REST: Your body heals and repairs itself when you are in deep R.E.M. sleep. Simply falling into bed at night, exhausted, worried and restless, does not replenish and rebuild the human organism. Choose the tools that help you get maximum deep sleep so that your body can do its nightly work. Balance work and play with equal amounts of rest, meditation or quiet contemplation to temper stress levels and maintain balance. Restful music and a quiet cup of calming tea (chamomile, hops, valerian) before bed helps you empty your mind and leave worries for another time.
DIET: You’ve heard it a million times – “you are what you eat.” I’d add – “You are also how you eat.” Make healthy dietary decisions based on good nutritional advice and your individual dietary needs. No matter what type of healthy diet you choose, throw out all processed foods, white sugar and white flour. Free yourself from the empty carbohydrate rat race. Feed your body and mind spiritually when you eat, with good company and uplifting conversation, pleasant music, giving your digestive system a relaxed state to perform optimally.
EXERCISE: Use It or Lose It! There is no getting around it; we need to move our bodies, stretch to loosen taut muscles and get our heart rate pumped to prime all body functions and systems. Ride a bicycle, swim, jump on a trampoline, play ball with your children, hike, join an exercise club . . . there are limitless choices to get off your duff and start moving.
AMBIENCE: Balance and harmony are the key to taking a successful preventative approach. A clear and free flow of energy through the various aspects of individual life can transform metabolic and physiological processes. Lighting, color, music, placement, personal interactions, spirituality, cleanliness and energy flow all contribute to either the ease or hindrance of function, temperament and attitude. It makes sense; the more pleasing your environment (there’s that ‘terrain’ again), the happier your immune system. If you have a constant irritable problem with a co-worker or other difficult relationship, seek resolution so that this is not adversely affecting your good health. Remember little things like periodic cleaning of your toothbrush – and wash your hands often!
COMMUNITY: We have much to do in our modern lives. The ancient expression, “Kali Yuga” is loosely translated to ‘too many things for the time allowed’. This certainly can apply to our modern world. It is easy to neglect relationships, volunteering for projects in the community, and plain old what was once called ‘chewing the fat’ because we simply find we do not have time. Using the ‘terrain’ ‘concept, help your family make time and allowance in your life for participating with others in your community and environment. Spend time with those confidants who can help you talk through and resolve problems and troubling issues. Join a church choir, book club, nonprofit action group – or simply call a friend who makes you laugh and make a date for lunch or similar fun get-together.
The information below provides a list of herbs and essential oils that can be helpful to maintaining a healthy immune system. Before starting any self-care regimen using natural ingredients, be sure that you have fully researched all available information to ascertain any risks or possible adverse effects.
Herbs and Essential Oils to Help build your immune system:
Herbs for deep immune action: Astragalus membranaceous, Ligustrum lucidum, Lentinus edoes, Ganoderma lucidurn, Codonopsis tangshen
Herbs for systemic support for homeostasis:
Bitter tonics (Mild –Taraxacum off., Artemisia abotanum, Achillea millefolia, Matricaria recutita) (Strong –Artemisia absinthium, Berberis vulgaris, Centauria erythraea, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Gentiana spp. Hydrastis canadensis, Ruta graveolens). Alterative/Tonic herbs (Mild – Allium sativum, Anemone pulsatilla, Berberis aquifolia, Chionanthus virgincus, Cimifuga racemosa, Baptisia tinctoria, Echinacea spp., Menyanthes trifoliata) (Stronger, yet safe –Arctium lappa, Fumaria off., Galium aparine, Guaiacum off., Hydrastis canadensis, Rumex crispus, Trifolium repens, Urtica doica)
All of the terpene essential oils are anti-microbial. At one time various essential oils and their constituent terpenoids were applied in allopathic medicine for combating infections, particularly those of the bronchial and urinary tracts, and in preventing sepsis of burns and wounds. Some of these oils still find extensive application as disinfectants, as the anti-septic activity of these oils often exceeds that of phenol. For example, Thymol is about 20 times more efficacious than phenol. Monoterpene oils have mild anti-septic properties and coupled with their rubefacient action on gums are beneficial as toothpaste or mouthwash (my dentist and Flagstaff orthodontist confirming this fact, too). Essential oils (common names) with anti-septic strength above that of phenol are: Thyme, Origanum, Sweet Orange, Lemon Grass, Cinnamon, Rose, Clove, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rose Geranium, Anise, Rosemary, Neroli, Lavender, Melissa and Ylang Ylang. All of these essential oils can be diffused in moderation to keep the environment more germ free, and combined with those that relax and calm, will help create the desired harmony and balance. Shop for any of these essential oils at our online shop.
Books – Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch & Balch; Prescription for Herbal Healing, Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; Essential Aromatherapy, Susan Worwood & Valerie Ann Worwood