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Therapy’s Guide to a Robust Immune System

Therapy’s Guide to a Robust Immune System:

The immune system is one of the many wonders of the human body. It operates as a sophisticated network of cells, tissues, and organs collaborating to maintain your well-being and ward off troublesome pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. Think of it as your body's security squad – always vigilant and ready to take action.

The immune system has two main branches: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. They work hand in hand to make sure your body stays in tip-top shape.

Firstly, there's the innate immune system, your rapid-response team. It's like having security guards stationed at every entry point of your body – the skin, mucous membranes, and even stomach acid. They act as physical barriers, making it tough for invaders to sneak in unnoticed.

Then, we have the adaptive immune system, a specialised force with a memory. When the innate system needs backup, the adaptive system springs into action. It's like having a personalised army trained to target specific threats. The thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes are the command centres where these immune cells train and coordinate their actions.

Systems Involved:

  1. Bone marrow: Imagine the bone marrow as a busy workshop, crafting a variety of immune cells. The thymus and spleen serve as training grounds, where these cells mature, learn and become experts in recognising and fighting specific threats. After training, these immune cells are ready to respond effectively when the body faces any kind of invaders.

  2. Bloodstream: The bloodstream serves as the highway, allowing immune cells to travel quickly to wherever they are needed. It functions as the immune system's private transportation system, ensuring a rapid response to emergencies.

  3. Lymphatic system: Functioning as the body's drainage system, the lymphatic system works in harmony with the immune system to clean up after the ongoing battle against invaders. Lymph nodes are where immune cells gather, strategise, and counterattack, ensuring effective communication and prompt responses.

  4. Digestive system: The body’s frontline soldier, facing potential invaders head-on. Stomach acid acts as a barrier, making it inhospitable for many pathogens. The intestines house a significant portion of immune cells, with the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) serving as the immune system's headquarters in the digestive tract, ensuring that invaders are met with strong resistance right from the get-go.

  5. Liver: Beyond its well known role in detoxification, the liver plays a crucial part in supporting the immune system. It produces proteins that are essential for immune function and helps regulate the balance of immune cells in the bloodstream. Think of it as the logistics expert ensuring that the immune system has the supplies it needs for the battle against invaders.

  6. Kidneys: Lastly, the kidneys, those bean-shaped powerhouses filtering your blood. While they're mainly known for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance, kidneys also contribute to immune health by eliminating waste products and toxins. This action prevents the accumulation of substances that could potentially weaken the immune response.

Now we’ve unraveled the intricacies of the immune system and the many factors contributing to its round-the-clock performance, let's have a look at what we can personally do to provide it with a good boost. Below is our guide with practical steps that each of us can take, to empower our immune system to stay in top notch condition and maintain optimal health.

What the Experts Eat:

Curious about the best foods to give your immune system a friendly nudge in the right direction? We sat down with our fantastic Nutritional Therapy team to discover not only what they eat but also what they recommend to their clients for maintaining robust health.

  1. Fermented Foods: There’s a bit of a buzz around fermented foods at the moment, and it's been a staple at Therapy Organics for quite some time – from kimchi to sauerkraut to kefir and more. Research has taken a fancy to fermented products, with studies looking at the microbiome of those who incorporate fermented foods daily versus those who don't. The findings? Those enjoying regular fermented foods have significantly higher gut bacteria diversity and less inflammation. We are all super fans of fermented foods at Therapy Organics, and we love the fact that they offer both probiotics and prebiotics, making a happy, thriving gut.

  2. Local, Raw Honey: Local, raw honey isn't just a tasty treat. Packed with antioxidants, essential minerals, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, it's been a traditional remedy for relieving common cold symptoms. A teaspoon with breakfast is all you need to feel the benefits.
    Why opt for local over Manuka honey? Local honey, besides supporting regional beekeepers, doesn't have to journey across the globe, ensuring maximum freshness and potency. Plus, raw, local honey preserves its natural enzymes, providing you with the full spectrum of health benefits. It's also a go-to for those grappling with hayfever – start before the season for a proactive approach.

  3. Rainbow colours: Yes, you've heard it before – "eat the rainbow.” But, the reason you hear it so often is because it’s true. Our bodies can't manufacture essential vitamins and minerals, so we rely on the foods we eat. "Eating the rainbow" isn't a strict regimen of raw, leafy greens and purple cabbage. It’s about embracing a variety of nutrient-dense foods loaded with immune boosting vitamins (A, C, D, E) and minerals (zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium). Whether it's a vibrant salad with extra virgin olive oil and a delicious piece of salmon or a hearty bolognese with an array of tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes, peppers, and celery, the goal is to be creative and ensure you cover all your nutritional bases.

What the ‘Professionals’ Drink:

Wondering what to sip on to give your immune system a little extra love? Whether you're a fan of teas, lattes, or something in-between, there's a perfect pick for every taste bud. We caught up with our resident tea and latte aficionados (the whole Therapy team) to spill the tea on their go-to immune boosting blends.

  1. Homemade Ginger Tea: Not just a remedy for warding off pesky bugs, but also a support for digestion too. Ginger has been used for centuries as an infection-fighting powerhouse, boasts a rich antioxidant profile and flaunts anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and even anti-aging properties. Want to kick it up a notch? Squeeze in some lemon for an extra dose of vitamin C and adrenal support. Making this tea couldn’t be easier - just grate a thumb-sized piece of ginger root and let it steep in boiling water. Add a half-squeezed lemon at the end if you fancy.

  2. Adventurous Lattes: When the team craves a bit of luxury in the afternoon, they reach for Raise + Replenish Thirst Aid Kit. This concoction is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a double whammy for immunity and energy. With all our favourite immune boosting ingredients like acerola cherry, black cumin seed extract, and beloved medicinal mushrooms shiitake and reishi, it’s hard not to love. It’s so comforting with the turmeric and ginger, a warm hug in a mug on cold winter days.

  3. Minimal Effort, Maximum Benefits: On those days when ginger grating or milk-warming feels like too much, loose teas come to the rescue. A shop favourite, Immuni-T, blends lemongrass, fennel, honeybush, ginger, echinacea, lime peels, apple pieces, red safflower, lemon myrtle, and more. Delicious and loaded with immune-boosting goodness, it's a perfect infection-fighting companion. Another go-to is pine needle tea, sourced from the untampered forests of Romania. Renowned for its traditional use in boosting immunity and soothing colds, pine needle tea is a powerhouse of antioxidants like vitamin C, perfect for allergies and viral infections.

Best Immune-Supportive Supplements:

Our extensive range of supplements are designed to support immune health, each serving a unique purpose in our first aid kit. Whether addressing specific conditions or providing overall support, these supplements have become customer favourites. After delving into our shop's bestsellers and chatting with our team, here are the top three supplements:

  1. YourGut Defence: Designed over seven years to achieve perfection, YourGut Defence is an expert blend loved by both us and our customers. This holistic option contains 15 of the most extensively researched immune-supportive ingredients, including probiotics, reishi, NAC, zinc, vitamin D, elderberry, and propolis. Ideal for those looking to boost the immune system, support gut health, and even enhance joint and skin health. We have recently written about all the amazing ingredients in Defence here, if you would like to learn more.

  2. Allicin Max: Always a top favourite, especially when our customers are feeling under the weather or battling stubborn infections. Allicin Max offers the highest potency of allicin (garlic's primary active compound) on the market. Studies have shown its effectiveness against a range of issues, from chest infections to yeast overgrowth. For maintenance, 1-2 capsules a day suffice, but our knowledgeable staff can guide you if higher doses are needed.

  3. Dr Schulze Superfood: A beloved choice at Therapy Organics, Dr Schulze Superfood is a go-to for those feeling a bit rundown, in need of an energy boost, or to enhance mood. Packed with some of nature's most nutrient-dense foods, it's a clear front runner, even with its pretty brutal taste. We recommend taking it in the morning with food to provide your immune system with an energy boost, helping fend off any pesky bugs that may come your way.

Allicin Max

- £35.99

Caring for the Whole Family:

Just as our immune systems tirelessly work around the clock to keep us in top shape, the little ones are no exception. While advocating for proper nutrition for children, there are times when they may need that extra help, especially as their immune systems are battling the challenges of school, clubs, and home. Here are a few products that we not only recommend to parents but use with our own kids:

  1. Hifas da Terra Immune 5: Containing a mixture of immune-boosting medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Chaga, and Shiitake, along with prebiotics to nourish crucial gut bacteria and essential Vitamins C & D. Designed in liquid form with an easy-to-use applicator, it can be mixed into yogurt or given directly in the mouth. The addition of acerola cherry gives it a sweet, fruity taste that kids adore. It’s a wonderful introduction to the benefits of medicinal mushrooms, especially supporting immunity and brain development.

  2. Elderberry Extract with Vitamin C: A family-friendly option suitable for children (1+) and adults. This organic syrup combines nature's cold and flu remedies – elderberry, ginger, and thyme. Viridian uses black elderberry extract, renowned for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, studied for reducing the duration and severity of cold and flu symptoms. A great option for balancing the immune system, in an easy to take, fruity syrup.

  3. Vitamin D: A crucial player in supporting the immune system and bone health, Vitamin D is essential for babies, children, and adults alike. For babies, convenient Vitamin D drops can be effortlessly added to food and drinks. For adults, both drops and capsules are available. It's recommended to provide babies with a dose of Vitamin D from birth, especially during the winter months in the UK, ensuring tip top bone health and immune support.

Insights from Our Homeopathic Guru:

In the realm of homeopathy, our fabulous Cheryl shares her wealth of knowledge, offering a holistic perspective on immune support. Here's a glimpse into her recommendations:

  1. Immunity Mix: Designed to gently support the body's defence against viruses and bacteria before it takes a hold of the immune system. This specialist product gets to work within just one week, raising T cells and triggering killer immune cells to fight those pesky invaders. To complement this, she often pairs it with daily tissue salts, ensuring cells receive a spectrum of minerals to enhance resilience and maintain optimal mineral balance, reducing the risk of illness.

  2. Homeobotanical Organic Herbal Tincture: A powerhouse supergreens blend of organic herbs, including Echinacea, Astragalus, Baptisia, Golden Seal, Licorice, Olive Leaf, Red Sage, Thyme, Barley Grass, Green Algae, Red Atlantic Seaweed/Dulse, Spirulina, Chaga, Nettle, Purslane, and more. Cheryl swears by these drops, suitable for the whole family due to their great taste and ease of consumption. Packed with immune-boosting herbs, these drops are an essential in Cheryl's toolkit.

  3. Go with the seasons: Cheryl is a huge advocate of aligning with the natural rhythms of the seasons, and taking everything they offer. During winter, she encourages a commitment to less, allowing for more rest. Look at winter as a time of preparation and rest, similar to nature's hibernation before the vibrant awakening of spring. This holistic approach recognises the interconnectedness of our well-being with the world around us.

Lifestyle Tips for Immune Support:

With a comprehensive guide on nutrition, beverages, supplements, and expert insights, we can't forget the important role lifestyle plays in a robust immune system. How we live, who and what we surround ourselves with, and what we apply to our bodies all contribute significantly to overall well-being. Here are some essential lifestyle tips to supercharge your immune support:

  1. Castor Oil Packs: Designed for detoxification and lymphatic drainage, castor oil packs offer a home based solution for various benefits. These include digestive support, gallbladder wellness, improved lymphatic drainage, liver detoxification, and relief from headaches and migraines. Considering the importance of detoxification in immune health, regular use of castor oil packs can help eliminate toxins, preventing the build-up that may strain the immune system. Top tip: Take a lovely warm bath using the detoxifying and decongesting Fortifying Green Bath Potion, followed by a castor oil pack 3 times a week for a restful night's sleep.

  2. Body Polish: The Olverum Body Polish has become a favourite among our Beauty Therapists for supporting immune health from a skincare perspective. Packed with antibacterial and decongesting oils like eucalyptus and rosemary, the polish is part of a comprehensive routine that includes body brushing to support lymphatic flow and detoxification.
    Beauty Therapist Tip: Begin the ritual with a gentle body brush moving in long strokes towards the heart, followed by Olverum Bath Oil in a soothing bath or shower. Apply the body polish in circular motions, allowing it to work for 5 minutes before rinsing. Our therapists recommend this ritual twice a week to stimulate lymph flow, enhance circulation, and rejuvenate the skin.

  3. Rest: Beyond feeling refreshed, a good night's sleep and relaxation time are potent immune boosters. Adequate rest allows your body to repair and regenerate, enabling immune cells to recharge and remain vigilant against potential threats. Rest can be anything from reading a book, a nature walk, an epsom salt bath, or a massage or facial. The key is to listen to your body and treat it with care. Consider rest as a well-deserved break, keeping you healthy and prepared for whatever challenges the day may bring.

Body Polish

- £18.00

Best Immune Enhancing Herbs:

We’ve written a good load of information on our most cherished, immune-supportive herbs. Some of our favourites include Elderberry, Quercetin, Olive Leaf Extract, Ginger, Propolis, Black Cumin Seed, Echinacea and Astragalus.

If you fancy learning a bit more about these wonderful herbs, we invite you to grab yourself a comforting cuppa and explore the links below.

About the Author

Sarah-Lou is a Nutritional Therapist at Therapy Organics, providing expert qualified advice in one-to-one consultations, and offering advice in the shop.

See more Articles by Sarah-Lou

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