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The night time air is turning crisp and cool, the daytime weather is not as hot, and school is starting. Fall is in the air! I love fall and everything it brings; the last harvest, cooler weather, a time to harvest roots, rose hips, seeds and to plan for all the fun things you can make in the winter months while the plants are lying dormant.

The other thing fall brings along with the increased time spent in-doors is cold and flu season. Kids are in school being exposed to who knows what cold and flu viruses. When the kids bring home the germs, the whole family tends to get sick.

These are some ways to boost the immune system naturally and fight off those nasty fall bugs.

Diet and Nutrition

A diet high in whole foods, pastured meat, sprouted grains (if any), and organic fruit and vegetables play a big role in immune support. Diets high in refined, processed, manufactured and nutritionally void food play a key role in sickness and disease. Eat whole organic foods for optimal health.

The nutrients we have (or do not have) in our body play a key role in immunity as well as other major systems in the body. One of the most nutrient dense, immune boosting, and healing foods out there is bone broth. Bone broth is able to provide our bodies with easily absorbable nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals as well as gelatin, glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen.  Our grandma’s were right when they gave us homemade chicken soup to fight a cold. Broth in the form of chicken soup has been proven to decrease symptoms of cold and flu quicker than those who were not given soup. Learn more about bone broth from the Weston A. Price Foundation and here.

Medicinal Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries along with bone broth to boost the immune system. Shiitake and reishi mushrooms have been proven to have the highest immune system effect by helping the body by increasing macrophage activity which go out and destroy unwelcome cells, organisms, and viruses in the system.  They trigger increased white blood cell production helping to protect the body against pathogens and cancers and activate other essential immune factors, including T-cells, B-cells, interferons and interleukins.

Fermented foods

Fermented foods like yogurt, keifer, kombucha, fermented vegetables; fruit, cod liver oil and meat all introduce good bacteria to your system helping you maintain optimal gut health. Your skin and your gut are the your first lines of defense to the outside world. Maintaining optimal health and “good” bacteria in your gut will boost your immune system and serve as a line of defense against the “bad” bugs.


It has been shown that light to moderate exercise 4-5 days a week gives a big boost to the immune system. High intensity exercise over prolonged periods of time (like training for a marathon) have been shown to hamper the immune system since the body is busy rebuilding the muscles and ligaments that were strained, it does not have the extra power to fight off disease.

Herbs that boost the immune system

Ginseng has been shown to help prevent upper respiratory infections after several months of consistent use. Although it does boost immunity, you should discontinue use if you do get sick.

Echinacea is the herb you take at the FIRST SIGN of illness. Taken in a large enough dose it will kick your immune system into over drive killing that infection just starting to take hold. Do not take it as a preventative, but at the first sign of illness.

 Elderberry offers significant protection against viruses disarming them and making them unable to enter our cells.

Green tea contains potent antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and neutralize free radicals. It also stimulates the liver to secrete interferon which is an immune compound that helps fight infection.

Fresh Garlic is a wonderful immune system supporter, and is anti bacterial and anti viral. It contains the compounds alliin and alinase which are activated when the garlic is cut or crushed and is less effective when cooked so add garlic to your food right before you are about to eat it. You can also eat garlic cloves whole, but that is a bit hard on the stomach. Always take garlic with food and use caution when taking blood thinners.

Astralagus improves the immune system in many ways. It triggers the production of immune cells in the bone marrow and lymphatic system, increases activity of immune cells, and enhances the abilities of immune substances like immunoglobulin.

On Guard Essential Oil


We apply On Guard Essential Oil Blend by doTERRA daily, diluted at a 5% concentration on the bottom of our feet to prevent illness and disease. It is safe to use on children. It boosts the immune system and is also a very potent anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. I love the invigorating holiday scent and how very effective it is. When I apply it to my daughter’s feet nightly she does not catch a cold. When we have run out of the blend and not applied it to her feet nightly she tends to catch whatever she is around.

Apply to surfaces to kill germs and pathogens. Diffuse in rooms to provide immune support and to rid the area of bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi.

Apply topically with massage to feet, back, neck and shoulders to offer immune support.

Apply diluted at a 5-10% dilution with lymphatic massage at the onset of or during illness. The oils included in this type of blend are GRAS and can be used internally.

At the onset of sore throat or to fight laryngitis, place 2-3 drops in ¼ cup of water, gargle, swish and pull for 5 minutes, then spit.

Be sure you get your herbs from a trusted source. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs (an affiliate) and can not tell you how happy I am with the quality of their herbs.

*This is not intended as medical advice but for informational purposes only. Seek medical attention when appropriate.* 

How do you naturally boost your immune system? What things to you do to keep the family healthy through cold and flu season?



Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

This post shared on: Encourage One AnotherHealthy 2 Day, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Wildcrafting WednesdayHomemaking Linkup, Super Link Party,Natural Living LinkupHomestead Barn HopHomesteader Blog CarnivalAnti-Procrastination TuesdayHearth and Soul, Frugal I Did It Tuesday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways

About Amanda

Amanda is a mother of two amazing toddlers. She is an herbalist, natural living guru, and real food, gluten free eating pro. She loves to help educate others on how to take control of their own health through natural living, real food, herbs, essential oils, and most of all - a positive mind set. Her other business Natural Herbal Living Magazine is all about helping people learn about how to use one herb a month on a deep and profound level.
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22 Responses to Give Your Immune System A Boost For Fall and Back to School

  1. Give Your Immune System A Boost For Fall and Back to School …

  2. Hi Amanda! We met last night at the GAPS get together. I just wanted to stop by and say hello. I have stumbled upon your blog before but it is fun to put a face to it! Hope to see you again at some future GAPS event.

    • Amanda says:

      Thanks so much! It was great to meet you too. I will do my best to make another one and I think Ill check out the next WAPF meeting too 🙂

  3. Angela says:

    What wonderful ideas! I love that you included exercise and essential oil rubs for the bottom of the feet. I do that with my family too and it works wonders!

  4. These are really great tips, Amanda!
    A nice homemade soup with tons of garlic is one of our favorites when we are sick.
    Thanks for sharing with my Super Link Party! 🙂

  5. Yvette says:

    Great info, thanks for sharing. There is certainly a lot of help around once you start looking. One of my favourites due to it’s action on the lymphatic system is fenugreek. If you are interested, there is more info here –
    I have the book and the information the author gives is really quite enormous! I think she is also very generous with the info she shares on her website.

  6. […] Give Your Immune System a Boost for Fall and Back to School – Healthy, natural tips on keeping sickness away this fall […]

  7. Caitlin says:

    We use so much garlic but I’d never thought to add it right before serving. Although I normally throw about four or five cloves into my ranch dressing because my husband loves garlic and lots of it. He’ll be excited to know that we’ll be upping our garlic and mushroom intake. 🙂

    I’m always amazed when I learn new things that we can do naturally to improve our health.

  8. […] Give Your Immune System A Boost For Fall and Back to School | Natural Living Mamma […]

  9. Lori Morton says:

    Great ideas….many I do plan to work into our lifestyle….several we already do!!! Am soooo glad I found your Blog!! Thanks for sharing all the knowledge you have, with all of us! 🙂

  10. Krissa says:

    I love On Guard! I need to get in the habit of using it every day again now that we’re heading into cold/flu season. I also make an elderberry-echinacea syrup that my kids love!

  11. A diet of whole foods, pastured meat, and organic fruit and vegetables play a big role in immune support. #health

  12. Ghada says:

    I wonder if this oil “on guard” would work on my left glands under my left ear, I wake up with all swollen and the Dr told me it’s allrgies but a lot of times I end up sick after this!!

    • Amanda says:

      On Guard would probably help! Calendula tea is great for cleansing the lymph nodes and might help too. You might also consider a 21 day sugar detox to help your body re-balance your health. It helps a lot!

  13. Ghada says:

    Thanks a lot Amanda 🙂 I’ve heard of the sugar detox before, I will try to look for it!!

  14. Emma says:

    I haven’t broken out in hives in over 3 years, though I broke out in hives really early this morning and was trying to search for any natural remedies. (In the past, I just took a luke warm shower and taken Benedryl or Claritin). I had remembered that Toad ( had come down with hives recently and suggested using ACV. Luckily I had a big bottle from Trader Joe’s (organic/unfiltered), poured a small amount on a paper towel, and rubbed it over my welts. I also drank about 1/2 tsp of it. Within 10 mins, itching was mostly gone and now, 3 hours later, no itching at all and my welts are almost gone 🙂
    I read through the rest of your hives experience and about the foods with histamines. Yikes! Yesterday, the histamine foods I had:
    breakfast: bananas, avocado (in my smoothie), cheese (Kerry Gold Aged Cheddar)
    Lunch at a restaurant: a small amount of bacon from my son’s BLT, seafood gumbo, mixed green salad, cheese (processed cheddar…)
    Snacks: walnuts (WAPF-style)
    Dinner: red wine, a small piece of pumpkin quick bread (made from a mix our friends gave us as a gift)
    This morning I had banana and avocado in my green smoothie before reading your post… and had just made some crispy walnuts (WAPF-style) yesterday and just had them as a snack (hopefully WAPF-style makes them more digestible and less-likely to cause hives).
    I take FCLO daily, use essential oils (mostly in my homemade deodorant), do daily dry skin brushing, drink 10-15 glasses of filtered water daily, eat 80/20 WAPF/primal-style (including fruits/veges/eggs/grass-fed meat/raw milk from our CSA groups), limit alchohol/sugar/grains, etc. and have felt so much better since switching to this way of living 🙂 My sons are 14 (he’s my *bonus* = husband’s son) and 2. Our 2 yo takes FCLO once or twice a week and is still breastfeeding in the morning. I’m still learning about essential oil use. I’ll have to look into getting some OnGuard for our family, too!
    Thanks so much for posting about this and other wonderful remedies!!!

  15. […] much more! The discount oil of the month (10% off) I have already written about here and use daily is On Guard.  On Guard is dōTERRA®’s unique, proprietary blend formulated […]

  16. Ashley says:

    Thank you for the great tips, no excuse for the family to be off anymore! In the past I used King of Bitters as it has been used for many years to boost immune systems. Anyone else tried it?

  17. Anna Dawson says:

    I can truly say that I have seen the benefits of essential oils. I agree with you on their effect on the immune system! Thanks for sharing 😉

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