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Staying healthy is forefront on the minds of so many today. Fortunately, there is much nature offers to support the immune system via supplements, herbs, essential oils and foods. For example, 3-chymotripsin-like protease (3CL) attacks cells’ defense mechanisms against invaders; quercetin and epigallocatechin gallate are effective in destroying 3CL. These substances are found in green tea, flax seeds, citrus peel, oregano, garlic, ginger, elderberry and turmeric. 


Other evidence-based immune-supporting foods, herbs and spices include licorice root, cilantro, coconut oil, fennel, kale, parsley, pomegranates, red clover, sprouts, wild blueberries, spirulina, sage, basil, thyme, lemon balm, peppermint, rosemary, black tea, apple cider vinegar and cinnamon. Supplements to strengthen the immune system include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, silver nanoparticles, echinacea, olive leaf, pau d’arco, St. John’s wort, astragalus, ginseng, dandelion, calendula, cat’s claw and Chinese skullcap. For convenience and cost-effectiveness, there are products available that combine several of these.


Top essential oils to assist the immune system include eucalyptus, clove, grapefruit, cinnamon, tea tree, lemon grass and frankincense. There are also blends available. For safety, pure essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil if applied topically. They may also be diffused for a pleasant, aromatic way to support health.


A DYI project to consider is creating an herb garden, which can be as simple as a few pots on the porch or balcony or as elaborate as desired. Then enjoy delicious meals created with the immune-supporting foods and herbs. Consider eating some snacks and meals in raw form, such as salads and smoothies. This preserves the nutrition and enzymes to best promote health.


Holistic physician Gabriel Cousens, M.D., recommends eating a high-raw, 100 percent vegan diet, exercise, spiritual connection, sleeping well, breathing exercises, hydrating, fostering healthy relationships and managing stress. This is a tall order, but it does offer a direction to aim our efforts, and even small steps lead us in that direction. As with any health recommendations, one should always work with a qualified medical practitioner because individual needs vary. With a little know-how and diligence, we can build a stronger immunity.


Suzy Edmonson is an occupational therapist, massage therapist, spiritual nutrition counselor, and health coach. Find recipes at



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