An a holistic herbalist, I'm naturally passionate about integrative health care practices through the seasons. As we begin to shift from summer to fall, I wanted to share some of my favorite daily practices + rituals with you to stay healthy this season and beyond.
If you seem to get sick every fall or are concerned about the circulating viruses, colds, and flus or have kids going back to school, will be traveling more soon, or have a stressful period coming into your life, now's a great time to incorporate some of all of the suggestions below.
Start taking elder berry as a preventative
Elder berry is a fall go-to in my house. I take it as a tincture or honey every morning starting in late summer through winter and I give it to everyone else in the house, too. It keeps your immune system firing on all cylinders. Elder berry has been used for lifetimes as a folk cold and flu treatment and has helped protect me from the flu for many seasons with regular use. This is something to start incorporating in your daily ritual now. Don't wait for when you feel the sniffles. Be proactive! Herbal medicine is meant to be incorporated into your life over the long term and not as a quick fix.
I recommend the following:
My favorite recipe is a daily tonic with the daily serving size of elder berry, depending on the product, with soda water.
Lean on echinacea once you get sick
If you feel the sniffles or a tingle in the back of your throat, it's time for echinacea. Load up on the tea and drink it consistently throughout the day. A tincture is even better to support your immune system immediately with potent herbal medicine. Tinctures are nice because you can keep them in your bag. I like to carry around all my tinctures in a small travel pouch.
Treat food as your first medicine
There is so much you can do through what you eat to support your heath through the fall and winter. Onions, garlic, and ginger should be consistently stocked in your kitchen and can also be incorporated every day and at the first sign of a cold. Freshly shaved ginger, hot water, and lemon is divine.
Say yes to medicinal mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms have been seen to optimally support the immune system. My go-to is reishi: I add the powder into my morning herbal latté or smoothie along with ashwagandha. Laird Superfood and Terrasoul are two great companies that proudly source beautiful mushrooms to support your lifestyle. Use this link to save $5 on your first Laird Superfood order.
Increase your intake of vitamin C + fire brew
Vitamin C is a micronutrient that boosts the immune system. There are plenty of food sources of vitamin C: kiwi, bell peppers, oranges, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, grapefruit, and more (source.) Fresh fruits and veggies are always a good idea as long as you easily digest them. If not, you can make your own fire cider that's loaded with the above fruits and vegetables, plus garlic, onion, and ginger, to use in your daily meals and tonics. Here's my fire brew recipe.
Embrace daily lymphatic flow + self-massage
Keeping your lymph moving is imperative to a healthy immune system. Some obvious ways to support your lymph system is through daily movement. Walking, yoga, jogging/running, strength training: these are all fantastic for your body as they all for the free flowing of your lymph as well as help you sweat.
Saunas also work well if movement isn't available to you or as a supplement to your daily movement. You can also offer your body a lymph massage by using a body brush or a body oil post-shower, like Sunspell Body Nectar. You can't really get it wrong: just make sure to always massage towards your heart.
Make sleep a healing sanctuary
This one is free and just requires that you stick to a routine. Sleep is vital to optimal health and, without it, you will struggle to strengthen and/or heal your body. Getting into bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning is so important. If you don't take anything away from this list, do your best to commit to this one and seek to get 8 hours every night.
Commit to getting outside
Go explore the changing world around you. See how the trees and plants are shifting, see what ones might be popping up, find a favorite tree and visit it season after season. Take a walk in the woods and embrace forest therapy. Notice how you feel, too. Breathe in the cool air and enjoy another day to live!
How do you stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit as the seasons shift?