It is a growing consensus among the holistic community that an alkaline diet comprised of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables is one of the most reliable ways to support immunity, Edgar Cayce, dubbed “the [American] father of holistic medicine” recommended to "keep the body alkaline”.…stating: "Be mindful that the diet is such that it keeps. Toward alkalinity for the body at all times; for this will not only prevent infectious forces but will aid in keeping the blood stream in such a manner as to aid in eliminations."
Such a diet will act preventatively as well as remedially. Conveniently a diet high in antioxidants as I recommended in my previous blog is also highly alkalizing… To recap, colorful pigment rich foods like carrots, plums, leafy greens (chard, kale, cabbage, lettuce, collard, etc.) contain compounds like beta carotene. vitamin C, glutathione, vitamin E, polyphenols, and flavonoids, which protect the foods from infection or decomposition and directly or indirectly do the same for our bodies. Antioxidants help preserve and renew organs and cellular functions that keep the body healthy in their respective duties such as name some thymus t cells, spleen immune cells, gut Peyer’s patches which use fats and amino acids to help produce lymph fluid, bone marrow and other sources of immune cells such as white blood cells which identify and destroy invading or harmful organisms and chemicals through phagocytosis in which the invader is eaten and disabled by immune cells.
Food derived antioxidants are best absorbed because they are matrixed with known and often unidentified co-factors (like bioflavonoids in the rind of citrus fruits that help the vitamin C in the juice be more biologically active). However, the higher doses in supplements can help meet a more urgent need in the time of onset of sickness already underway. These supplements can be easily tolerated by most except if one has a sensitivity to the foods they are derived from.
Herbs that strengthen immune cells preventatively; astragalus, probiotics/versus remedial olive leaf/elderberry/lomatium, etc. recommendations. Rest (recovery) and activity (lymphatic and detoxification).
Herbs like echinacea and larch and any rich in arabinogalactans and mucopolysaccharides support white blood cell and often T cell (define) count and are best used when one feels susceptible to infection i.e. run down or in a contagious environment, which over the last year has been potentially everywhere,. Others act anti microbially like hyssop, olive leaf, elderberry, list. Some strengthen immunity while reducing inflammation: quercetin a hard nutrient to ordinarily come by in red onions and buckwheat, etc., PEA, etc.
Those with pre-existing autoimmune conditions such as severe allergies, RA, and lupus should endeavor to maintain and support immunity rather than increase it through traditional herbal and supplemental strategies. For that and those who want to have consistent and steady immunity one should include in their regimen substances like black seed oil, a medicinal seed from the middle east and venerated in the Koran as close to a panacea as can be defined, while avoiding the stronger immune-response strengthening supplements above. Also, hyssop is a biblical herb. Thyme. Ashwagandha. Pot liquor like my mom used to make which is the macro and micro nutrient rich broth left over from cooking vegetables with culinary her name thrown in. Star anise is also advisable to everyone for its’ antimicrobial and mucosal i.e. respiratory and digestive linings benefits an easy way to integrate star anise is to make a bone broth and vegetable soup or stew using Chinese 5 spice, which imparts all the medicinal attributes contained in its 5 ingredients: star anise, cinnamon, Szechuan pepper, clove and fennel each therapeutic in their own right.
Also beta gluten rich foods including oat and other grains. Probiotics (healthy bacteria) which are fed and propagated by prebiotic grains or mushrooms or vegetables like cabbage, are doubly important to autoimmune sufferers because of the lymphatic systems reliance on and regulation by the digestive system in producing immune substances. tissue and cells and fluid.
Add chia seeds which are fiber, and lignin rich, both known to trap or deescalate certain hormones harmful in certain forms and amounts and whose fatty acids benefit lymphatic function, and oats or other beta-glucan rich grains such as oats and spelt, etc. and you've got a regimen that outguns the many microbes and environment we’ve been battling as long as humanity, and in a most conspicuous way now…
If you find these recommendations at times a bit too detailed or ambitious, fear not. There are ready made supplements. teas and concentrates that incorporate the foods and superfoods such as greens including wheat grass, spirulina, broccoli, and a complement of land and sea greens along with polyphenol rich and high ORAC define fruits such as cherry, pomegranate and goji berries that not only supercharge immune system but help cleanse lymph and promote alkalinity as they are almost entirely alkaline sources.
Some of these easily mixed powders even contain immune support and anti-viral herbs like astragalus. green tea and licorice. One of these powders without herbs in juice or water and a tea made of holy basil and hyssop with a squeeze of lemon and/or lime and raw honey when allowable can be an accessible way to promote immunity for with or without any immune compromising condition. For those with generally normal immune systems, especially front liners and first responders, powders such as Green vibrance or Macro Greens and regular consumption of tea combos such as Buddha tea Divine Immunity should provide a solid preventative strategy, along with some exercise and reasonably conscious dieting. If tea is not your, well - cup of tea, then preventative supplements like Bluebonnet or Source Natural’s wellness formulas in tablets or capsules are the options!! If you think you’ve caught something then barring auto immunity you can use Nature’s Plus Tri Immune with Herb Pharm’s or Herbs etc.’s antiviral formulas.
After all when it comes to self-care, practicality often means efficacy.