How To Naturally Strengthen Your Immune System
We’re all stuck at home right now, but we’re safe, and we’re doing the best we can.
You might be feeling fearful and overwhelmed.
On top of that, you might feel pressure to be as efficient and productive as you’ve always been... or maybe even more so.
Today I’m going to share how you can use Chinese medicine to naturally strengthen your immune system and calm your nervous system. Having a good toolkit empowers us, and helps pacify fear. First, if you’re feeling pressure to show up in the same way you normally do, I invite you to take a pause and let yourself off the hook. The energetic environment is taking a toll on a lot of people. We feel the fear and heaviness in our bodies, and it can be very draining. If you’re an empath – someone who’s sensitive to energy – it can be paralyzing. If you’re feeling slower at this time, be gentle with yourself, and give your body all the physical and energetic nutrients possible to build up and strengthen your system.
If you live in a cold climate, you may need even more rest and extra nourishment now. In the summer, collective energy is higher and viruses are less common.
When it’s cold, we contract: Our bodies become weaker, and we need more supportive foods, supplements, and activities to strengthen our immunity.
Thankfully, there are many practical tools we can use to protect our bodies, and help ourselves feel healthy and grounded.
Here’s how you can use Chinese medicine to boost your immune system and balance your emotions...
Herb and Supplement Support
SHIELD Herbal Tonic.
SHIELD is our MoShen Herbs formula designed to supercharge the immune system.*
It’s based on an ancient Chinese blend called Jade Windscreen, which was used to strengthen the body's natural ability to fight pathogens.
We fortified the original recipe to help your immune system protect you against modern-day viruses and bacteria.*
2. CALM Herbal Tonic.
As important as it is to build up the physical body at this time, it’s just as important to stay calm and focused.
Fear and anxiety weaken the immune system, as your body goes into the “fight or flight” nervous system state.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, to stay calm and focused, the heart and kidney energies need to be balanced. Everyday exposure to modern stressors like electronics and social media – not to mention, the stress surrounding a major virus – can disrupt that balance. MoShen CALM restores it, so you feel relaxed and centered.*
As an added benefit, CALM may increase quality of sleep and digestion.*
3. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C helps the growth and repair of all bodily tissues, and is especially important for immune system function. It’s a strong antioxidant, reduces the risk of disease, and builds up heart and bone health. Right now we suggest taking a higher dose of vitamin C than you normally might – even twice the recommended dosage on the bottle. Always consult your healthcare provider before trying a new supplement or increasing your dosage.
4. Zinc. Zinc is a super effective trace mineral that boosts immunity and reduces inflammation, which is at the core of any disease or illness. It can also improve digestion and brain health, which are very much connected.* The NIH recommends a daily dosage of 8 mg for women, and 11 mg for men over the age of 19.
5. Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a cornerstone of immunity. Since we’re inside so much these days, it’s very important to include vitamin D in your supplement routine. It makes us more resistant to disease, and is known to boost mental health. A study1 by the NIH shows you need about 5,000 IU of vitamin D daily to maintain sufficient levels in the blood. Taking large quantities of vitamin D for long periods of time may affect liver function, so make sure you’re checking in with your doctor regularly and getting their approval. The sun is a great source of vitamin D, too. Getting some every day – even if it’s on your balcony or fire escape – will brighten your mood.
Given the current pandemic, SHIELD is on sale for $39.99 (regularly $49.99) and we’re offering two formulas for $75 (usually $99.99).
Our favorite combo right now is SHIELD + CALM.
Practitioners: If you’re interested in ordering SHIELD and CALM for your patients, click here to contact us.
Each food has an energetic – and sometimes physical – temperature: Hot, warm, cool, or cold. For example, cinnamon has a warming effect on the body, and cucumbers have a cooling effect. If you run hot, cucumbers will be cooling, bringing you into balance. On the other hand, if you run cold, you’ll want to warm up with hotter foods, and avoid cooler ones.
Knowing this, you can use food prescriptively to balance your constitution and help you deal with external factors, like climate and disease. Certain energetic qualities in foods can also influence different organ systems.
In Chinese medicine, we look at organ systems very differently than in Western Medicine. From an Eastern perspective, our organs serve as control centers for their respective energies, which are in charge of different functions throughout the body.
We know that Coronavirus has a lot to do with the lungs. One of the most important functions of the lungs is maintaining the protective energy around the body, known as wei qi, which is part of the immune system model in Chinese medicine.
Right now we want to use food to strengthen our lungs, our blood, and our energy.
These are a few foods you can emphasize to build up lung energy, and in doing that, build up your entire system…
Green vegetables are filled with chlorophyll, which supports the immune system, helps fight off infection, and keeps your energy up. If you live in a cold climate, I would suggest cooked greens at this time. If you’re in a warmer place, eating a small amount of raw greens might be ok.
White vegetables like celery root, radish, daikon, parsnips, rutabaga, and turnips are great for strengthening lung energy and the immune system. You can add grated daikon to a salad, make celery root mash, roast some turnips in the oven, or add rutabaga to a delicious vegetable soup.
Cooked pears also build lung energy, and have a very calming effect on the body, which is important right now. You can simmer them in water and cinnamon for a simple, soothing part of your breakfast, or a snack.
Pumpkin seeds give you a lot of zinc, which is a key mineral for immunity. If you can’t find or access a high-quality zinc supplement, add a handful of pumpkin seeds a day on top of your oatmeal, salad, or steamed greens.
All food recommendations should be unique to your body, so please take these as suggestions, and work with your healthcare provider to make sure your specific needs are met. If you’d like to set up a virtual consultation with me, click here. We’ll discuss your symptoms, and I’ll give you recommendations and an herbal blend. Right now we’re offering discounted 30-minute sessions for $135 –– $100 for the session, and $35 for your tonic, including shipping and handling.
Energetic, Mental, and Emotional Support
We talked a little bit about wei qi, the protective energy surrounding the body. There’s also ying qi, which is the energy that circulates deeper in the body, and is associated with the blood. Ying qi supports wei chi, and they need to work in harmony for your immune system to be able to do its job. Beyond herbs and foods, you can also use lifestyle practices to strengthen and harmonize wei qi and ying qi. Here’s a few ways you can start balancing these two core energies on a daily basis...
Qi gong is a meditative martial art that combines movement and breath. It’s a soothing practice that brings the physical, mental, and emotional bodies into balance.
7 Minutes of Magic is one of my favorite qi gong routines, and it’s available online.
As you might be feeling the collective fear, and fear within yourself, it’s important to strike a balance between stimulating and restorative activities.
Being sedentary can lead us into anxiety and depression, and being overactive can leave us exhausted, unable to work or study.
Being anxious or panicked decreases immunity, so we want to stay relaxed yet engaged, and qi gong helps us do that.
2. Nature. We need connection to nature at this time. If you can safely go for a walk, and better yet, get your feet on soil, grass, or sand, you will feel much more grounded, calm, and energized. We need to stay inside for the most part, but I’d encourage you to find at least a 15-minute window where you can get fresh air, while respecting the 6-foot rule. Perhaps you have a backyard, a park, or a few tree-lined blocks nearby where you can get your dose of nature. Make it part of your daily routine for balanced energy.
3. Daily routine. That leads us into the next big piece for mental, emotional, and energetic health: Keeping a consistent daily routine.
Right now it’s important to keep up your sleep schedule, morning movement, meditation, food, time in nature, and work or studies. It’s easy to stay up late watching Netflix and sleep in, but you’ll feel much better if you go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. In Chinese medicine they say you get the best quality sleep between 11pm and 1am. If you’re awake during those hours, you could be missing out on the full effects of restorative rest, even if you’re getting a healthy number of total hours in. Make time to connect with family or friends in the evening, even if it’s a 5-minute FaceTime call. It’s easy to feel alone at this time, and the truth is that we are all in this together. Especially if you’re introverted, make sure you’re connecting with other people at least a couple times a week. Getting out of your routine interferes with your internal rhythms, body clock, and bodily functions, so I’d encourage you to design a daily routine that feels nourishing, and stay with it. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about supporting your body as best you can.
4. Regular meals. Food is an important part of your daily routine, as it’s very grounding. I would recommend having balanced meals throughout the day and avoiding the all-day grazing that can happen when you’re working or studying from home. It can be difficult to stay connected with your body and emotions when you’re constantly using energy to digest. Giving your digestive system time to rest between meals will make you feel calmer and more centered.
5. Constructive rest. As important as it is to stick with a routine that works for you, it’s just as important to build in time to rest and do nothing, outside of actual sleep. That might look like laying down and taking deep belly breaths, listening to a calming guided meditation, or setting a timer for 20 minutes and closing your eyes, but not necessarily sleeping.
This is a strange time, and whatever you’re feeling right now is ok. Give yourself space to acknowledge and process it, rather than pushing it away.
Built up emotion can manifest as illness in the body. When emotions are fully felt, our bodies are more likely to stay resilient and calm.
If everything feels like too much right now, give yourself a break. Everyone is stressed, but we’re going to be ok. Return to the practices, routines, and rituals that nourish your mind, body, and soul. And let yourself off the hook if you “mess up.” There’s no messing up, just a left turn, and then a right turn back to nourishment.
We want to support you as much as we can right now, and we’re working hard behind the scenes to fill orders.
This is a time where we can slow down, come together virtually, and take good care of ourselves and each other.
How are you doing right now? Which of these tools will you try first? Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t placed an order yet, it’s a great time to add a MoShen Herbs blend to your routine – they’re $10 off right now, and we’re offering 2-packs for $75 instead of $99.99. *MoShen Herbs products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Our products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.