Flu season is here and those eligible are being urged to get the flu jab to prevent extra strain on the NHS. However, GPs have warned of a potential shortage in flu inoculations due to increase in demand as talks around immunity continue to dominate headlines.
It’s therefore safe to say health is at the front of our minds which raises the question, what can we do to support our immune system in a pandemic in winter?
How do I know my immune system is low?
You are more likely to have frequent or prolonged colds. Have you ever worked tirelessly to meet a deadline, to be met with flu or a cold after submission? This is due to stress. According to the NHS website, stress can take its toll on your body and your immune system. Similarly you might find that cuts take longer to heal or you are suddenly plagued by digestive problems.
What can I do to strengthen my immune system?
Getting the right nutrition is key to fighting off illness. The World Health Organisation’s research has shown that sufficient vitamin D in your diet can reduce your risk of experiencing at least one respiratory infection, including the common cold, influenza or pneumonia by a third.
The Mayo Clinic also reported that lack of sleep can affect your immune system. “During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines, some of which help promote sleep. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation or when you're under stress." Sleep deprivation may decrease the production of these protective cytokines.
How much sleep should I get?
Research suggests most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need 9 to 10 and primary school aged children may need 10 or more hours. It’s worth mentioning that more sleep isn’t always better. Adults sleeping more than 9 to10 hours each night may result in poor quality, broken sleep.
What natural supplements can I take?
Opting for a natural plant based supplement when feeling run down could reduce your reliance on pharmacuetials and stop a cold in its tracks before it really takes hold.
Echinacea is recognised as one of the most powerful medicinal plants in this area and should be a staple item in your kit of winter health essentials. Research shows it can reduce the chance of developing a cold by 58% and speed up recovery by 1.4 days.
Eleven per cent of the 252 drugs the World Health Organisation considers essential is derived exclusively from flowering plants and up to 50 per cent of drugs approved over the past 30 years have come directly or indirectly from natural products.
Potter’s Herbals Echinacea Tincture is a herbal medicinal product used to relieve symptoms of the common cold and influenza type infections. The specific combination of traditional herbal ingredients including certified organically produced Echinacea makes this product one of the most potent formulas on the market.
Research from Potter’s Herbals , the UK’s leading proven, natural healthcare found that:
What else can I do?
After every use, wash your reusable mask. Hand washing, disinfecting surfaces and not touching your face are all vital to stopping the spread of any virus.
POTTER’S: Natural family care since 1812.
Potters Herbals Echinacea Tincture with Elderberry Juice can be bought online and instore at Holland and Barrett for £11.99 RRP.
V&YOU are an innovative brand in the CBD market. They have launched three products: V&YOU CBD pouches, &CALM CBD Oil Drops and &CALM CBD Oil Spray.
V&YOU products have been created to celebrate individuality so people can enhance their vibe - calm, chill, focus and boost - however they feel on that day. All V&YOU products are priced from £9.99 and are available to buy from https://vandyou.com/.
&CALM CBD oil drops - in citrus, berry, mint and natura flavours, they are available in 30ml bottles with 1200mg of CBD oil (£19.99) and 10ml bottles with 400mg of CBD oil. (£9.99)
&CALM CBD Oil Spray - in citrus, berry, mint and natura flavours, the spray is available in 10ml bottles with 400mg of CBD Oil. (£9.99)
&CHILL CBD pouches - in citrus, berry, mint and natura flavours, pouches are the newest way to enjoy the uplifting benefits of CBD. Each product includes 15 pouches that each contain 20mg of CBD. (£9.99)
V&YOU CBD is a lifestyle product, it is not medicinal. However science suggests that CBD has physical and mental health benefits. V&YOU don't make any health claims about CBD but many people take CBD to help alleviate anxiety, insomnia, stress and chronic pain.
Cannabidiol (CBD) extracted from cannabis has been proven to help treat a number of ailments with high success rates. A common misconception is that CBD contains psychoactive ingredients but that is not accurate. Cannabis or marijuana plants contain multiple components and only one of those components is psychoactive: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). None of V&YOU’s products contain THC.
V&YOU, a progressive lifestyle brand, produces a range of premium products using active ingredients to help people find joyful intensity in everything they do.
V&YOU products are created around four vibes – calm, chill, focus and boost – so people can choose a vibe that supports their mood.
I love the healing power of flower essences and over the years often turned to Bach Flower Remedies. However, recently I came across Saskia's Flower Essences and was delighted when Saskia, who was florist to HRH Prince of Wales before she began making flower essences in 2003, sent me three bottles of her combination essences to try. They arrived beautifully presented in a box with a pretty gift card and informative booklet. It was nothing short of amazing how I immediately felt surrounded by the love and positive energy of the essences.
Flowers and plants have a unique vibrational energy which is held as a memory in water. By extracting the essence of a flower, it is possible to capture that energy, then use it to tune up our own energy. When you take a flower essence suited to you, it helps shift negative thought and behaviour patterns and can assist with all sorts of things including unblocking creativity, organising your thoughts and helping make your ideas reality.
Saskia supplies single essences, combination essences and sprays which are just the ticket for helping clear unwanted energies surrounding us. Not sure which to buy? The combination essences are the easiest to choose because their names to make it simple to decide which ones you need. For example, 'Breathe Deep, Seek Peace' is for winding down. Ideal for those, like me, who have trouble sleeping and find it hard to relax. 'Calm and Confident' helps with challenging situations, to see you through those times you struggle outside your comfort zone. 'Emotional Relief' is for when life just gets too much while 'Focus, Energise, Create' speaks for itself! They are taken orally by dropping a small amount of the essence under your tongue.
and some of these amazing essences ......
want to feel safe and protected? try WiLD GARLIC
can't see a way out of your present situation? try MORNING GLORY
think your creativity and self-confidence could do with a boost? try BUTTERCUP
want to be more effective? try DANDELION
scared to make changes? try TWAYBLADE
Here are some things you might not know about flower essences
How they are made
Saskia makes her remedies in the traditional way by infusing the flowering part in the sun. This involves putting the flowers in spring water and allowing the sunlight to transfer the vibration of the flower into the water.
Essences are not the same thing as essential oils
When making essences, the flower’s energy imprint is captured rather than a physical part of the flower, which is how they differ from essential oils. Unlike essentials too, they have no aroma. Essential oils take a massive amount of plant material to make and are steam distilled to extract the aromatic compounds. They are highly concentrated so have to be used with care. It takes about 10-20 flowers to make around 10,000 bottles of flower essence and they are completely safe for all ages.
Essences work with our emotions
Flower essences help us tune back to our true selves. They bring awareness to learned behaviour and thought patterns and support us as they help us release negative patterns.
Pendulum dowsing can be a precise way to find the right flower essences
It takes the conscious thinking out of the process, reaches the underlying problem and which flower essences might help with that. A bit like human relationships, flower essences are subjective in their action and dowsing bypasses preconceived ideas about what the essence will help with and which essences we think we need.
Flower Essences are safe for everyone to take
Flower essences can be taken by everyone, babies, animals and you can give them to your plants too. As they contain the energy of a plant they don’t act on a physical level, so are also completely safe to take if you are on any kind of medication.
Flower Essences have been used for thousands of years
Indigenous people drank the dew that collected on flowers for their well-being and there is evidence existing for their use in ancient Egypt, amongst the Celtic Druids and the Aborigines of Australia.
If you have never used flower essences before and can't make your mind up which to try for your particular needs, email Saskia . She will be delighted to hear from you.
Saskia’s Flower Essences is the first company in the UK to have a shop just selling their own essences directly to the public. The label now produces a range of 46 single essences, 8 combination essences aimed at helping with the issues of modern life and 3 essence sprays. They have won internationally and nationally acclaimed awards for several of their combinations including The Beauty Shortlist Best Sleep Better Product for their ‘Breathe, Deep, Seek Peace’ combination. www.saskiasfloweressences.com
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and 12 x author. Words & images in national newspapers / magazines.