Five Ways to Keep Your Immune System Strong This Winter

We have officially reached that time of winter. The time where we’re not sure we can press on. The time where almost everyone has been struck down with something that has made them even more under the weather than the wind chill number indicates cold! Besides the usual colds and influenza, there has been a rash of stomach flu, bronchitis, and other nasty bugs going around this winter, probably because it has been such a terrible, cold winter.

Modern convention says the best thing you can do to prevent sickness is to wash your hands really well—but after that, what else do you have? Well, actually, there are a lot of things you can do so that you’re not laid up for big chunks of winter. Here are five of them!

1. Keep your neck warm.
There are points on the back of neck that in Traditional Chinese Medicine we call “Wind Gates”. Wind can invade those gates and cause you to get sick. Anytime you’re outside or in a drafty room, pull out those scarves and wear them. Protecting your Wind Gates keeps your immune system strong all winter long.

2. Get enough sleep.
Sleep helps to build your Qi. When Qi is strong, your immune Qi is also strong. This is key. Take naps as a supplement if you need to, to help your body fight off bugs that are going around.

3. Eat fresh ginger, garlic and onions.
Besides being yummy and adding bright flavors to your foods, they all stimulate the immune system and have antibacterial properties.

4. Use a neti pot.
Fill your pot with warm water and a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt. Rinse out your sinuses and nasal cavity with it. It will rinse away anything hanging out in there that shouldn’t be, and will help your nose guard and filter against other bad bugs.

5. Take herbs to strengthen your immune system.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine we have several herbal formulas like Jade Windscreen and Arouse Vigor, both of which contain astragalus and ginseng, that can boost your immune Qi. If you’re getting frequent colds (or more than one a winter), we can use herbs to strengthen you right up.

Stay tuned, because on Friday, we’re going to discuss the most famous Chinese herbal formula that helps fight colds—and which is the basis of a popular over-the-counter cold remedy.