Immune Boosting 101

As someone born with poor immune function and hypersensitive to everything, I have spent the majority of my life dreading “flu season.”
I gave Dr. Hyde, my pediatrician, a run for his money with strange allergic reactions, 4 rounds of the flu in 1 winter, 6 months of pneumonia, mono, strep, staph infections, broken bones, low lung function, pancreatitis…. all by the age of 10.

“She’s a sickly child.”

I resigned myself to this.

I let these words sink in.

I took the medications they gave me.

I do not fault western medicine by any stretch of the imagination. But I do know that if I had followed that path of treatment and logic, I would not be sitting here typing today.  It was only through near death and decades of suffering that I stumbled upon the path of natural healing.  I do not have any of the dis-eases that I was diagnosed with as a child and told they would be lifelong problems.  I am healed. I believe the human body is resilient and can heal or recover from anything.

One of the biggest faults of Western Medicine is lack of preventative care.  Has your PCP ever taught you how to prepare your immune system for the onslaught of cooties coming your way? Mine either.

Let me be your guide.

There is no avoiding germs. I don’t care how often you wash your hands or bathe yourself in hand sanitizer. It is my humble theory, that once bacteria and viruses enter our bodies and make their way to our bellies, they multiple like crazy and shift us quickly into a state of sickness or dis-ease. Both bacteria and viruses THRIVE in a  warm, acidic environment which is exactly what the American diet produces.  Fats, sugars, carbohydrates are all on the acidic side of the scale.

Immune boost #1:  ALKALINITY

If you can neutralize the PH in your digestive tract, you eliminate the breeding ground for germs. You do this by introducing alkalinity into your body.

Dr. Oz will hook you up with a list of alkaline boosting foods. Though, ignore #4.
Don’t eat that shit.

I eat raw kale or spinach every day, year round.

I also start my day with 8oz of very warm water and either a squeeze of lemon juice or a teaspoon of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.

I absolutely LOVE  Fire Cider, and in spite the good intentions of the folks who trademarked this beloved title of an old folk remedy, let me share with you my base recipe, free of charge.


1/2 cup fresh grated organic ginger root

1/2 cup fresh grated organic horseradish root

1 medium organic onion, chopped

10 cloves of organic garlic, crushed

2 organic jalapeno peppers, chopped, seeds included

1 organic lemon with skin, chopped

Several sprigs of fresh organic rosemary & thyme

1 tbsp organic turmeric powder

1/4 tsp organic cayenne powder

Raw organic apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup Raw honey (preferably from a local bee keeper)




Open a window so the fumes from the roots don’t make your eyes water too much. Grate and chop everything and toss it in a 32 oz mason jar.  Use a piece of natural parchment paper or wax paper under the lid to keep the vinegar from touching the metal lid. Cover. Shake well! Store in a dark, cool place for one month and remember to shake daily.

After one month, use cheesecloth to strain out the pulp, pouring the vinegar into a clean jar. Be sure to squeeze as much of the liquid goodness as you can from the pulp while straining.  Pour back in the jar and add your honey. Cover and give it another good shake– boom.

You just made your own Fire Cider.


Immune Boost #2: Anti-virals & Anti-bacterials

Every August, you see the signs start popping up “Get your flu shots here!”

Let me preface my anti-flu shot rant by saying I am 100% pro-vaccination.

Safe vaccination.

Effective vaccination.

The warning label on the flu vaccine clearly states:  “There have been no controlled trials adequately demonstrating a decrease in influenza disease after vaccination.” Huh.


Viruses are tricky lil fuckers. When you contract a virus , the practice is to ride it out, because science can’t quite figure out how to lasso this wild creature. I have mad respect for viruses. They are the ultimate outlaw.

The best way to navigate the virus is to pump your body full of plants that are loaded with antiviral properties.

What exactly does that mean?


This pretty lil beast gets into your body, then it starts poking its way right into your cells, bursting them wide open and multiplying by the billions. All day.
Nasty lil badasses.
The properties of anti-viral plants actually build a protective barrier around your cell membranes, essentially rendering them impervious.
Is this a flawless system? Hell no. Look at that flu virus. It does not fuck around. However, I say without reservation that antiviral plants are WAAAAAAAAAAY more effective than that vial fulla chemical cocktail they make a gozillion dollars off of every year.
*You would think we would have the lowest incidence of flu outbreak being that we are inoculated with 400x the flu vaccine than the rest of the world.

Huh [end rant]


This beauty is Sambus nigra, more commonly known as Elderberry. For those readers residing in the 413/518 region, this grows abundantly right in our backyard and it’s what your great grandmothers harvested before they were demonized as witches for cooking their own medicine in their own kitchens. Work of the devil!

I am undoubtedly the plant geekiest woman you know, so I say without reservation that when I see these berries start to turn dark purple, I wait with baited breath for them to grown heavy on the stalk and droop downward, stalks purple with anthocyanin goodness. I pull on my boots (poison ivy will be the death of me…mark my word), gleefully grab my basket and spend days gathering.

*Please note: I am a humble wildcrafter, I only ever gather 1/3 of what any tree has to offer and I plant numerous trees every year to keep our local supply thriving. 

I make several things with these berries, but the primary purpose is elderberry syrup. My children have never had either a flu shot or the flu (knock on wood). They take this every day from October 1- May.
Ok, let’s be frank.  Not every day. I’m no super mom. They take it often, all winter long and I believe in it’s efficiency in keeping them healthy.

I am happy to sell anyone a bottle, but honestly,  I love encouraging and empowering people to make their own. I add a few other things to mine that I won’t get into today, but here is my base recipe:


1 cup fresh elderberries or 1/2 cup dried

4 cups water

1 cup raw honey

Directions:  Put the berries in a non-aluminum pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, lower the temp and simmer on low for 45 minutes. Let cool to room temp and strain through cheesecloth or a fine sieve making sure to squeeze out all the juice. Compost or put the remains in a bottle and cover with 100proof vodka, just because why not drink elderberry infused vodka?!
Pour the liquid in a jar and stir in the honey. I like to warm the honey just a tiny bit to loosen it, but don’t ever heat honey or pour directly in boiling tea. You’ll kill all the awesome bee mojo.
Ta-da!  So easy.

Here is a comprehensive list of antibacterial and antiviral herbs written by an awesome blogger because I don’t believe in wheel reinvention.

That’s it.

2 steps to a boosted immune system.

Ok, and the obvious things like get enough sleep, wash your hands, exercise, don’t eat processed foods all day, etc.
Do all those too.

Be well 🙂


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