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Immune Boosting Tips - including immunity tincture recipe

As the weather turns, the nights draw in and the wind blow the changing leaves off the trees. We may notice a slowing down of our energy or little sniffles appearing. Now is the time to turn to nature to strengthen our immune system and prepare for the coming cold weather.

The summer is always a time of growth, of life and late evenings but if we look to nature to guide us in what we should be doing it is now stocking up on reserves, pulling its energy from the leaves back into its trunk and roots to hold onto till spring appears. The birds are making the most of all the trees bursting with fruit and so should we.

When we go for a walk our hedgerows are laden with just the answers we need. Rosehips for vitamin C, elderberries for the immune boosting antioxidant anthocyanin (these have now pasted for this year but you can get them in dried form), sloes for restorative properties, hawberries for their heart supporting function and apple for vitamins and pectin. Now is the time that we can also dig up horseradish roots growing on our property, which is so good for coughs and colds and start adding to oils to preserve them or freeze them for later use. I have been very lucky this year with my chilli crop and this again is a wonderful immune booster.

If your not sure what some of the above looks like I recommend the classic book Food For Free by Richard Mabey or have a look online or in your local library. Armed with tools to accurately identify (this is so important – if in doubt never pick or eat a plant) get outdoors and get picking your medicine. The foragers code says you should never strip a plant of its produce, only take what you need, ask permission to forage if on private land and remember it is illegal to dig up a wild plant.

My father used to tell me stories of having to collect rosehips during the Second World War for his mother to make syrup to see them through the winter. Where has this wonderful tradition gone? Has the knowledge of natural immune boosting been replaced in some peoples minds by a trip to the doctors or pharmacist to be injected with the genetically modified flu vaccine?

As the weather changes and we need to boost our immune systems here are some things we do in our house that I want to share with you.

- Drink plenty of clean water to maintain a healthy body and help flush any bugs out of the system.

- Take aged garlic extract - a great way to get the antibiotics of nature without the smell of eating raw garlic, which you can definitely do to as well.

- Up vitamin C levels. We take a supplement in the colder months that I make from the top sources of naturally occurring vitamin c on the planet, and have a morning smoothie packed full of blackberries, blueberries, supergreens and vegan protein powder.

- Exercise outdoors. This is a sure way to boost immune function.

- Supplement with vitamin D in the colder months if you don’t get out enough in the sunshine. - you need a lot more of it than you realise. 900 functions in the body depend on it and 8 months of the year we just don't get enough of it in the UK. We need to be taking approx 4000 iud a day

- Medicinal mushrooms like reishi are superb immune regulators. I have these in the cbd hot chocolate mix and also my longevity drink mix -

- Put some tea tree or eucalyptus essential oil in a diffuser to air borne kill germs. I love the doterra On Guard oil for this.

- Eat a rainbow of foods everyday for optimum nutrients.

- Watch out for refined sugar consumption, as this will compromise the immune system.

- Minimise exposure to toxins, as they also stress immune function.

- Harvest garden herbs to make a lovely immune boosting tea. Our favourite is mint, lemon balm and a little sage and rosemary. Alternatively buy a good one like Yogi Tea. Watch out for cheap teabags as these usually contain plastic

- Make a winter immune boosting tincture (below).

Immune Boosting Tincture

1 large Kilner jar

1/2 cup of blackberries (these can be frozen ones)

1/2 cup of fresh or dried elderberries

1/2 cup of hawberries

1/2 cup of rosehips

1/2 litre of 40 proof vodka or brandy

Optional extras- a knob of ginger, a knob of horseradish root, a knob of turmeric, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 chilli, a handful of black pepper cloves, a few sprigs of fresh garden herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, mint.

Wash all the ingredients well and place in the Kilner jar, top with the alcohol and make sure the liquid covers all the ingredients. Put the lid on and leave for 6 weeks in a cool dark place. Strain liquid through a Muslin cloth and then store the liquid in a dark glass bottle. Take 1 tsp daily or when needed. I like to add it to warm water with some honey or maple syrup when I feel a little run down.

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