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Healing Herbs: Spice up your Meals to Give your Immune System a Boost

Cold and flu season is approaching and a question I’m often asked is, ‘How can I support my child’s immune system and prevent them from getting sick?”

There are many lifestyle factors that influence immune system function such as sleep patterns, exercise, stress levels and nutrition.  Let’s focus on one simple way is to boost the immune system: add healing herbs to your child’s diet!

Herbs have many healing properties.  They reduce inflammation in the body and act as anti-oxidants protecting cells against damage from toxins.  Herbs also support the body in making important white blood cells, an essential part of the immune system which fight off bacteria and viruses.  Finally, herbs are anti-microbial.  Many of them contain pungent essential oils (for example,  the oils released when cutting an onion which bring tears to your eyes or oil of oregano) which kill bacteria and viruses.  They are also helpful at keeping yeast and fungus at bay.

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Healing herbs can easily be added to meals.  You can use them to season meat, soups, salads, stir-fries, baked vegetables, or add them to veggie dips and hummus for an extra kick.

Introducing your children to a variety of herbs will broaden their taste palette as well as optimize their health.

Here are the most common immune boosting and bacteria-fighting herbs to try:

  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Sage
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cayenne pepper

Do you have some kid friendly recipes which include these herbs? Feel free to share them!

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Category: Family, Food, Health, Kids, Main Dishes, Nutrition, Wellness

About the Author ()

Dr. Ellen Simone welcomes you to work with her under a holistic view of health which encompasses the understanding that the mind and body are connected to sustaining long-term health and wellness. As a naturopathic doctor, Dr. Simone focuses on family wellness and has special interests in women and children’s health. She loves working with women through different phases in their lives; to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease PMS symptoms, optimize fertility, provide support during and after pregnancy, maintain breast health and welcome menopause. Children are also a primary focus in her practice and she believes that setting healthy habits at a young age is important for long-term health and wellness. Author's website.

Comments (18)

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  1. Victoria Ess says:

    Thanks for the list! I agree that many of those herbs can be easily added to dishes.

  2. Brenda A. says:

    Oh the wonder of herbs! We love strong tastes here and are so glad the girls do, too. It is tough to keep fresh garlic in the house we eat so much!

  3. Heidi C. says:

    I have always believed in the power of herbs and spices and try to add when I can to whatever I can!

  4. caryn s says:

    Thanks for the list as i am always trying to eat healthier and to add natural cures to my family’s daily routine!

  5. You’re welcome everyone! Herbs have many healing properties and I’m glad your children enjoy them. Hopefully they have some fun trying out the new flavours 🙂

  6. Lynn M says:

    I had known about the onions and garlic but no the others. Honey is another great one too.

  7. Viv Sluys says:

    I knew about garlic, basil and ginger but not about the others. Does fresh or dried make a difference?

  8. Jo-Anne Pfoh says:

    I was not aware that spices could boost your immune great article

  9. Honey is another great one! Just not for children under the age of two because there is a small risk of bacteria contamination in the honey and children under two years of age are more susceptible.

    Choose fresh herbs over dried ones as much as possible. Once the herbs are dried there are less essential oils present therefore less antimicrobial properties in the herbs.

    Enjoy!

  10. Elizabeth Matthiesen says:

    What a fantastic article, thank you so much. These are all things I enjoy apart from the Cayenne pepper which I can only tolerate in small quantities. Guess I’m on the right track to keeping healthy. I always prefer fresh to dried, so much more taste in them too.

  11. We 100% agree with this! Everybody needs herbs and spices in their meals to boost their immune system. Great article.

  12. Tiffany Wilson says:

    Great list, I really need to start adding more of these into my cooking

  13. Cheryl (@loucheryl) says:

    I wish I had some kid friendly meals that include these spices. I’ll try to add them to my meals.

  14. amy lovell says:

    This is a great list! Def did not know about alot of these!

  15. kathy downey says:

    Thanks for the list,and herbs and spices are so much better than using salt

  16. kathy downey says:

    Adding herbs and spices to any dish sure makes a better taste

  17. kathy downey says:

    Since 2015 is going to be the year we learn to eat healthy,this will be helpful

  18. Laura S. says:

    Garlic is amazing for a sore throat. I was online this past weekend looking for natural remedies for my painful throat and saw that garlic was recommended. For maximum benefit, the garlic should be crushed and left for 10 minutes, then consumed raw (not heated). I ate a crushed clove all by itself (don’t really recommend that) but it could have been easily mixed with some olive oil and spread on some vegetables or bread. Anyway, my throat infection cleared up very quickly by having taken raw garlic a few times over the weekend.

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