Herbal Teas to Boost Your Immune System for Over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ
What is it about winter? It seems like the cold from the air simply seeps into our bodies and gives us…well, colds.
Why are colds and other illnesses more common in the winter? For one thing, our nostrils are one of the primary entry points for viruses. When functioning properly, the mucous that is constantly secreted in the nose captures these viruses and we eventually wind up swallowing them—and our stomach acid handily kills them.
However, in the winter, the cold air slows down our mucous production and viruses are able to penetrate more easily. Dry noses equal higher vulnerability to illness.
Lucky for over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ, there are some very pleasant ways to boost your immune system this winter. Herbs can be incorporated into your daily life in a bazillion ways—but herbal teas are usually the easiest to integrate into life, since many people already enjoy a hot cup in the evenings.
To make your tea drinking a bit more medicinal, simply add choose herbs that will support your immune system and brew them in the most medicinal way possible. We’ll talk about brewing methods first, and then get into some specific immune boosting herbs!
How to Brew a Medicinal Herbal Tea
One of the loveliest methods for imbibing herbs is through a happy hot cup of tea. Teas are a simply delightful way to enjoy plants. A medley of flowers, leaves and roots—blended together just so—to create not just pleasing flavors, but medicinal support as well.
There are actually lots of ways to brew a cup of tea—from simply dousing a store-bought tea bag in a cup of hot water, to filling a French press with pinches and handfuls of various loose herbs from the cupboard. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy these herbs! However, we’ll go into some of the specifics, so you can choose the route that will benefit you most.
Infusions are the perhaps the easiest and most readily available way for you to incorporate healing and immune boosting herbs into your system this winter.
Infusions are the typical way of drinking tea that most people are familiar with—it’s when you let your herbs sit in water for a certain amount of time, allowing all the vitamins, minerals and medicinal constituents to seep into the water. The temperature of water and amount of time the herbs sit will vary depending on your aim:
Hot water, for instance, will break down the herbs more quickly and make your concoction ready to drink much more quickly than cold water. Hot water is also more desirable in winter, for obvious warming-the-bones reasons!
You’ll need more time when infusing your herbs in room temperature water. However, cooler water is often preferred for the fact that it keeps all the vitamins and minerals of the herbs intact, while hot water can denature these valuable nutrients.
Sun teas, for example, are wonderful in the summer. You simple throw a few handfuls of herbs into a big glass jar and let it sit in the sun for several hours before straining and refrigerating the resulting infusion. Alternatively, you could leave the jar on your kitchen counter over night and strain it in the morning. Then you can sip on a cool herb tea throughout the day—delightful!
Decoctions are usually reserved for roots, seeds and some funguses—anything that has thicker skin and thus needs more effort to extract the healing properties. A decoction is when you gently simmer your herbs on the stove for 20 minutes or longer before straining and drinking. You would do well to decoct Roots like Echinacea or Ginger, and mushrooms like Reishi as opposed to infusing them.
How to Brew the Perfect Cup of Tea:
If you want to keep it simple, the easiest way to make a cup of tea is to buy teabags at the store and brew it up at home. Traditional Medicinals is a fantastic herbal tea brand that creates all their teas to treat various medicinal maladies. Gypsy Cold Care, Echinacea Plus and Throat Coat, are three excellent winter time, immune boosting blends, for example. The herbs in these tea bags have undergone a process of being compacted and cut into such miniscule pieces, that even the roots will infuse rather well.
Ok, so here are the steps to brew the perfect cup of tea for over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ:
First, bring water to a near boil (avoiding total boil is desirable) and then pour it over the herbs in question. (*Never add a tea bag to a cup of hot water—the pouring action of water over the herbs will result in a more profound activation of the herbs).
Now place a plate or other cover over the cup to keep the steam from carrying away all the potent volatile oils that are so good for you.
Now, you have a choice: Let your cup of tea sit for only a few minutes–creating what is called a tisane—and get a lovely hot herbal beverage, albeit with a milder medicinal benefit.
OR, if you desire the full umph of medicinal value—say when you feel sickness coming on! —let your herbs infuse in the hot water for 15-20 minutes before removing the lid and imbibing. This will allow all the medical value of the tea bag to fully infuse into the water. If you really want to increase your medicinal dose, use 2 teabags.
Now that we’ve discussed how to make your cup of herbal tea, let’s get to the fun part: the herbs!!!
Herbs for Your Immune System
There are lots of immune supporting herbs out there for over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ to choose from. Here are a few of the best!
Echinacea: Immune System Queen
Echinacea, commonly known as purple cone flower, is perhaps the all-time best immune system stimulator and infection fighter available to us from the herbal world. It is both anti-microbial and anti-viral. It activates macrophages (mobile white blood cells) which destroy cancer cells and pathogens.
It is excellent for acute illness, but can also be taken as a preventative tonic. You’ll find this plant is usually included in the immune boosting teas at the grocery store. If your immune system is already compromised, reach for your echinacea. It will be your strongest ally.
Lemon Balm: A Bright Daily Tea
Lemon Balm is a fantastic tonic to drink daily in the winter thanks to its bright nature. Not only is it an anti-viral and a great immune system support, it is also a mood elevator. In fact, lemon Balm is classically used in conjunction with St. John’s Wort for seasonal affective disorder, or winter time blues, which affects plenty of people in the dark months due to lack of sunshine. Plus, Lemon Balm is delicious—a lemony mint that is easy to drink often. Make Lemon Balm a part of your daily habit and you’ll support both your immune system and your mood!
Elder: The Wise One
As the name implies, Elder is considered the Old Wise One of the garden and revered for its wisdom and magic in folklore—making it a perfect ally for over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ!
Elder flower and Elder berry are two parts of the same tree, harvested at different times of year—and both are wonderfully full of antioxidants and immune boosting vitamins. It is most effective when the blossom and berries are combined, though both are medicinal independent of one another as well. You’ve likely seen elder syrups, which are fantastic for acute colds and upper respiratory infection. Elder is also used often to treat the flu. Elder makes a lovely, fragrant tea.
Astragalus: Immune Building Tonic
Astragalus root is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been widely adopted in the west thanks to it’s deeply nourishing effect on the immune system. It helps to strengthen the immune system, preventing viral and microbial infections. It is good to use as both a preventative and for acute symptoms of illness. It is also full of antioxidants that specifically support the respiratory system.
It has a sweet, nurturing flavor and is often used in soup broths in addition to teas. As a root, it has a nice grounding quality which can be comforting when ill.
Reishi Mushroom: Mushroom of Immortality
Reishi, also known as the mushroom of immortality, is a true super house of medicinal value. This incredible fungus is used for overall longevity and is a specific for immune and heart health. It supports the white blood cells directly supporting immune function.
To benefit from the full medicinal potential of Reishi, it needs to be decocted—preferably for 4 hours! This fungus is most effective when taken daily, as a tonic to build immune system strength over time.
Chai Tea: Spicy Warming Goodness
Chai tea is a wonderful way to get lots of immune boosting and warming herbs into your cup of tea. It’s delicious and can be enjoyed with black tea in the morning or, to avoid the caffeine kick, rooibos in the evening. To make a Chai, begin with a milk of choice (whole milk, almond milk, coconut milk, etc) and simmer ginger, cinnamon, clove, black pepper and cardamom for 20 minutes. Add honey to taste and feel the heat warm your bones.
Incorporate Immune Boosting Herbs into Your Cooking Too!!
Teas aren’t the only way to get your immune boosting herbs into your diet. Rosemary and Thyme, for example, are incredible immune supporters and easy to sprinkle on anything. Garlic is another super powerful antimicrobial and antiviral. You can also eat Mushrooms, like Maitake and Shitake which help to support your immune system.
A shot of fire cider every day will be sure to keep you warm—and keep the colds out! Simply soak horseradish, garlic, onion and garden herbs like rosemary, sage and thyme in apple cider vinegar for a month. Then strain and add honey. This concoction will fire your immune system right up.
Incorporate Herbal Teas This Winter!
Enjoy a hot cup of tea at Barnegat 67! For over 55 communities in Barnegat, NJ, herbal teas provide a yummy, easy way to nurture your immune system this winter to stay healthy and avoid illness.