Whether you’re trying to prevent getting the flu, or if you’re dealing with cancer, a strong immune system can benefit everyone!

Here are some immune system basics:

1. Avoid sugar.  Sugar directly suppresses the immune system for a period of time after eating it.

2. Eat a healthy diet.  As much as possible, eat organic food.  If you can’t afford to eat organically all the time, check out EWG’s “dirty dozen” list  (ewg.org), and at least eat produce from that list organically.  Include ample amounts of fruits and vegetables.

3. Stay hydrated!  This is especially important in our dry climate, and especially in winter when the wood stove is on a lot.  Drink at least 8 cups of your best water daily.  Hydration is equally important externally—be sure to add moisture to the air—use a humidifier, or a pot of water on the wood stove. A recent study showed that people are more likely to catch a cold or flu when the air is dry (of course—mucus membranes can’t do their job when dry!).

4. Avoid burning the candle at both ends.  It may feel like running on caffeine is a good plan, but it will catch up with you!  Especially take time to rest when you are sick or recovering.

5. Supplements: Vitamin D and vitamin C can help prevent the flu.

6. Moderate exercise:  Yoga, dance, walk briskly.  Keep your energy flowing!

7. Joy! Do what brings you joy, whether that’s listening to music, dancing, doing art or crafts.  Laugh a lot!  Watch funny movies or surround yourself with silly friends.

8. Find a way to process emotions.  Being told to stay positive when you’re not feeling it can seem like you’re expected to suppress your feelings.  Allow your emotions to come up and process them, either through EFT (“tapping”), The Journey, or other methods.  Some flus can come with depression—be aware and don’t believe it to be yours.

9. Last but not least—herbs. It may seem odd that I’m saving this for last.  Herbs work best if you’re taking care of yourself in other ways too.  Herbs used for detox can be helpful in not only preventing illness but in recovery too.  Liver herbs such as dandelion root, burdock root, licorice root and yellow dock can be taken before and after.  Essiac tea is a great detox formula.  Marshmallow tea keeps the mucus membranes hydrated and can be used before, during, and after the flu. Anti-microbial herbs are great after you’ve been exposed—echinacea, usnea, osha. Elderberry in all forms (elderberry juice, syrup, or gummies) is antiviral and can be taken to prevent and heal colds and flu.  Look for recipes online.

10. Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic flu prevention remedy. Take at the first signs.

Next month we’ll talk about what to do if you have the flu.  Stay well!

Dorje Root, RH (AHG) is an herbalist and natural healer, also working with Plant Spirit Medicine, Intuitive Energy Healing and ‘The Journey’ cellular healing.  For an appointment call 719-937-7786 or visit www.rootsofhealing.com.