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Seasonal Immune Support

The cold weather and changing temperatures of February has caused many of us to focus on keeping our immune systems healthy and strong. Oftentimes, we wait until we are feeling ill to dig into our natural health cabinets for herbs. As a Natural Health Consultant, and Herbalist, I teach my clients to turn their attention from trying to fight illness to building and maintaining their health instead. Your body has an innate wisdom and capacity to maintain your health when you take responsibility to take care of your body and meet its needs. We have all had a year of unprecedented stress in our lives, and the health of our immune system has become a focus for so many. There are many natural formulas that you can use to provide your immune system with nutrients it needs to function at optimal levels. One of the keys to supporting a healthy immune response is support the effects of stress on your body. To support both these areas I love the Nature’s Sunshine formula My Immune Defense.

My Immune Defense is a 100% organic, non-GMO, powdered mushroom formula. It combines 6 medicinal mushrooms: Reishi, Turkey Tail, Changa, Maitake, Cordyceps and White Button. Here’s a few highlights of these magical mushroom’s properties –

Reishi – A true “stress buster” reishi mushroom acts as an adaptogen to improve our body’s ability to handle stress while having a calming effect on the body. Reishi also helps to balance a healthy immune response in the body. This mushroom provides important antioxidant activity to help your body keep your mucus membranes healthy and promote a healthy inflammation response. Antioxidants are key players in keeping your immune system healthy and strong.

Turkey Tail – Stands in the spotlight for its immune supporting properties. Turkey Tail helps modulate the inflammation response in the body. This beautiful mushroom is high in antioxidants and contains prebiotics which improve the health of gut bacteria.

Changa – is also high in antioxidants and is known to support your body’s healthy response to inflammation, making this a key player for a healthy immune system.

Cordyceps – This turbo charged fungi is well known for enhancing physical performance, energy and stamina. It has also been studied for its ability to enhance muscle recovery after exercise. The Chinese revere these fungi for their rejuvenating properties on the kidneys and lungs. Cordyceps has been studied for supporting healthy blood pressure levels.

Mataike – I found it interesting that “Maitake” means dancing mushroom in Japanese. The mushroom is said to have gotten its name because people were so happy to find this highly revered mushroom in the wild, that they danced with joy to celebrate. As with our other medicinal mushrooms Mataike is known for its immune balancing properties as well as its ability to protect the body from biological stressors.

White Button mushroom – is included in this formula as a natural vegan source of vitamin D, to further boost the immune supporting benefits of this formula. In addition, this little mushroom is full of antioxidant power and contains the minerals selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

My Immune Defense is a tasty formula. I add it to my smoothies or to my morning cup of coffee. Another added benefit of these wonderful mushrooms is that they may enhance your overall sense of wellbeing and improve your ability to relax at night. I certainly have found this to be true for myself.

When the weather changes drastically I open my bottle of Seasonal Defense. Seasonal Defense is a unique product designed to support our immune system during seasonal changes. The key herb in this formula is Andrographis paniculata. This herb has been used for hundreds of years in China India and Scandinavian countries to help the body cope with biological stressors that affect the respiratory system. Seasonal Defense also contains the herbs Oregano and thyme. Oregano and thyme are spicy herbs which help thin mucus and balance the inflammatory response in the sinus and lungs. The herb Bitter Orange has been added to the formula, like the two previous herbs, bitter orange is commonly to help the body maintain healthy mucus membranes. The last herb in this formula is Eleuthero, has powerful antioxidant properties, as well as stress and immune supporting properties. I love this formula during times of Seasonal weather changes and can feel how it supports my body. I feel good that I am giving my immune system some extra support and love as well.

I also love our wonderful essential oil blends and find them helpful to support my immune system during times of stress. When I am feeling rundown, I diffuse Nature’s Sunshine’s Essential Shield in my bedroom when I go to bed. The beautiful aromatic oils float in the air for hours, they help me to breathe better while fortifying my immune system as I sleep. I often combine this blend with lavender and lemon to help calm my mind and relax tension in my body.

Healthy immunity means taking care of your body.

Here are some tips on how you can build a healthy immune response in your body:

• Cut back on sugar intake, sugar depresses the immune system by as much as 50% • Drink 2 quarts of water daily. You may not be as thirsty during the colder months but don’t put aside your water intake. If you do not drink enough water your elimination channels become congested (kidneys, liver, colon, lungs, and skin); mucus buildup may result making you much more susceptible to bacteria and viruses. • Drink warm spicy herbal teas – I like to drink ginger and peppermint tea during cold weather. Peppermint these herbs support a healthy immune and stress response, as well as supporting healthy digestion. • Exercise every day. Exercise keeps the lymphatic system healthy and moving. The lymphatic system aids the immune system in destroying pathogens and filtering waste and toxins from the cells and the tissue spaces between them. • Keep warm. Make sure your neck and chest are protected from wind, drafts and cold. Use a scarf around your neck when going outside and wear turtleneck shirts or sweaters. The neck is an area where wind can invade the body and cause sickness. The Oriental medical perspective is that wind invasions make people more vulnerable to developing colds and flu. Always keep your feet warm and dry. • Get adequate sleep and relaxation. Your body is vulnerable to stress without enough rest, which weakens the immune system. • Eat more warm spicy foods, lightly steamed vegetables, and hot soups. I always add lots of fresh garlic (6 cloves for a quart) to my homemade soups. This herb has both anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties; garlic has an affinity for the lungs and helps to breakup and thin mucus. At the first signs of a cold, start drinking the garlic/vegetable broth throughout the day. This will often be enough to stop the cold in its tracks.

I Hope this information helps you and your families have a healthier winter season.

Blessings, Valerie Greguire, Natural Health Consultant, Certified Herbalist

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