The days and nights are raw, and the weather has become harsher. We’ve stepped beyond the threshold of fall into the chill season of “barren winter,” as Shakespeare calls it, “with his wrathful nipping cold.” It’s time to erect the barriers of our immune system and fortify the body’s natural defences.
There are a number of strategies we can use to accomplish this. Nutrition offers a great starting point. We should make every effort to consume foods that carry an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting, natural chemical constituents. When it comes to maintaining the health of the immune system, this is the most basic approach. In particular, foods that are rich in zinc should be high on our list of preferences, inasmuch as this is a mineral that offers potent support to the immune system, while also being antibacterial and antifungal. As well, we should rid our diet of all processed foods, including sugar, white flour, and anything with a lot of additives.
Nor should we forget the critical importance of vitamin D. It’s been described as the “sunshine vitamin” and is vital to the proper absorption of calcium, as well as healthy bones. Furthermore, the scientific research that shows vitamin D to be a key nutrient in the prevention of colds and flu is quite convincingly persuasive. In a perfect world, we would get our full, healthy quota of this indispensable vitamin by venturing outdoors and leaving our skin exposed to sunlight. For obvious reasons, this is not possible in the winter, especially in northern latitudes. So we need to raise our intake of vitamin D by other means (i.e. directly through vitamin supplements or by taking cod liver oil, for example).
Over and above good nutrition and vitamin intake, other basic commonsense strategies enter into play in terms of bracing ourselves for winter. These include a good refreshing night’s sleep, keeping active through exercise, and enjoying the fresh, brisk air beyond the cocoon of our homes and offices.
In the end, cultivating a strong immune system is the optimal way of avoiding the debilitating effects of colds and flu. Sun Tzu was a famous general in ancient China. In a saying of his, one that has become a self-evidently classic proverb, he asserted that, “the best defence is a good offence.” Given the ageless wisdom of Sun Tzu, it’s fitting in a way that ancient China that has provided us with some of the most effective healing remedies that exist in all of nature. In the lore of natural medicine, these fall into the category of what’s called Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.
Qi is a word used in TCM to describe the body’s vital life energy. In TCM, colds and flu are regarded in military terms as a sort of invasion. For that reason, building up the defensive qi (also termed ‘wei qi’) is a primary means of protecting the body against colds and flu, which are apt to have the further effect of setting in motion more serious diseases. This makes Qi tonic herbs all that much more critical throughout the cold and flu season of winter.
Using herbs that work in harmony with nature and have a special affinity with the immune system is also vital. In the case of Deep Immune®, we have a uniquely effective formula that consists of herbs with a long immunological pedigree in the Chinese tradition. Considered as a synergistic whole, these herbs act to tonify a person’s level of “qi” or life energy, promoting overall health, a stronger immune system and greater resistance to the flu, colds and other infections. They stimulate the adrenal gland to improve stamina, overcome fatigue and help the body cope with stress, overwork and chronic illness. Over the decades, this premier formula has been proven effective through clinical testing by medical practitioners.
The upshot is that herbal remedies like Deep Immune® are ideally suited to help you meet the rigours and challenges of winter.
By Terry Vanderheyden, ND