Boosting Our Immunity to Illness

Boosting Our Immunity to Illness

Well, it’s that time again: cold and flu season. We all dread it, and hope we don’t get sick. But it seems every year brings some new strain of flu that we fall prey to, so most of us feel that getting sick is inevitable, and that all we can do is hope that we bounce back quickly. But there is more that we can do than just hope; in fact, there is quite a lot that we can do to build up our immune system, making it more effective at fighting off illness, in the first place, and helping us to get better quicker, if we do fall ill.

Aviva Romm, physician, author and master herbalist, has said, “The physical foundation of health is a properly functioning immune system.” Also, she says, “Emotional health, excellent nutrition, exercise, adequate rest and a relatively low-stress lifestyle are the underpinnings of immune health.”  Unfortunately, living up to these standards, in our stressful world, is not always easy to do, but by making these standards our goal, we will see the positive results.

Excellent nutrition is the cornerstone of good health: and eating whole foods, as much as possible, will make a big impact on how well our body fights infection. Dr. Romm says that it is best to avoid artificial colorings and preservatives, as well as hydrogenated oils. Also, she says, avoiding excessive amounts of sugar, or processed flours in our diets, make for a stronger immune system, as well.

For a vibrant immune system, we should be sure that we have adequate protein, essential fatty acids, and Vitamins A, B complex and bioflavinoids, C, and E, as well as magnesium, zinc and selenium, all of which play important roles in a healthy immune system.

In addition, there are many immune-enhancing herbs, which have shown to be very effective at preventing and fighting infection. Just a few of those that Dr Romm has mentioned are Echinacea, garlic and elder.

Andrew Chevallier, author of The Encyclopedia for Herbal Medicine, has called Echinacea one of “the world’s most important medicinal herbs”. Extensive research has shown its ability to fight both bacterial and viral infections. It is available in tincture and pill form.

Garlic has been the subject of over 1,000 studies showing its efficacy, not only fighting circulatory problems, but as a treatment for minor infections, including colds and flu. While the pill form is more appropriate for circulatory problems, the fresh clove is more effective for fighting infection.

According to Chevalier, the flowering tops of the elder tree are very effective for fighting coughs, colds, and flu. It is available in sweet syrup that is both effective and pleasant-tasting, making it great for those less enthusiastic about taking their medicine!

Healthy, Happy Holidays to all!

Jackie Callahan


jackie callahan in Wellness at Healthy Living and Cafe New York




Jackie Callahan has been interested in health and nutrition for her entire adult life. She is an amateur naturalist and has written over 13 illustrated journals on the flora and fauna of Fish Creek, an outlet of Saratoga Lake, and is currently studying with master herbalist, Dr. Aviva Romm, working toward a certification as an herbal educator. She works as a sales associate in the Healthy Living (Saratoga) Wellness department. She lives in Saratoga Springs on beautiful Fish Creek with her husband, John and their son, Alex. She also has two grown children, Danielle and Devin, who live in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont, respectively.