Acute Immune System Support

Just about everyone I know has been sick in the last two weeks (including myself - thank you, stress). From sinus infections to the flu, here are my best natural remedies from a functional medicine perspective to recover from a blip in the immune system’s strength.

The difference between these remedies and OTC medicines (cough cough, dayquil) is that botanical compounds can actively work to improve the immune system, while the latter just treat the symptoms. These remedies can also be used as prevention if you feel prone to coming down with something.

The quality of the supplement you take matters. The FDA does very little to regulate the supplement industry so I suggest talking to a licensed nutritionist who will look into the quality, sourcing, and efficacy of a supplement. I know it’s tempting to buy the cheapest formula, but there’s a reason it’s cheap.

Interested in getting high-quality, safe supplements so you buy / use less because it’s a more potent formula? Some of the best blends for immune system I can only order as a practitioner like INF fighter by Weed Botanical and Viracid by Orthomolecular. Schedule a free consultation with me.


oil of oregano

  • buy in capsule form

  • can help eliminate mucus

  • antimicrobial effects (infections and viruses)


  • buy in tincture form

  • can enhance immune system integrity

  • antimicrobial effects (infections and viruses)

echinacea root

  • buy in tincture or capsule form (look for echinacea purpurea)

  • can be used as a preventive formula for immune system


  • buy in a tablet form (look for zinc picolinate)

  • can respond to infection and improve immune system cell integrity

vitamin c

  • buy in capsule form

  • a blend from whole foods is more bioavailable than ascorbic acid

  • antioxidant properties enhance cellular turnover

wild cherry bark syrup

  • buy in syrup form (I suggest Honey Garden’s or Planetary Herbals brand)

  • can calm coughing and sooth sore throat

natural menthol

  • buy in pastille form (I suggest Olba’s brand)

nutrition for immune support

Diet has an enormous impact on how strong or weak our immune system is. Taking out foods that can increase inflammation and cause the immune system to weaken can be beneficial in both the prevention and treatment of illness.

temporarily eliminate foods that compromise the immune system or take a lot of digestive energy to break down

  • sugars (cane sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey) 

    • 1 teaspoon/day of bioactive Manuka honey can be taken therapeutically when ill or as prevention

  • fruits

  • raw vegetables

  • dairy

  • caffeine

  • grains (especially refined) 

  • excessive nuts

    • can elevate inflammation if omega 3 : omega 6 ratio is disproportionate and certain amino acids can feed infection

foods that support the body healing itself from infection

lifestyle modifications

REST. Your body getting sick is its way of yelling at you to slow down and give it time to recover and regenerate. Sleep, drink water, repeat.

If you have a fever, there can be benefit to sweating it out until it breaks. Personally, I hop in a super hot bath until I sweat or go for infrared sauna when I have a fever. Fever is the body’s way of literally killing an infection with heat. Taking tylenol or something of the likes might make you feel better from a fever, but it’s masking the symptoms instead of working on getting rid of the infection causing the fever. And of course, go seek medical help if the fever is extreme.

Ever go through a stressful period and then the second it ends you get sick? This used to happen to me in college religiously - I’d finish finals and go back to my folks and come down with something wicked that put me in bed for days. It’s a real thing, and here’s how it works:

Cortisol is the stress hormone we produce that actually can help the immune system in short spurts. It’s like a tiny boost. But prolonged and excessive stress causes us to produce cortisol when we shouldn’t throughout the day, increasing inflammation and killing off the cells (lymphocytes) that help us fight infection.

Bottom line, if you’re stressed and can’t drop the stressor, modify your diet to promote a strong immune system and take supplements as needed for prevention.