The season of fall is a time when the strength of our immune system can be especially important. In fact, ancient eastern systems named the season of autumn as the time of year when protecting our immune system was particularly important. In today's video I discuss how to keep your immune system strong and how to stay healthy during this seasonal transition.
In Chinese Medicine, autumn is related to the metal element, our lungs, skin, and our overall immunity. According to Chinese Medicine, defensive (Wei) Qi is derived from the food we eat and the air we breath. This is especially interesting to note considering the western understanding that the bodies ability to absorb oxygen and nutrients from food is such a big factor in immunity. In Ayurveda, autumn is a time when vata increases which is a dry, cold, and airy quality. Ayurveda also recognizes this season as a time to protect our immunity by nourishing and supporting our skin and lymphatic system.
A healthy immune system acts as defence in your body, protecting you from invaders. In Chinese Medicine, we say the Wei Qi circulates throughout the body protecting it from the onslaught of outside disease factors. Unlike other systems, the immune system operates all over the body and doesn’t have one single home base. The immune system consists of immune cells, the lymphatic system, the spleen, and places such as the thymus gland (which lies behind the sternum between the lungs). When working correctly, mucus in your nasal passages, stomach acid in your digestive system, and your skin, all form a part of the immune system and act as protective barriers.
The two herbal medicines that balance and build immune function I discuss here are called “immune-modulators”. These herbs are better taken to strengthen the immune system over time. If you're already feeling under the weather be sure to check out my video on common colds.
Dang Sheng // Codonopsis
In Chinese Medicine, this herb is considered a tonic herb as it helps to build the Lung and Spleen Qi. Dang Sheng builds fluids and blood which makes it very helpful when there is weakness, poor digestion, fatigue or depletion leading to lowered immunity. This herb is generally very safe and has a very low toxicity when taken within normal dosage levels. Just add the root to teas or take a capsule or tincture but remember to take this herb early in the day due to it being slightly stimulating as it may lead to restlessness if taken before bed. Purchase Codonopsis here.
Dried Elderberries // Sambucus nigra
Elder berries are full of antioxidants and help your immune system to ward off viruses by blocking receptor sites in your cells. Make a syrup out of the berries or add them to your tea with a little honey and hibiscus.
One of my favourite self care rituals also happens to support the immune system! Ayurvedic self massage is a deeply nourishing practice that I use regularly and I suggest to many of my clients and students. Once you try this practice you’ll never look back. Learn more here.
Lifestyle and Diet
Our immune system functions at its highest when we’re getting enough sleep, eating healthy, staying hydrated, and getting plenty of vitamin C from foods like citrus, rose hips and red/green peppers. And make sure to limit your intake of sugar and processed food.
I hope this all helps you to support your immune system and stay healthy and strong as we transition through the seasons. Let me know in the comments below what you liked about the video or which remedy you chose to integrate into your life.