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Gillian's Blog: Reflections on Immunity

Posted by Gillian Smith on
Gillian's Blog: Reflections on Immunity

Reflections on Immunity 

Swine Flu, H1N1, antibiotic-resistant’s enough to make one want to stay in bed!  There are so many ways to protect one’s self from getting ill with these or the regular flu, and to minimize the severity of illness if one does succumb.  One way is to try to avoid being so afraid of coming down with the flu.  I try to remind myself and my clients that fear itself is a contributing factor to getting sick.  In Chinese medicine theory, fear and stress adversely affect the kidneys, which are crucial to the body’s ability to rid itself of toxins.  Try to incorporate as many stress relieving methods into your lifestyle as possible, especially during flu and cold season: meditation, dance, yoga, feldenkrais, reiki, hoola hooping, walking, laughing, slowing down.  Herbal stress relievers include teas high in minerals and vitamins, such as our Mighty Mineral Nerve Tonic, featuring Red Raspberry, Milky Oats, Alfalfa, and Nettle.  Another more relaxing tea is our Soul Soother, great in the evenings or for calm during the day, with Skullcap, Lemon Catnip, Chamomile, Rose, and more.  Either is highly recommended for nourishing the whole body, helping deal with stress, and keeping the kidneys healthy as well.  A recent study shows drinking hot beverages helps “kill” viruses in our mouth and throat, but if tea isn’t your thing, or if you want a little extra help to calm the nerves, our Nerve Tonic tincture with Skullcap, Motherwort, St. John’s Wort, etc, is highly effective in small doses as a nerve tonic, or in larger doses for anxiety. Tinctures are fast acting and highly absorbable, concentrated herbal extracts.  For warding off a cold or flu, I like immune system building herbs such as Astragalus, a Chinese herb featured in our Immune and Adrenal Tonics. When I have a tickle in my throat, my favourite thing to do is gargle with sea salt water, followed by a hit of our Throat Spray, containing soothing and anti-viral herbs such as Licorice, Thyme, and Echinacea, and flavoured with Pomagranate. We also blend the ever popular immune stimulating, anti-viral, antiseptic formulas such as our Cold Relief (Echinacea, Thyme, Yarrow, and Oregon Grape – our local Goldenseal); Super Echinacea; and Echinacea and Propolis.  For kids, we have the Immune and Lung tonics diluted with vegetable Glycerin to make it yummy.  All of our herbs are organically grown or ethically wildcrafted, and 80% are grown on our farm or gathered in our surrounding wilderness. 

* originally published under a different title in Yoga Tree, October 2009 (

(photo: my partner Jonathan and our son Jamie)