus on your breath.
Vitamins that Support Immune Health
Vitamin C is one of the biggest immune system supporters. Daily intake of vitamin C is essential for good health. Foods rich in vitamin C include – oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, strawberries, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and broccoli.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps your body fight off infection. Some foods rich in vitamin E include nuts, seeds, and spinach.