Our bodies have an amazing defence system specifically designed to guard us against millions of bacteria, microbes, viruses, toxins and parasites all laying siege to invade. Our immune system also helps to clean up dead and abnormal cells. When we don’t look after ourselves properly, our immune system doesn’t work as well and we become rundown and sick.
We have a few ways to protect ourselves, starting with the skin which is a barrier against invaders. We also cough and sneeze to expel them if they have made it into our body. If they avoid this, then they can get caught in the mucus in our respiratory and digestive systems and are made unwelcome with the pH or specialised flora and enzymes throughout our body.
If the invaders manage to set up home even with all of these defences, our ‘adaptive’ immune system kicks in. It can be seen through the actions of the white blood cells, whose role is to:
- Engulf and destroy foreign bodies (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites)
- Release histamine as an inflammatory response
- Attack cancer cells, cells invaded by viruses and other abnormal cells
- Produce antibodies, proteins produced by the white blood cells that recognise and dispose of foreign bodies.
It is important to let the body develop the antibodies, so it is recommended that you only treat the symptoms if they are making you miserable, and otherwise support the immune system to do its job.
Fevers help to kill the bacteria or virus so ideally you want to sweat it out. The concern with fevers is when they get over 40C, or they are making the person miserable. In this case, you can help to bring it down with peppermint oil. This is the method that we now use (rather than rushing for the Panadol) and its very effective. The best way to apply is to rub a drop on the soles of the feet. You should see a difference in less than 15 minutes and you can reapply as needed. You can also put some on the forehead and back of the neck, but if it gets into the eyes it will sting – a lot! Wipe with fractionated coconut oil or vegetable oil if this happens.
Other dysfunctions of the Immune System can lead to allergies, hay fever, urtcaria (hives), dermatitis, and Auto Immune Disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative colitis, Coeliac Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.
According to Perth based Naturopath Sue Sadler, Auto Immune Disorders often appear after prolonged periods of stress and may also be related to dysbiosis (poor gut health), chronic infection, inflammation and Vitamin D deficiency. Here are 6 simple steps to boost your immune system:
1. Reduce Your Stress
Studies show a steady stream of stress can weaken your immune system. Reduce your stress by avoiding whatever stressors you can. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy.
2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Without enough sleep, your immune system may not have the resources it needs to fight off illness. Most adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
3. Eat a Healthy Balanced Diet
A diet high in whole foods, sprouted grains, and organic fruit and vegetables can help you get a healthy dose of antioxidants, which help protect your cells from free radicals.
Processed foods such as fast foods, snack foods, sweets and fizzy drinks don’t provide much in the way of nutrients. Often they contain high levels of sugar, harmful additives and chemicals that are not good for your body. Choose nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains and try to limit your alcohol intake as this can also affect your immune system.
Adding fermented foods (such as keifer, kombucha, fermented vegetables), herbs (such as ginseng, Echinacea, elderberry, astragalus) and superfoods (such as raw cacao, gogi berries, maca powder) into your diet can also help to boost your immune system. Green tea and fresh garlic are also wonderful immune system supporters.
4. Take a Wholefood Supplement
A daily multivitamin is another great way to increase your antioxidant intake and boost you immune system. Some nutrients that may be especially important for immune system health include selenium, vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc and magnesium.
Its important to take a good quality natural wholefood supplement that is bioavailable. We recommend DoTERRA’s LifeLong Vitality Vitamins which includes:
Taking a good probiotic (such as dōTERRA’s PB Assist) is also beneficial.
Another simple way to strengthen your immune system is by exercising. Getting regular exercise can also reduce stress and help lower your risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Overexercising may hamper the immune system so try to exercise moderately a few times a week.
6. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are packed with antioxidants and DōTERRA’s essential oils can be used topically or internally as directed to boost your body’s own natural defenses. Used aromatically, essential oils can also reduce stress, which is a key contributor to weakening the immune system.
An excellent oil blend for boosting the immune system is DōTERRA On Guard blend, which contains a unique proprietary blend formulated to support healthy immune function. It contains a combination of anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal oils including Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary, offering a fragrant, natural, and effective alternative to synthetic options for immune support.
At this time of year, we use On Guard every day to help prevent illness and disease. We apply a drop of oil to the soles of our feet daily, more often if someone is sick. We will also diffuse to kill any airborne pathogens and add a few drops to warm water and honey for a soothing drink. At the onset of sore throat or to fight laryngitis, we place 2-3 drops in ¼ cup of water, gargle and swallow.
Typically we have found that rather than being sick for a few weeks (the norm before we began our healthy journey), we usually bounce back in 12-48 hours. As a working mum of two, this is a blessing! Other immune stimulating oils include: Frankincense, lemon, melaleuca (tea-tree), oregano and thyme.
This information is not intended as medical advice. Everyone should make their own health care decisions, with advice from qualified professionals.
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