IMMUNE BOOSTERS FOR METAL SEASON
The air is colder and the days are shorter, we are finally entering autumn. In Chinese Medicine, autumn is associated with the Metal Element. Metal rules the Lungs and Large Intestine. It is involved with taking in and letting go, preparing for winter, and developing healthy boundaries (among other things!) In addition, Metal rules the Immune System. Now is the perfect time to give your immune system a little love! Here are some of my immune boosting suggestions:
1. STRESS LESS.
I know this is easier said than done but stress is the number one enemy of your immune system. When your nervous system is in “fight of flight” your immune system is literally switched off. Try and spend some time in “rest and digest’ every day, weather that is meditating in the morning, walking through the park at lunch, yoga after work, or turning your phone off on the weekends. Be disciplined about your downtime!
2. WEAR A SCARF.
In chinese medicine, wind is considered an EPF (external pernicious factor) It can access your system through a point at the back of your neck and bring on a cold. This may sound a little far fetched, but when you get sick your neck gets achy. And your glands get swollen! So I think it is an area we should keep protected. In autumn, especially in recent years, the temperature can drop dramatically from moment to moment. Protect your neck!
3. ESSENTIAL OILS.
Kitchen herb essential oils -- like thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, clove -- are all great for immune support. So effective in fact that in the middle ages, thieves used to douse their handkerchiefs in oils, to steal from plague victims without getting ill. My Immunity Blend is
an updated “thieves” oil, with all of the above plus Eucalyptus which specifically supports the
lungs. It is best when inhaled -- so use with a diffuser, or in a steam room or a hot bath.
I know that sounds contradictory but every time you use something with Antibacterial, or Antimicrobial on the label, you are actually damaging your immune system. Recent research has proven that our immune system is directly connected to our microbiome -- a network of good bacteria that is created in the gut. Our healthy bacteria keep the unhealthy bacteria in check. When you use hand sanitizer, it kills the good bacteria...damaging your body’s ability to fight its own battles. Wash your hands with soap and water instead.
5. GARDEN HERBS.
Astragalus, Echinacea, goldenrod and rose hips can all be grown in your garden! And all are great for immune support. I like to make a tea, but you can also make your own tincture, or buy in supplement form.
6. EAT YOUR CHICKEN SOUP
preferably Bone Broth! Your Grandmother was right! Chicken soup
is good for the immune system! In Chinese Medicine the Wei Qi is like an invisible force field that circulates on the surface of the body, protecting the body from pathogens. Chicken, and specifically the broth, supports the Wei Qi. Go one step further and make (or buy!) bone broth. In Chinese Medicine bone broth is used to strengthen and nourish our essence, qi, and wei qi, as well as warm the yang and build blood. The broth is said to enter and nourish our Kidneys, Liver, Lungs and Spleen. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, silicon, phosphorus and other trace mineral, and contains collagen, proline and gelatin...is it the original superfood!
BONE BROTH RECIPE
Broth can be cooked on the stovetop on low heat, or in a slow cooker (crock pot).
- 2-3 pounds of bones (Include 2-4 chicken feet, or 1 sliced calf’s foot for added gelatin; if using fish, use non-oily only. If using beef bones, you may want to roast them first for added flavor.)
- 4 quarts of cold filtered water
- 2 Tbsp to ½ cup vinegar (to taste)
- Optionally add 1 -3 onions, 2-3 carrots, 2-3 celery stalks, Spices as desired,
- 1 bunch parsley
Put bones, meat, vinegar, water, any spices and all vegetables (except parsley) in stainless steel pot or crock pot. Let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Bring to boil. Skim the scum off of the surface of the water.
Reduce heat, cover and simmer. For fish, at least 2 hours; for poultry, at least 8 hours; for beef, at least 12 hours.
Add the parsley in the last 10 minutes.
Strain, let cool, and refrigerate. Observe amount of gelatin in broth, and make adjustments to cooking time, and vinegar amount, accordingly.
Remove congealed fat that rises to the top.
Freeze any broth that you won’t be using within 7 days.