If you want to avoid getting sick, this article will dive into a number of things you can do from herbs and diet, energetics, mindset and more. There’s no particular order as to importance in this list.
I first wrote about this in 101 Simple Steps to Radiant Health, as Invincibility Belief. “Going back to beliefs from earlier. Why not take this to the extreme? What if you truly believed that you never got sick? Even if you do end up sick, are you going to think that tomorrow is going to be even worse, or do you go to bed thinking you’ll be back to 100% the next morning? You may not be, but you will get over it faster than someone who doesn’t. At the same time cultivate a belief in invincibility. Go through life where nothing can hurt you. Obviously, this is not something you want to put to the test. But what if it helps you get by without ever getting injured? If it does, you might as well use it.”
Your beliefs dictate the actions you take (like the rest of this list). Your beliefs also program subconscious processes within the human body such as your immune system. So even if this belief isn’t “true” in the normal sense of the word, that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be extremely useful.
We released an amazing 64:1 Elderberry Extract last year, and it’s become one of my favorite herbs. In addition to the great sour taste, it has amazing benefits for the immune system, with components that specifically fight off viral infections.
That’s far from all the benefits. The phenols may support healthy gut bacteria, which in turn support immunity. The powerful antioxidants are pretty much always useful.
Lately, I’ve been mixing this into our home-made kombucha and mead so I’m getting a regular maintenance dose through those. In addition…
Elderberry Liquid Suspension
I find that tinctures are very convenient to take compared to powders. As such I recently worked on making a faux tincture or liquid suspension specifically with Elderberry.
You can watch the video here or read even more detail in the post.
You can easily do this yourself…and we’re investigating creating this as a product for sale as well.
I find this is much easier to take, especially on the go. It also is very simple and easy to give to my almost-two-year-old daughter.
I shot a video about this old trick many years ago. Garlic, ginger, and onions are mostly used to make food taste good. But you can think of them as herbs or superfoods too. They have some potent immune system strengthening components in them.
The trick is to consume a clove of garlic, a green onion and a chunk of ginger all raw at the first sign of sickness coming on. It’s intense…but better than getting sick.
Fire cider is an old herbal remedy in which the spicy herbs listed above and many more are extracted in vinegar. (Technically making fire cider what is called an acetract.)
Lately, my wife has been making this. Not only does it taste amazing, but it packs a powerful punch. Just a sip of this per day seems to help keep colds at bay. So this is a great way to get the benefits of the above method but in an easier to use form.
She’s even made a batch of Elderberry fire cider and you can find the recipe here. It is quite easy to make and great to have on hand.
Recognizing the importance of the sun on the skin goes far beyond vitamin D, I sought to obtain all I needed from the sun itself. Unfortunately, according to my blood tests, I was not getting enough. So I still seek to get exposure to the sun when I can, which tends to be just in the summer, but otherwise, I’m back to supplementing with vitamin D semi-regularly especially in winter months.
It’s cheap and very effective. Vitamin D is used in a whole lot of systems in the body, the immune system just being a part of it. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it isn’t necessarily needed every day as your body will store it. I tend to take 10,000 to 25,000 IU’s every few days. It is best taken with food especially fat to absorb more.
Zinc is a mineral that is also important for many systems, such as the sex hormones. And it’s also great for the immune system too. Zinc lozenges are a fairly common item that can help.
I haven’t been using zinc much supplementally as I feel I get enough from my diet. But you need to be careful. The soil is notoriously depleted of this mineral. Many people will find supplementing with zinc quite helpful for avoiding colds and more.
The medicinal mushrooms, including Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, Lion’s Mane, and more are all helpful for the immune system in different ways. While Elderberry tends to be best in acute conditions, I think of medicinal mushrooms as playing the long game. They won’t necessarily help you specifically when you have a cold, but over time they seem to make the immune system more intelligent.
Personally, I love our Mushroom Alchemy Tincture. There is some anecdotal evidence that a combination of mushrooms together, like the seven here, works even better for the immune system than any one of them alone. There’s something to be said of synergy.
As mentioned earlier, being out in too cold of weather can lower your immune defenses which allow the bugs to get in and take root. But understand that what is cold is largely personal. What is too cold for you? While bundling up to keep warm is a valuable approach, we can also aim at increasing our ability to handle variance in temperature.
By working with cold exposure, such as taking cold showers, as made popular recently by The Iceman, Wim Hof, you build your resistance to cold. Essentially, you work to make your body more antifragile.
Limit Mucus Building Foods
Ever notice that some kids run around with runny noses pretty much all the time? This is a sign of some intolerances to foods they’re eating. The most common culprit is dairy. Dairy, refined flours and many other foods are mucus forming.
Please understanding that mucus is not bad itself. Our body has a reason for creating mucus, which is to coat mucous membranes, providing lubrication and more. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. While you can optimize your diet to not over-produce mucus, this becomes especially important when you are exposed or feel an illness coming on. Cut out or at least reduce these foods at this time.
Sugar, especially refined forms, can reduce immune function by as much as fifty percent for a period of time. For this reason alone it is best to avoid sugar when around sick people or at the first sign of illness.
Many sugary foods are also mucus producing so this can be a one-two punch to knock out your immunity. Again, cut down or out completely sugary foods at this time.
Not many people know this about me, but I was certified in a two-year energy medicine program. There is a whole lot I could cover in regards to building immunity from this! But that’s a whole series of articles itself. In brief, there are many things that can be done with simple acupressure (aka just using the hands, not needles) that really help support your energy systems.
Energy is part of internal ecology. Physical symptoms first come about as a disruption of some sort in energy. If your Spleen meridian is stagnating, then that means your immunity will be too for instance, as the Spleen is important for this function. Of course, all herbs tend to impact these pathways as well.
An easy to follow yet powerful energy routine I covered inside my course, Buzzing with Energy.
What to do at the First Sign of Illness
I want you to pay particular attention to the first signs of getting sick. Everything listed above is great to do as a maintenance practice. In addition, when that tickle in the back of your throat comes on (that’s the first sign for me and many others generally), it is time to amp everything up.
This means megadosing herbs and vitamins. I’ll take larger amounts of Elder up to six times per day. I’ll take a larger amount of vitamin D. I’ll tighten up my diet, perhaps even fasting so energy doesn’t need to go to digestion. I’ll do more energy drills several times a day as well.
If possible, I try to take it easy and avoid stressing my body and mind with my workouts and even with my work. (For many people being sick is the only time they rest so they’re being forced to do so.) By doing all of the above I’ve often the sickness can be kept at bay completely. At the very least these methods will likely reduce the severity and duration of symptoms.
No Schisandra When Sick
One final note. Schisandra is a great herb that helps immunity as well as just about every other system in the human body. It is great to take but NOT when you are sick. Because of its astringent qualities, Schisandra tends to “lock-in” things to the body. This includes viruses and bacteria.
So Schisandra is great to take when you’re doing well to support your immunity but it is best to be avoided in acute conditions like colds and flu. This would include not taking Spartan or Athena at those times either. It’s not going to stop anything, it’s just a best practice.
I wanted to cover a number of things I do from a broad perspective on health, including mindset, nutritional, energetic and more. Obviously, there is even more that could be added to this list. So now it’s your turn…
Have you avoided getting sick for long stretches of time? What works for you? What doesn’t?