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Awesome Immunity for Winter Blues

Fall and winter are upon us and it's time to get your immunity supercharged!

This time of year is very important for taking especially good care of yourself by ensuring your diet (food, herbs and supplements) and lifestyle (exercise, meditation and relaxation) are in good order. To make sure you thrive through the next couple of months take a minute to consider integrating a few of the following foods, herbs and lifestyle strategies that will make a massive impact upon your ability to adapt to any circumstances.

You know how those huge meals (Thanksgiving and Christmas are the major culprits) tend to leave you barely conscious? Well it does the same thing to your immune system (all that energy to your digestion means not a whole lot left for the rest of the body!) and tends to leave your defenses down for the count while potential viruses, bacteria and other baddies have easier entrance into your body.

First thing to do is to ensure that your digestion keeps pumping.
The top medicinal herbs and culinary spices for this are:

  • Astragalus (also known as Huang Qi in Chinese)
  • Fresh Ginger (powerful digestive stimulant to keep you warmed up during those colder evenings!)
  • Licorice 
  • White Atractylodes (Bai Zhi in Chinese) 

While you may have heard of the first three, most have never heard of the last one. It is a very important digestive herb and qi (chi) tonic in Chinese herbal medicine and will help move along sluggish meals!

Taken together or individually, they will all help you not only stay awake after a large and sedating meal, but will help to increase your overall immunity. I know... What a bargain, right? The last great thing about all of these herbs is that they are generally pretty tasty to most anyone. Even if you can't find White Atractylodes in your local herb shop, omitting it isn't going to undo the effects.

To do a basic tea, combine the following into a quart of water and simmer on a low temperature for about 30 minutes and drink the resulting decoction:

  • 20 grams of Astragalus
  • 10 grams of fresh Ginger
  • 10 grams of Licorice
  • 10 grams of White Atractylodes

A hot tea like this twice a day will help keep you not only in great digestive health, but very warm and feeling energetic!

Now what do you do when you are starting to feel the elements creep in and just slow you down over all? You know that feeling of just being exhausted and completely drained? Well, no more! Just a small amount of medicinal herbs and a few key foods will keep you filled with endurance and stamina. 

My number one herb for this is Cordyceps (Ophiocordyceps Sinensis). Also known as "Dong Chong Xia Cao (litereally, "Winter Worm, Summer Grass"), it has been known as one of the most preeminent herbal substances, right up there with Ginseng.

Cordyceps is widly available now in many different forms but one of my favorite ones is in the form of chocolate. Time to insert a self serving plug for my girl Vanessa at Gnosis: Her Coco Almond Chocolate Bar and the limited edition Pumpkin Spice Truffles both have Cordyceps in them! Yay!

So you mean I get to eat chocolate that boosts my immunity? (Great, another reason I get to add to my list of reasons why I get to eat more chocolate ;) ) Yes, that is exactly what I am saying... Now tell me, how much of an amazing life do you live?

Lastly, keep this one principle in mind, and I know you have heard it ad nauseum...
"Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." - Hippocrates 

It is my strong belief and practical application of knowledge that this idea can be continually applied in all things that we eat. If you medicinalize your food and treat your food like medicine, your ability to thrive and live a longer, healthier and happier life will be inevitable.


Love up your family this holiday season, stay healthy and spread the love!
Sean Lee Gardner

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